Food + Wine

Pineapple Cake w/ Brown Butter Caramel Frosting & Buttermilk Whipped Cream

Y’all.  This cake is amazing.  And that’s coming from a pie girl.  It’s just damn good.  There’s no other way to put it.  damn good cake.  That’s what I should have called it – Damn Good Cake.

The idea came to me when I was snuggling in bed with my babies after story-time the other night.  See… my husband has been out of town for several days so I’ve been playing the role of single mama.  It’s always a challenging time when he’s away because I’m doing everything myself.  But the older the kids get, the easier it all is.  We’ve had a great time!  I mean… I don’t remember the last time I was this exhausted or ate a proper meal or had enough water, but we’ve had a great time. We’ve kept ourselves extremely busy, which I’m sure plays a huge role in that great time being had (and also the exhaustion?)

One of the things I like to do with my kids when papa is away is bake.  I bake a lot with my kids anyway, but it gives us a long project when we need ways to fill the days, and also allows for a lovely welcome home gift for daddy!

So when in bed the first night he was gone, the kids and I started talking cake (as one does).  We were just naming different ingredients and things that we liked, and somehow (randomly) pineapple came up… and then caramel… and I put the two together in my head, swished ’em around a bit, and fell asleep that night baking one hell of a brain cake.

This cake is made with whole wheat flour, is lightly sweetened and studded with juicy bits of pineapple.  Since I used cans of crushed pineapple in the cake, I reduced the juice down to a syrup and brushed the warm cakes with it to intensify the pineapple flavor. And the frosting?  Oh, the frosting.  The frosting is something I fear you’re gonna become addicted to.  If I can quote my mother, ‘that’s the best caramel icing I’ve ever had’.  It’s very rich and decadent, yet somehow remains perfect, even to myself who isn’t a fan of incredibly rich things.  I decided to use buttermilk in the caramel, which I believe adds a lovely and subtle tang to the end product.  Not to mention the use of brown butter in place of the standard melted butter… That idea came from a talk with my very brilliant mama. And the perfect accompaniment to this scrumptious, rich and awesomely pineapply caramely cake is the buttermilk whipped cream you serve on the side.  It’s a big, delicious party for your palate, this cake.

Everyone I’ve served it to has come back multiple times to tell me how amazing it is!

The whole dessert is extremely well balanced and unique and dare I say perfect.  And the fact that my babies created it with me makes it even more so.

I’d suffer through any amount of exhaustion for those magical creatures.  They’re what get me through it all.

I hope y’all are having a beautiful day.  If you need me, I’ll be in the cake.  And also probably in bed.






b r o w n   b u t t e r   c a r a m e l

f r o s t i n g

2 sticks unsalted butter 

1 box light brown sugar ( 1 lb / roughly 2 1/4 cups)

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup whole buttermilk (not skim or low fat)

2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp baking soda

In a large pot on medium-high heat, add the butter.  Allow it to melt, then bubble, and sizzle, then once the bubbles have dissipated and the noises stop, you have brown butter.

Add in the brown sugar and salt.  Stir.

Melt the brown sugar into the butter completely.

Add the cream and buttermilk.  Boil 3-4 minutes.  Stir occasionally.

Add the baking soda.  Stir.  Boil 2 minutes more.

Turn off the heat and cool until safe to pour into a bowl.  Finish cooling completely at room temperature… I actually did mine the day before and let it sit out overnight.

Once the frosting is cooled and is now the consistency of peanut butter, place in a stand mixer and whip for about 5 minutes.  The color will lighten slightly.

Set aside until you’re ready to frost your cake.

( w h o l e   w h e a t  )

p i n e a p p l e   c a k e

cake piece1

4 large eggs

1 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup vegetable/canola oil

1/2 cup (unsweetened) applesauce

2 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups whole wheat PASTRY flour

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp kosher salt

3 (20 oz) cans crushed pineapple, drained (in juice, not syrup).

*reserve the pineapple juice from the cans*

In a large mixing bowl (or stand mixer if you wanted/needed), beat the eggs.  Add in the sugar, beat until creamy.  Add the oil, applesauce and vanilla, beat again until combined.  Set aside.

In another medium-sized bowl combine the flours, baking soda and salt.  Whisk to combine.

Add the dry ingredients, (slowly, a little bit at a time while mixing) to the wet ingredients.

Once everything has been mixed well, fold in the drained pineapple.

Mix until the pineapple has been fully incorporated into the cake batter.

Pour batter into 2 greased/floured 8-9 inch round cake pans, evenly.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 34-38 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of each cake.

While the cake is baking, reduce the reserved pineapple juice (there should be about 3 cups worth) in a medium saucepan on medium heat until it’s reduced down to a thick syrup and down to about 1/3-1/4 cup.

When the cakes have finished baking and still warm, carefully remove from the pans and place one of them inverted onto your cake stand or serving platter.

Brush the warm cake with half of your warm pineapple syrup.


Place the other warm cake on a cooling rack situated over a plate and brush the top of it with the rest of the syrup.

Allow the cakes to cool.

Frost the first cake with a little of the frosting, enough for a good layer on top.

Once cooled, place the cake that’s been on the rack carefully on top of the one that’s already on the cake stand – cake bottom to cake bottom – so you have a cake top as the top of the whole thing.

Begin to frost your entire cake, starting at the top with a large amount of frosting, and working it towards the outside and sides of the cake.  The frosting will warm a bit one you’re spreading it, so be patient with it as you go.  It also may be a bit messy, but that’s ok!  Just be careful to not bring up any cake crumbs as you frost.

Decorate the frosting with swirls of a spatula or your finger, or any other design you wish.  Or not.  It’ll still taste just as amazing.

Serve room temperature with a big dollop of buttermilk whipped cream.

b u t t e r m i l k

w h i p p e d   c r e a m

cake piece cream

In a very cold bowl with very cold beaters (I always put them both in the freezer for as long as I can prior to whipping), add…

1 cup heavy cream (very cold)

1/2 cup whole buttermilk (very cold)

1 TB powdered sugar

Whip until soft peaks form.

Serve alongside your cake.







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