This is truly an inspired take on an old standard. It’s an 8 x 8 single-layer cake that is fruity, sweet, chewy, moist, and perfect in every way. To make it you’ve got to devote some time, however.
I employ a mise en place approach to baking unless it’s a recipe I’ve made so many times I know it by memory and know exactly where all the ingredients are in my kitchen. Otherwise, I take the time to measure everything out first, combine the ingredients that need combining, prep the ingredients that need prepping, and I read through the entire recipe at least once before even beginning to bake.
I know a lot of people, all of them much better and more efficient bakers than I, who find this a total waste of time. For me, however, I would be lost without putting all my ingredients in place first. Any time I’ve tried to forgo this step I end up realizing too late I added the wrong kind of sugar or I can’t find the pan I need to pour my batter into or I scorch the milk because I’m cleaning up an egg I broke… you get the picture. For me, planning and prep is good.
So here is everything I need to make this recipe. The pineapple and mango are already sliced and cut into the right shape. My dry ingredients have been sifted and combined. The mango chutney stuff is prepped. The butter is measured and separated, the brown sugar is packed, the pan has been lined (more on that below), and my recipe has been read through, and for the purposes of this blog entry, passive voice has been exhausted, I promise.
Parchment paper is the best thing ever invented. It is so worth the effort to pull it out along with the scissors and precisely line your baking pans. I love baking pans with perfect square corners too, so the lining is a must. Otherwise I’d never get my stuff out of the pan neatly.
This is a cake built from layers. The first layer is brown sugar:
The second layer involves the pineapple rings and the mango circles that fit inside:
Then comes a sugary mango/pineapple chutney layer:
The next layer is the actual cake batter:
Throw it in the oven and magical things start happening. The brown sugar and the juices from the mangoes and the pineapple cook together and create this unbelievable fruity chewy caramel thing. It comes out of the oven looking fairly ordinary and innocent – you have no idea what sort of taste and texture sensation is waiting for you just beneath the surface.
The paper makes it a cinch to remove from the pan. I carefully peeled the paper from the sides of the cake before inverting it onto a plate. The bottom (soon to be top) is ooey-gooey from the brown sugar and fruit.
Once inverted, it’s a very geometrically interesting cake.
As for how it tastes, well, it cannot be beat. Everything works together. The top (previously the bottom) is very chewy with crunchy edges and a deep brown sugar flavor. The cake itself is as moist as can be. It tastes like a light version of a vanilla tres leches cake. This would be a perfect dessert for a summer barbeque. I can see my grandmother taking a bite of this and then just saying, “Oh my.” It’s that good.