British (cake) invasion

Anyone who writes, reads, comments on blogs would attest to the power of online communication for building relationships. Ditto for facebook, twitter, etc. We’ve all made friends we’d never have imagined meeting outside of online connections.

Today’s story is about such a connection, though it goes back 12 years, before blogs, facebook Likes, or tweets. Remember the chat room?

With little to do at the end of my first pregnancy (I had stopped accepting new projects in anticipation of first-time motherhood and the nursery was ready and waiting), I found myself newly addicted to a television show I’d enjoyed in the ’80s. Discovering its virtual chat room linked me to others following this cult favorite. Thus my bonding with Scarecrow & Mrs. King fans began.

It’s with some embarrassment that I ‘fess up to having been into this show (admitting to a trip to LA for SMK’s 20th anniversary reunion doesn’t help my street cred either), though I will forever be grateful as it formed a friendship I still hold today.

Di–watching SMK in Great Britain–was brilliantly funny and we soon moved on to emails and exchanging packages (though she’s much better at sending than I am). We’ve met up in LA, Vegas, Boston, D.C., and DisneyWorld and I’ve hosted her in my home as well.

(You can meet Di yourself, through TourGuide Ted, her well-traveled stuffed bear who has his own website, twitter account, and vacation property.)

Though Di would never call herself a “cook,” her bear, Ted, has posted the occasional culinary delight. Most recently, he showed up on his Twitter feed with a piña colada cake. And when Di sent me the recipe, I was on it like a maraschino cherry on a pineapple ring.

TourGuide Ted's cake is much prettier than mine.

TourGuide Ted’s cake is much prettier than mine.

What’s surprising here is that I don’t like pineapple. I especially don’t like pineapple in baked goods. (My theory that raisins don’t belong in baked goods easily extends to all fruit, excepting apple pie and crumble of course.) But a seemingly endless string of sub-zero temperature days broke me and I wanted nothing more than a slice of piña colada cake.

Luckily I have a kitchen scale and working knowledge of google as I needed to weigh ingredients and translate British cooking terms such as sandwich tins, caster sugar, and Gas Mark 3.

In the end, my cake baked up flatter (didn’t have 7-inch cake pans, so used 9-inch) and was less pretty (bought two cans of pineapple tidbits instead of one each rings and tidbits–oops) than what Ted had whipped up, but it couldn’t have been any less delicious. Moist, sweet, a little bit boozy, the cake offered texture contrast with moist pineapple pieces and shredded coconut. I put away three (not huge, honest) slices before I could stop eating.

Kept going back for more.

kept going back for more

slice of heaven

slice of heaven

In the spirit of the recent Winter Olympic games, food for fun salutes all its readers–international and domestic–with a cake that is good enough to bring about World Peace. And hopefully a spring thaw for those in northern climes.

Piña Colada Cake as told to an American food editor

  • 2 ounces brown sugar
  • 4 ounces tinned pineapple rings
  • Maraschino cherries
  • 6 ounces butter, softened
  • 6 ounces caster sugar (used granulated)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons coconut rum (used twice that and Ted claims to have tripled the amount)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces dessicated coconut (used shredded)
  • 6 ounces self-rising flour (used 1 cup all-purpose flour + 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder + 1/2 teaspoon salt)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 ounces tinned pineapple pieces, drained and well-chopped (used canned tidbits)

Filling and Frosting

  • 525 grams icing (powdered) sugar
  • 225 grams butter (1/2 cup), softened
  • Coconut rum
  • Pineapple juice (reserved from canned pineapple)
  • 2 to 4 ounces dessicated coconut (Ted says toasted, though I did not)

Set oven to Gas Mark 3 (325ºF). Line 7-inch sandwich tins (with removable bottom). [I coated two 9-inch cake pans with baking spray.] Sprinkle bottom of one pan evenly with brown sugar. Top decoratively with pineapple rings and cherries.

In mixing bowl, beat together 6 ounces butter and the caster sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, rum, and vanilla until blended. Fold in coconut, flour, baking powder, and pineapple pieces. Add more rum if mixture is too thick to pour. Divide batter between pans. Bake on same oven rack 35 to 45 minutes or until cakes pull away from sides of pans and wooden pick inserted in center of cakes comes out clean. Cool (pineapple-side-up for pan with rings) on wire rack.

To make filling and frosting, sift icing sugar into large bowl. Add 1/2 cup butter and small amount of liquids; mix until smooth. Add liquids to taste until mixture is smooth and spreadable. (Here Ted mentions that it is important to keep tasting, though he is speaking specifically about the rum at this point.)

When cake layers are cool, place bottom half (without pineapple rings) on serving plate. Spread with about half of frosting; top with remaining cake layer, pineapple-side-up. Spread remaining frosting around side of cake. Top with coconut as desired.

61 thoughts on “British (cake) invasion

        • This comment thread made my morning! The Bruce is indeed handsome and his name isn’t too shabby either – I do believe I’ve found the subject for my next BoFN post! I have a couple weeks until then so there’s time to do the all important “research” (ie find SMK on Netflix) I’m looking forward to writing this one, and I do believe it will be dedicated to the two of you. Thanks for the inspiration ladies! 🙂

          • Lovely! For fear of sounding judgmental or racist, Boxleitner sounds like something Hitler would say while shaking his fist, as opposed to something fluid like Bertinelli, which calls for pasta and wine. And doesn’t it seem like the name Bruce was officially phased out in the 70s? There is not one Bruce in my son’s elementary school yearbook. Only Braden, Jaden, and Caiden. But not Aiden Quinn. And one more thing: The Bruce has several headshots that look eerily similar to Andy on WKRP (Gary Sandy–also two names never used now). Just saying.

