One of my favorite discoveries from my trip to the Azores was this pineapple cake I found on the menu at A Tasca in Ponta Delgada. Nothing like those 60s era upside-down cakes, this pineapple cake was filled with fresh pineapples, perfectly textured, and totally messy — all in all a perfect end to our evening. When I got home, I set out to recreate A Tasca's cake and baked and baked until I found the key to the texture: a mix of polenta and almond meal. Not too sweet, with a gorgeous texture and subtle flavor, this cake is as fitting as an end to a meal as it is a breakfast treat.
preferably fine ground though any type will work
or coconut oil
(from 1 medium pineapple or use 2 (15 ounce) cans diced pineapple, well drained)
Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat a (9- or 10-inch) springform pan with oil or butter then line the bottom with a round of parchment. Whisk together the almond meal, polenta, flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
To make a parchment circle to line the pan, trace the bottom of the pan on the paper then cut it out.
In the bowl of a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle (or using a handheld mixer), combine the sugars and eggs and beat on medium-low until just combined, about 30 seconds. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light colored and thoroughly combined and slightly thickened, about another 1 minute. Add the oil and vanilla and mix for an additional 1 minute until well combined and mixture resembles wet sand.
With the paddle still running, gradually add the dry mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time. Stop as soon as you no longer see any dry flour (the mixture should be thick like cornbread batter). Remove the bowl from the stand-mixer and fold in 3 cups of pineapple. Scatter remaining 1 cup of pineapple on the bottom of the pan then spread the batter on top.
Bake until the cake is nicled browned and a cake tester or toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs on it, about 50 to 65 minutes (the 9-inch cake pan will take longer to bake). Run a knife along the edge of the cake then let it cool completely, at least 1 1/2 hours. Release the spring and invert the cake onto a serving platter or cake stand. Serve topped with a sprinkling of powdered sugar.
Photos and food styling by Aida Mollenkamp