As all cooks knows, some of our best dishes are happy accidents. Here’s my latest. Over the weekend, I set out to make a pineapple cake that I hadn’t made in years. But along the way, I got distracted by a lemon layer cake and settled on that. Interrupted by an errand with my daughter, I didn’t get the cake batter in the oven immediately, but about an hour later. Well, cake batter doesn’t like procrastination, and so stubbornly the layers refused to rise much. I almost pitched them, but being in my “green period,” I decided to recycle them into trifle instead. The cake, which wasn’t delicate, but a bit dense, yet still buttery and delicious, was perfect for soaking up the cream and pineapple juice without getting overly soggy. So with the fresh pineapple and cream already on hand, I crumbled the layers into a bowl and gently folded in the cream and chopped pineapple. Yum.
Fresh Pineapple Trifle
Any dense cake, with a pound cake texture will work. To whip the cream, make sure the bowl, beaters and cream are very cold. I place mine in the freezer for 10 minutes beforehand.
1 (9-inch) cake (lemon or vanilla), coarsely crumbled
1 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and chopped
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1. Place cake cubes into a large bowl. Add pineapple chunks. In a cold bowl whip cream with sugar and vanilla to stiff peaks. Gently fold into cake and fresh pineapple. Serves 12.
Lemon Layer Cake
(from The Old-Fashioned Baking Book by Jim Fobel)
2 ½ cups sifted cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
½ cup milk
½ cup fresh lemon juice
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375. Grease and flour two 8” round cake pans, tapping out the excess flour.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the sifted cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. In a large bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time and then beat until light, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in about ¼ of the dry ingredients and then all of the milk. Beat in the remaining dry ingredients alternately with the lemon juice, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
4. Divide between the prepared pans and smooth the top of the batter with a spatula. Bake about 25 minutes, until the tops spring back when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans on a rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges to loosen from the pans and turn the layers out on a rack. Cool to room temperature. Reserve 1 layer for Fresh Pineapple Trifle.