Monday, April 22, 2013

A $40 Gallon of Milk and a Little Edible Sunshine: Pineapple Macadamia Cake

Today's recipe started almost a week ago when I ran into the grocery store for a gallon of milk.  Telling myself yet again that I wasn't going to buy not one more thing than that, I put my blinders on headed in.  Deciding that I was just too delicate on this day to carry my heavy purse AND a gallon of milk, I quickly detoured and rolled out one of those little mini shopping carts that I am so fond of (this is always a mistake). 

Just as I was turning my cart around to head to the bowels of the store, the fresh pineapple display caught my eye.  There it was, a fragrant fruit pyramid so appealing I couldn't possibly pass it by.  I quickly grabbed a $3.00 pineapple, threw it in my cart, put my blinders back on and headed for the dairy section.  Somehow, half an hour and $40 dollars later I left the store with my pineapple and $37.00 worth of things that I didn't know I needed until I got there.  It wasn't until I got home that I realized I had forgotten to buy milk.

Within the next few days that beautiful pineapple turned into a prickly lump that rolled around and clogged up my crisper drawer.  For days I worked around it telling myself that after supper I would clean and chop it.  Finally when it started to brown, I chopped it up and threw it in a Gladware container, inviting everyone in the house to help themselves and have a healthy snack instead of a handful of M & M's.  Five days later, the pineapple bowl is still full and the M & M's are gone, but I'm not giving up yet.  I think I'm going to take it and give it a new identity that I know will get eaten.

Years ago before we were married, my husband's secretary gave him a recipe for a gooey little cake that he was just crazy about.   It was one of those community recipes that was a fad in the 1980's.  Full of pineapple and nuts, he loved it so much that even he had a go at baking it every now and then.  After I came along, he passed this recipe on to me and I revamped it, making it the family favorite that it is to this day.  It is so good that I am postponing my Pillsbury Bake-Off diet to bring it to you.  I would blame my blog on my lack of discipline, but I think it is obvious . . . I am hopeless.

Pineapple Macadamia Cake

2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups crushed pineapple (canned or fresh)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1/2 cup shredded coconut
Icing (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream sugar and eggs together in a large bowl with an electric mixer set to medium.  When they are light and fluffy add the flour, soda, vanilla, pineapple, salt and macadamia nuts; continue to mix with the mixer set to low.  Add the coconut to the mixture with a large spoon.  Mixing by hand will prevent the coconut from sticking to the beaters.

Pour the mixture into a greased 9 x 13" baking dish.  Place into the preheated oven and bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and cool for 5 - 10 minutes.  Spread icing on top while still warm.

8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
3 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
1 - 3/4 cup powdered (icing) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1/2 cup toasted coconut

Place the cream cheese, butter, sugar and vanilla into a large bowl.  Blend completely with an electric mixer set to medium or by hand.  Stir in the nuts.  Spread on warm cake and sprinkle with toasted coconut*.

*To toast the coconut, sprinkle it on a cookie sheet and place in a 300 degree oven.  Watching carefully, bake until it starts to brown.  Stir around and continue to bake for a few more minutes or until is is mostly brown.  Remove from the oven and transfer to plate or bowl to stop it from cooking.  Cool before sprinkling over the top of the icing.

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