Somehow I remember some members of a Facebook Group ever prepared this cake during Chinese New Year and I was told that it is an auspicious cake.
Well， Chinese always associated pineapple (黄梨 huang Li or Ong lai) with prosperity (旺来 Ong Lai）especially during Chinese New Year period since everything prepared will have an auspicious meaning attached to it. It is not uncommon to see fresh pineapples being used as a decoration but my neighbour does have the ritual of buying canned pineapples before Chinese New Year. I was told that canned pineapples have two meanings: prosperity (旺来） and sweet harmonious relationship (甜甜蜜蜜）。I remembered there was one year she had given a few cans for us after Chinese New Year as she cannot finished all the canned pineapples.
Personally, I am of the opinion that it is auspicious to prepare this cake. It is a good and presentable hand gift for relatives and can be one of the items in Chinese New Year gift sending ceremony.
This is definitely not a trendy cake. In fact, it is a very classic western cake that is famous for its beautiful design and the glossy pineapple toppings. I am not the one who design the pattern of the cake but as for the recipe, I have used my own as I knew it will much easier for me to design my own recipe rather than following Western recipes which uses cups or stick of butter and etc.. in addition, it may be too sweet to suit Asian taste buds.
You may be surprised how simple this cake recipe is it .. The trendiest cake recipe nowadays is fluffy and requires preparation of meringue and incorporated at the later stage. The older version is the creaming of butter with sugar until light and fluffy or it can be a muffin approach that mix dry and wet ingredients. But for this recipe, I have opt for the simplest way of preparing cake batter , putting all ingredients in the mixer and beat for a few minutes until smooth. Wait, I have to qualify that this is not my invention, some older home science or home economic text books uses this approach to prepare Queen’s cupcake and butter cupcake.
Though it is easy, I like the denser texture as compared to the fluffier airy texture. In the Chinese New Year period when cakes was served, denser cake is a better choice as it can be sliced beautifully and can keep for a longer period of time.
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Servings: Prepare a 5” x 5 “ small cake
- 4 pieces of round canned pineapple
- 5 glazed cherries
- 50 grams of canned pineapple juice
- 3 eggs
- 150 grams of butter, softened at room temperature
- 150 grams of castor sugar
- 200 grams of low protein flour or cake flour or all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
STEPS OF PREPARATION
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degree Celsius (without fan). The purpose of this special setting of baking temperature is to prevent cracks and minimize the crust. However, if your oven does not have such a function, just set 170 degree Celsius and baked the cake until cooked.
- Heavily greased the baking tin with melted butter. To facilitate the dislodgement of the cake later, as a precaution, besides greasing, line the baking tin with another layer of baking paper.
- Sprinkle a thin layer of white or brown sugar on the bottom of the tin. Brown sugar is preferred as it is easier to show the caramelized effect.
- Arrange the pineapple slices and glazed cherries in your desired pattern. Set aside.
- Put all the cake ingredients in a mixer, beat for a few minutes until the batter is smooth. Transfer the batter to the baking tin, level it.
- Bake in the oven in the follow manners : 180 degree Celsius (without fan) for 30 minutes, 180 degree Celsius (with fan) for about 15 minutes. The final test is the skewer test whereby when a skewer insert into the centre comes out clean. If your oven does not have the choice of with or without fan, just bake at 170 degree Celsius until cooked . Timing of baking will depend on individual oven and the size of the baking pan. Bigger pan yields thinner cake and hence easier to get cook. Keep an eye on the cake when the cake is baked for 30 minutes.
- Once out of the oven, let the cake sit in the baking pan for 10-15 minutes for slight cooling. Once it is slightly cooled, invert immediately to the serving plate . The cake is then ready to be sliced and served when completely cooled. (note that if there is a hump, you may need to cut off the hump before inversion)
I do not think anybody can dispute that this is a very easy recipe. It is such an easy recipe that this cake was taught in the Secondary school home economics lesson may be a decade ago. Do give it a try and if you are thinking hard of your Chinese New Year gifts, may be this can be one of the items with proper packaging.
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