February 23, 2012

Pineapple-Coconut Cake with Pineapple Glaze

This tangy and lightly sweet pineapple-coconut cake is very rich and moist. I love that it has the buttery, creamy texture of indulgent pound cake, but without all the poundage of heavy ingredients.

M and I brought this cake to a taco-night dinner party at our friend's house. It was a fabulous idea for a Saturday night gathering. We were looking forward to strong Margaritas and lots of lime-infused guacamole! 

Earlier in the day we pondered what to bake. M was craving a cake with a dense crumb that would pair well will fresh whipped cream; I wanted to keep it simple and complimentary to the evening's south-of-the-border inspired fare. Together we arrived at the decision of the pineapple-coconut cake as an inspired nod to the tart and tropical flavors of a margarita. 

After lots of cross-referencing various recipes, I settled on Martha Stewart's Pineapple-Coconut Loaf.  We baked ours in a round cake pan instead of a loaf:

Also, since we did not the have sour cream called for in the recipe (nor would I really want to use it), we took a chance and instead used a combination of vanilla yogurt and home-made low fat buttermilk. 

The cake turned out outrageously good. 

It didn't hurt that we made it even more moist and festive with a light topping of pineapple glaze and more toasted coconut. 

We served it with fresh whipped cream and a drizzle of sweet pineapple sauce made from the leftover pineapple juice (recipes below). There were rave reviews all around! I adored how it turned out and it was such a satisfying dessert!

I would make this cake again in an instant. When I come across a recipe this simple, I know it's a keeper, but when it's also bursting with flavors this bright and a texture this rich, I know it's going to be one I will make over and over again.

Pineapple Coconut Cake with Pineapple Glaze: (pineapple sauce and whipped cream recipes below). Serves 8 generous wedges. 

1.5 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 6-oz. container of vanilla lowfat yogurt
1/2 cup buttermilk (or lowfat milk with 1+1/2+1/8 teaspoons white vinegar stirred in and left for 5 minutes)
1.5 cups all purpose flour, spooned and leveled
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 20-oz. can crushed pineapple, drained, with the liquid pressed out very well through a strainer and reserved

*For pineapple glaze: 1/2 cup confectioner sugar and 2 T. reserved pineapple juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread coconut on a baking sheet and toast, stirring every few minutes, until golden-brown. Set aside. Butter and flour a 9" round cake pan and set aside. 

Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar on high speed until fluffy. Then add each egg, one at a time, mixing after each addition. 

Stir together the yogurt and buttermilk (or sour milk). In another bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Then add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter and sugar and beat on low. Add 1/2 of the yogurt mixture and gently mix again. Add the flour, beat, then the yogurt, beat, and end with the flour mixture, stirring in each stage until just combined. Do not overmix!

Now fold in 1 cup of the toasted coconut and the crushed pineapple. Pour the batter into the cake pan and bang flat against the counter a few times to release air bubbles and smooth top. Bake approximately 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. 

In a separate bowl, stir together 1/2 cup confectioner sugar and 2 T. pineapple juice to make a glaze. When the cake comes out of the oven place in the pan on a wire rack. Poke small holes in the top of the cake using a toothpick, then spread the glaze evenly over the cake in the pan. Immediately sprinkle top of cake with the remaining 1/2 cup toasted coconut. Allow to cool completely in the pan.

Cut into 8 slices. Serve with whipped cream and pineapple sauce, if desired. 

For the pineapple sauce: Bring the reserved pineapple juice and 2 cups confectioner sugar to a boil, then simmer 10-15 minutes or until reduced. Remove from heat and stir in 1 T. butter. Cool. 
For the whipped cream: In a cold stainless steel bowl, using an electric mixer on high setting, whip 1 cup heavy cream, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, and 1 tablespoon confectioner sugar until stiff peaks form. Keep chilled until ready to serve. 

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