Tag: sweet

Pineapple upside down cake

Ever since Bree Van de Kamp made this wonderful cake in Desperate Housewives (there’s quite a funny scene about Gaby and Bree making the cake, watch it here), I’d been wanting to try it myself. I finally had the opportunity at my charity bake sale last Sunday. The cake turned out quite well and was a lot of people’s favorite! My most important advice: if you have a regular cake tin instead of a spring cake tin, use it – the caramel on the bottom will run a little during baking, no matter how good of a spring cake tin you have. I didn’t have a full bottom cake tin and the cake still came out fine, but who knows, it might have been even better…

Ingredients (for a 26-cm cake tin), serves at least 8 hungry people:

One can of pineapple slices in juice (not syrup)
100 grams of butter, melted
100 grams of light brown sugar (or dark brown)
7 red sugar cherries (maraschino)
150 grams of butter, at room temperature
210 grams of sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
280 grams of flour, sieved
10 grams of baking powder, sieved (a bag of Dr. Oetker is 16 grams, you can also take one large tablespoon)
45 grams of ground coconut

Heat the oven to 180 degrees. Pour the melted butter in a closed cake tin and brush the sides of the tin with butter as well. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the butter. Let the pineapple drain and keep 150 ml of the juice. Spread the pineapple slices over the bottom of the tin in the butter-sugar mixture (one in the middle and the six others around it) and put a cherry in the middle of every slice.

Beat the butter soft in a big bowl (either by hand with a wooden spoon or with a hand mixer). Beat in the sugar and keep going until the mixture is fluffy and creamy. Add the eggs one by one and mix well. Add the vanilla extract. Now slowly add in the flour and baking powder, the coconut and the leftover pineapple juice. Stir with a metal spoon until the batter is smooth, stop when it’s all mixed well.

Scoop the batter out over the pineapple slices and smooth the top of the cake, which will later become the bottom. Make a bit of a hole with the back of a spoon in the middle, to prevent it from rising too much in the middle.  Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean of the middle. Let the cake cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning it over on a large plate to cool down. Enjoy!

Layered trifle with red fruit


This is one of my all-time favorite desserts. A trifle is a typically English layered dessert that includes fruit, cookies or cake and some kind of creamy inbetween (and no, it’s not pronounced ‘triffel’ in Dutch). It’s really quite easy to make and it’s impressive because of the many differently colored layers. I usually make it in a big cylindrical glass bowl, which has a big wow-factor. The downside of that is that once you start dividing portions, the effect is ruined and it’s also not easy to give everyone a balanced portion (fruits-cake-mascarpone-custard-wise). The red fruit layer has blended in a bit with the cake layer in my trifle in the picture, because I was pressed for time and didn’t let the red fruit thaw properly, so that its juice thawed into the cake (sounds delicious though, doesn’t it?) If you’re more patient or using fresh fruit, making a pretty cake layer will be easier. It’s also an easy dessert to make in small portions: use glasses (regular glasses or wine glasses) or another kind of bowl, but make sure that you have something transparent so that the visual effect pays off. If you have small bowls, you can easily decorate the top with a sprig of mint or a strawberry with a bit of whipped cream. The original recipe puts whipped cream on the custard, but usually I find this a bit over the top (can a dessert ever be over the top though?). Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients, it’s really not that hard or time-consuming to make.

Ingredients for at least 12 people

For the cake layer (I just use a regular 4/4 cake recipe but you’re welcome to use your own favorite recipe):
4 eggs
250 grams of sugar
250 grams of butter
250 grams of self-rising flour (or regular flour with a big teaspoon of baking powder)

For the red fruit layer
a sweetish fruity liquor like Grand Marnier, Cointreau, Kirsch… (not Passoa or Pisang!)
a cup or jar of red fruit jam (strawberry, raspberry or red berry mixture)
about 700 grams of red fruit (I usually use frozen in winter, let it thaw a bit before use)

For the white creamy layer
500 grams of Mascarpone
sugar (I never measure this, sorry)

For the yellow custard layer
1 liter of full-fat milk
1 vanilla bean
8 egg yolks (you’ll probably have a lot of egg white leftovers, I try not to waste these – you can freeze them or make chocolate mousse with them, just melt at least 300 grams of chocolate au bain marie and add to the beaten egg whites)
200 grams of sugar
65 grams of corn starch/maïzena (the original recipe uses flour but I find it very hard to make the custard without clots then)
For the lazy ones among us: you can use pudding mix from a package but of course it won’t taste the same as the homemade stuff).

Start by making the cake. Heat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius and prepare a regular cake tin with butter and flour. Separate the eggs and beat the yolks with 200 grams of the sugar until it is a fluid and white mixture. Melt the butter in the microwave and add it slowly while stirring. Add the flour. Now beat the egg whites with the 50 grams of sugar: add in a spoon when you start beating them, then add another spoon when you’re halfway, then add the rest of the egg whitewhen they’re stiff. Mix the egg whites with the flour mixture, be careful not to stir them but sort of ‘shovel’ them under, leaving air in the batter. Pour the batter into the cake tin and put it in the oven for 40-45 minutes. The cake is ready when you can insert a toothpick and it comes out clean, or when it starts moving ‘away’ from the tin and it springs back when you push on the top. Le the cake cool down and cut off the crust on the top and sides. Cut into blocks and fill the bottom of the glass cylinder. Tip: you can also use store-bought cake, cake leftover that have been sitting around for a few days or crunchy cookies (I’d only use cookies if I was making it in small portions though).

Sprinkle the cake layer with some liquor, to prevent it from drying out and give it a more refined taste. Spoon the jam over the cake layer (if the jam is too rigid you can heat it up a bit first), then add the red fruit.

Make the custard layer before the mascarpone, because it needs to cool down. Start by putting the milk in a saucepan with the vanilla bean, after you have cut through in the length and scraped the black seeds out – add these to the milk. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat. In the meantime, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until it becomes whiter and fluid. Add the corn starch to the egg mixture. When the milk has boiled, add the hot milk to the egg mixture and beat with a wire whip. Put the mixture back on the fire and keep whipping and scraping the bottom so it doesn’t burn. Continue until the mixture is bubbling, let it boil for a bit (don’t stop whipping!), take it from the fire and pour it into a clean, cold bowl. Let it cool down and stir now and then to prevent it from forming a ‘sheet’ on top. Remove the vanilla bean before use.

Make the mascarpone layer by emptying the mascarpone in a big bowl and adding a few sips of milk, then crush with a fork and mix until it is a creamy mixture with the consistency of toothpaste. Add sugar to taste – if you want, start with 50 grams and then add until it’s sweet enough.

Put the mascarpone layer on top of the red fruit and smooth out the top. Add the custard layer once it’s cooled down and make it smooth as well. Done! Just at tip: if you make it at least a few hours beforehand and then put it in a cold spot, the flavors can work into each other really well (it’s also a great day-after-the-party leftover-munch). Enjoy!