Monday, February 24, 2014

Pineapple Golden Layer Cake

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Inspired by my recent reading of The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Dessert Cookbook and my desire to eat something sweet and springy (for it is indeed springy in this part of the world, believe it or not!), I decided the next recipe to appear here at RTET would be this delectably tropical pound cake, an heirloom dessert from my own family. This is one from my maternal grandmother, in all likelihood adopted from the label on a can of pineapple back in the ‘60s, but it is SO much more delicious than a glance at the ingredients would lead you to believe. On top of that, it is fast and simple to make. Like the Baked Manhattan recipe in the abovementioned cookbook, this one is more about assembly than actual cooking, resulting in a tasty and impressive dessert ready to be nommed in record time. The pound cake is buttery without being heavy, somehow, and the Cool Whip creates an icing substitute that is light and fluffy. Pretty to look at, delicious with tea or milk…you’ll be hard-pressed to stop at just one slice.

Granny’s Pineapple Golden Layer Cake

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1 20-oz. can of crushed pineapple in juice
1 8-oz. container of frozen whipped topping, a.k.a. Cool Whip
1 pkg. (the 4 serving size) instant vanilla pudding mix
1 pkg. (16 oz.) frozen pound cake
1/3 C. pineapple juice
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/4 C. sliced almonds
Pineapple slices for garnish, if desired

  1. Put the Cool Whip and pound cake in the refrigerator to thaw the night before you plan to make the cake.
  2. Everything thawed? Then we’re ready to go! Start by mixing the pineapple juice and almond extract together in a measuring cup. If you would like to make a grown-ups-only version of this cake, you can substitute 1/3 C. almond-flavored liqueur instead. I prefer a more pineapple-y taste, so I did the juice version here.

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    I learned a little too late that a small hole poked on the opposite side will prevent the old glug-and-splash when you’re pouring.

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  3. Set that aside after mixing it up, and we’ll move on to the filling/icing concoction. In a large bowl, combine the can of pineapple, undrained, with the Cool Whip and pudding mix. It’s important to make sure you get the instant pudding, and not the kind that requires cooking! Mix it all together until the pineapple is evenly distributed in the fluff, and then let it stand for at least 5 minutes.

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  4. Cut pound cake lengthwise into 3 layers of equal thickness, like so:

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  5. Drizzle the layers with the pineapple juice/almond extract mixture (or the liqueur, if you chose to make the boozy version). This is more art than science, so it doesn’t need to be perfect.

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  6. Place the bottom layer on the plate you plan to serve the cake on. Spread 1/3 of the pudding-and-pineapple mixture on the cake with a rubber spatula. Place the second layer on top, and then spread the next 1/3 of the mixture on that layer. Finally, top with the last layer of pound cake and spread the remaining mixture on top. Put the cake in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes and become more firmly stuck together.

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  7. While the cake is chilling, toast the almond slices. You know the drill—dump ‘em in a dry frying pan over low heat, stir often, remove when they smell toasty so’s they don’t burn. Burnt almonds = sad times.

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    The toastiest almonds you’ve ever toasted.
  8. Sprinkle the almonds on the top of the chilled cake. If you feel like getting fancy, you can even stick them in the fluff between the cake layers. Slice to serve and garnish with pineapple if you want to be extra impressive!

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What are some of your favorite family desserts?

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