When the winter chill is well set in and its bone rattling cold, do you dream of summers (even if it is for a few moments) despite enjoying a delicious comforting bowl of hot soup or a cup of steaming coffee snuggled up inside that warm comforter? I do. Coz I am an out and out summer person and I only happen to enjoy the initial onset of winter chill. I absolutely loathe (strong word there but that’s how I feel about the winters) the harsh winter spell especially because there is no central heating system available in India. The temperatures difference between the indoors and outdoors isn’t much and a room heater is pretty incapable of offering much solace.
That’s when I dream of summer – I dream of ice-creams n kulfis, of plump juicy lychees and of sweet juicy mangoes trickling down my elbows, of refreshing chilled beverages, of crunchy salads, of spicy barbecued food and of crisp cotton saris and Fabindia chikan kurtis. I dream of tropical flavors – pineapples, fresh coconut water, cucumbers, falsas, mulberries!! Despite the dry sweltering heat, I still prefer the north Indian summer over winter; at least I do not have to bother about the frost bite (I know those in favour of winter would be pointing out to heat strokes and sun burns but I can manage that, trust me) and neither do I have to deal with an ear ache when I am out in the freezing cold winds and last but not the least, I can feel my toes and fingers!!
I really shouldn’t be complaining about the winter chill though since I am currently living in Mumbai…thank God for the small mercies! We lucky souls in Mumbai, happen to enjoy a lovely weather during winter time. Actually there is nothing as winters here since the temperature hovers around 20 – 30 degree C but the locals love pulling out their cardigans and caps when there is just a wee bit of nip in the air! I find it so funny & ridiculous!! But I suppose they just try to get the ‘feel’ of winter.
Therefore, hot piping soups, comforting one pot meals, spiced hot chocolate milk and warm puddings are simply not happening here. My craving for something tropical led me to whip up this mean pineapple cake. Coconut and pineapple are classic partners and if I may say so, they are an apt depiction of tropical flavors – fresh, clean, sweet scented and cheerful. Don’t be fooled by the unsophisticated appearance of this loaf cake. The texture is soft and crumbly. We are not so particular about a glaze over our loaf or sweet breads but for this post, I chose to use the tart raspberry jam and it paired beautifully well. It is an absolute family favourite and never lasts long in the house. Call it an addiction since we never seem to get tired of it!
For the cake,
1¾ cup Flour
¾ cup Desiccated Coconut
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda (bi-carb)
500 grams Pineapple rings (I used canned – drain & squeeze excess water )
½ cup (100 grams approx) Butter
1 cup (scant) Sugar
1 tsp Pineapple essence
3 tbsp Raspberry Jam (adjust the amount to taste)
Preheat the oven at 180 degrees C.
Prepare an 8 inch loaf pan by greasing with oil or butter and dusting with flour. Keep aside.
In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add the desiccated coconut and mix the ingredients well with a spatula or whisk. Keep aside.
Using a food processor or blender roughly crush the pineapples ensuring that they do not turn to pulp. Keep aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat together the sugar and butter till light and fluffy (5-7 minutes). Add the pineapple essence and also the eggs (one at a time) beating after each addition till incorporated.
Add the flour mix to the wet mixture, in batches, ensuring to just incorporating it.
Finally, fold in the pineapples and decant the mixture in the prepared loaf pan.
Bake till cake turns golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Once the cake cools, apply the jam all over the top and serve.
Note: The 500 grams weight is the drained weight of the pineapples.
Note: Do not be over zealous while mixing the dry ingredients to the wet ones.
Note: Do not open the door of the oven for at least the first 20 minutes.
Note: I had to use a heaped teaspoon of confectioner’s sugar (icing sugar) to tone down the tartness of the jam.
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