I read with shock this week that Woolworths in the UK has ceased to be as a consequence of the current economic crisis. For just under a year, I lived near Lancaster Gate tube station in London, and I relied on my local Woolworths at Marble Arch for all of my general household goods. Unlike Australia, supermarkets in the UK (at least, the ones I went to) do not sell general household items like mops and brooms, so Woolworths was my "go to" store for such things. The lovely blue stripey plates that appear on my blog came from Woolworths in Marble Arch, London. Even my copy of Crowded House's Recurring Dream came from Woolworths at Marble Arch. Accordingly, I feel a personal touch of nostalgia and sadness for the fate of Woolworths stores in the UK.
On a happier note, there have been four recent birthdays among my work colleagues. For Susie and Racquel, whose birthdays were the most recent, I turned to Sky High: Irresistable Triple Layer Cakes by Alisa Huntsman, Peter Wynne and Tina Rupp to make a cake, because Racquel had previously expressed her love of the triple-layer cake. (I've said it before and I'll say it again - this is a great book.) I chose the Pina Colada Cake for Susie and Racquel, simply because what girl doesn't like a cocktail?
The cake consists of three layers of brown sugar cake soaked with rum, a pineapple filling, and a coconut buttercream. The pineapple filling was delicious (I tasted a spoonful of it while assembling the cake), but unfortunately I cannot report on the taste of the remainder because I wasn't around when the cake was served. I only made a half recipe of pineapple filling, which seemed more than enough to me. I also substituted lemon juice for lime juice in the filling, as I couldn't find lime juice for the life of me in the City Coles, and the supermarket limes that I have experienced are usually small and dry, yielding very little juice.
Brown Sugar Cake
To make the brown sugar cake, you will need:
3 3/4 cups plain flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
2 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
230g butter, softened
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and line 3 x 9 inch cake tins.
Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together. Add the brown sugar, butter and 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, then blend together using an electric mixer on low speed. Increase the speed to medium and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
In a jug, whisk together the eggs, the vanilla extract and the remaining 1/4 cup of buttermilk, and add to the cake mixture in 3 batches, stirring until just combined after each addition.
Divide the cake mixture evenly between each of the 3 cake tins, and bake the cakes in the preheated oven for approximately 25 minutes. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before unmoulding onto a wire rack and allowing to cool completely.
I made a half recipe as follows:
440g tin crushed pineapple in juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 cup lemon juice
1 split vanilla bean
Put the pineapple (including juice), sugar and lemon juice in a large saucepan or frypan. Scrape the vanilla seeds into the pan, and add the pod. Heat the mixture over low heat, stirring until the sugar is disssolved. Turn the heat up to medium and bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until most of the juices have evaporated and the pineapple mixture has thickened.
Remove the pineapple mixture from the heat, remove the vanilla pod, and allow it to cool completely.
3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
290g softened butter
2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk (I used the light version)
1 1/2 teaspoons coconut extract
Place the egg whites into an electric mixer bowl.
Put the sugar and water into a saucepan, and stir over medium heat to dissolve the sugar. Bring the mixture to the boil, then allow it to boil without stirring until it reaches 238 degrees Farenheit on a candy thermometer. Remove the mixture from the heat.
Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer for a short time, then pour the hot sugar syrup in a slow stream into the eggwhites while still beating, and continue to beat until the meringue has cooled to room temperature.
Turning the electric mixer to low speed, beat in the butter, two tablespoons at a time, then turn up the mixer speed to medium and beat until the frosting is smooth and fluffy.
Beat in the coconut milk in several batches, then stir in the coconut extract.
2/3 cup rum
shredded or dessicated coconut
Place one cake layer on a cardboard cake disk, and soak the cake with three tablespooons of rum. Spread half of the pineapple filling over the top of the cake, then place a second cake layer on top. Repeat, topping with the third cake layer, and sprinkle the top cake layer with the remaining rum.
Frost the cake with the coconut buttercream, and press the dessicated or shredded coconut onto the sides of the cake to decorate.
Although I can't tell you how the cake tastes, I can truthfully say that it smells delightful! As with all triple layer cakes, it also looks impressive, so you can wow your friends at your next dinner party.