Steamed Pineapple Pudding with Coconut Ice Cream

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When I visited Harborne Farmer’s Market last week, I picked up a jar of pineapple jam made by the mini jar company.  Having never tried pineapple jam before, I didn’t really know what to do with it, if I’m honest.  All I did know, was that it derserved something better than just being spread on hot, buttery toast (however good that sounds!)

For some inspiration, I turned to my Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit. Pineapple had some interesting pairing suggestions – pineapple and anchovies anyone?!  But it did also describe how well matched pineapple and vanilla can be, and that got me thinking…

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One of my all time favourite cookbooks is Roast Figs, Sugar Snow by Diana Henry.  If you don’t have it already, buy it, it is beautiful.  It includes a recipe for Steamed Apple and Marmalade Pudding, which is an absolute winner.  I had the idea of taking this recipe, and replacing the marmalade with the pineapple jam. Mixed with golden syrup, this would create the sticky, syrupy sauce of the pudding. Something similar to an upside down pineapple cake I thought.

Usually a generous helping of cold double cream, poured over the hot steaming sponge is all it needs to transport you to pudding heaven.  However this time, I decided to serve it with homemade coconut ice cream.  It would still deliver the hot/cold contrast, and coconut is such a classic combo with pineapple, that it had to work!

The ice cream recipe I chose, Easy Coconut Ice Cream is from the book Ice Creams, Sorbets and Gelati: The Definitive Guide by Caroline & Robin Weir.  My weapon of choice: my Cusinart ICE30 .

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This machine makes ice cream like a dream. You place the bowl from the machine in the freezer the day before you want to use it. Then, when you’re ready, pop it back in the machine, pour in your mixture, and half an hour later, you have the most delicious homemade ice cream. I love it.

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The pudding recipe includes two whole bramley apples, that are chopped and mixed through the cake mixture before steaming. I found this gave the pudding a lightness that counteracted any chance of stodginess, and also kept the sponge moist.

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The pudding steamed away for an hour and half, before being unwrapped and served piping hot with the smooth, cold coconut ice cream. A piña colada in a bowl. Yum.

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Rainbow Birthday Cake | Hummingbird Bakery

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Last week I had the challenge of baking a rainbow cake. Not a task that I had set myself, but my daughter Verity, who was just a tiny bit excited about her forthcoming birthday!

I was given strict instructions: it had to be rainbow, sweets, silver balls, candles and sparklers. Not much then!! And so, eager to please my ever demanding 3 year old daughter, I began my research.

I found a recipe for a cake on the goodfood website, which ticked the rainbow box, however the reviews of “rubbery sponge” and “my son wouldn’t eat it” didn’t exactly convince me that it delivered in the taste department, no matter how glorious it looked.

I decided to make the cake using my old faithful Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook. I took their recipe for vanilla cupcakes, and made each sponge with the recipe needed for 12 cupcakes. Yes, this cake was going to be HUGE.  6 sponges x 12 cupcakes = a cake fit to feed 72 people.

I chose to cover it in cream cheese icing in the hope that the tanginess of it would somehow compensate for the sheer amount of sugar going into this cake!  Again, a recipe from Hummingbird, I quadrupled the amount in the recipe. That’s right, 1.2kg of icing sugar.

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I coloured each sponge using a small amount of Wilton Gel Food Colourings, choosing which ones by dying water in some clear glasses, and rearranging them until I had just the right combination of colours.

As I constructed the tower of cake the night before her birthday, I was convinced I was going to come down into the kitchen in the morning to find it in a heap – it was TALL and I was sure the sponges were going to slide right off their layers of cream cheese icing.  But hooray! It made it through the night, I was thrilled!

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It took me the best part of the day to make this cake, but oh my, did it taste good! And hearing the excited cry of ‘it’s a rainbow cake!!’ from Verity as I sliced into it, made it worth all the effort!