    • Wish I could give you a slice Tip Top Liz 😀 We’ve talked about balance before and this cake has put me way over on the side of TOO MANY CALORIES. Thanks for coming over!

  1. How can you not like pineapple? My mind is blown — I think it’s one of my favorite fruits ever. I also love, love, love coconut so piña coladas pretty much have priority on my summer drink list. This cake looks like a dream come true to me! And so pretty too! Nicely done. =)

    • Thanks, Jayne. Killer frosting, yes. Agree that looking back and seeing how certain friendships came to be is amazing. Seems they take off with a power of their own. I’ve tried to start different friendships that never go anywhere and some of my closest friendships were never really pursued. They just happen. And an online community expands a persons world so–lots of fun folk to meet! Glad to have met you and have you here.

    • Mimi! Missing you, so am glad to see you here. Oh yes, BB was the thing. And the fact that I was “Beth” in high school and my maiden last name starts with B had me convinced we would eventually marry. Turned out not to be the case, but it was fun to enjoy a second round later in life.

      Thank you for coming to my high-calorie kitchen. One of these days I should serve up a salad.

  2. I love SMK too! Watched it when it came out and any time it is syndicated. It was only a few years ago I think I last saw it, maybe during one of my pregnancies?! How could you not like pineapple?! It is indeed one of our favorites, the boys and I can’t get enough. We buy a whole pineapple and cut it up, sometimes it is gone within minutes! And piña coladas, I’m getting hungry and thirsty. This reminds me of a pineapple upside down cake I was just talking about fixing a couple days ago…

    • Figured I’d yank another SMK fan out of the blog woodwork with this post. So glad it’s you 🙂 lol, something about waiting out a pregnancy with Amanda and Lee. I met the cast members (save Kate Jackson and the guy who played Billy as he had passed) at the anniversary. The boys were there–all grown up. One was a doctor 🙂 Martha was va-va-voom gorgeous and brought a Fabio-like date. I was at her dinner table and she was talking about the TV pilots she was working on. Do you remember the guy who played Dr. Smyth? He was very creepy in real life. Ah, memories… haha.

      Also figured I’d be in the minority by not liking pineapple. Not sure why it doesn’t appeal. I’d say too sweet, but that can’t be as I love rock candy and marshmallows. Something about the way it’s sweet puts me off. And it’s so wet. Though pineapple upside-down-cakes I enjoy. Go figure. Those bloggers, such studies in contrast 😉 Thanks for putting up with me, mama!

  3. I think it’s so cool that you made this great online friendship that translated into a real tangible one. That cake is lovely and sounds delicious, very brave of you to use pineapple when you dislike fruit in cake. That cake is so creamy, love it!

    • Thank you, Suzanne 🙂 You’v made amazing blog connections as well, I know. It’s all good!

      No idea why the pineapple sounded tasty. Wondering if the brown sugary upside-down-cake pulled me in. Appreciate being thought of as brave, but more likely I blindly follow when something grabs me.

  4. This cake sounds like a pina colada with icing. So, basically, two of my favourite things together !!! Brilliant, Liz. Also brilliant – your translation of British cooking! I would have been hopelessly lost at “dessicated coconut”. You and Becky should chat – her latest post is about trying to understand American english 😀

    • Yes that’s it, amb–a piña colada with frosting 🙂 I am putting you in charge of my marketing dept. The salary is double what you make at BoFN and you get unlimited free virtual food and drink as long as you’re on the job. Interested?

      Google comes in handy when translating foreign cooking terms as well as when cheating in blog contests 😉

      Thanks for the heads-up on Becky’s post. Will hunt her down soon.

  5. Yum! Looks and sounds really tasty! I had a piña colada cupcake filled with raspberry jam over ten years ago that I have never forgotten. By any chance do you think this recipe would hold up as a cupcake with a filling?

    • Wow, that cupcake made an impression! Not sure this would bake well as cupcakes as it’s so moist (then again, I did double the rum per instructions), but it would be lovely with a spread of raspberry jam between layers. Am sure you’ll come up with something 🙂 Thanks for the visit!

    • Thank you! I definitely need to spend more time at your blog–it seems we get the same kind of goofy delight out of being in the kitchen. (despite using the word “goofy,” this is totally a compliment 🙂 )

    • Thanks, Tracy. You and Ted would get along well, I think. Di takes him on her travels and snaps photos wherever they go. He’s been to multiple Cape Canaveral launches which impresses me greatly. Also a big spender at Build-a-Bear, lol.

      Yum rum yum rum 🙂

  6. You had me at your first paragraph. Then you added cake. And a teddy bear. A trifecta. Well done, my wonderful online friend who feels as real as next door. Nope, after this polar vortex winter..not happening. Unless you move my way! 🙂

    • finally, someone in my pineapple (free) corner. Agree that the moisture, which is trapped inside of a chewy, stringy casing, is bleagh. But this cake was good and that pineapple moisture is part of the reason. Though I’m giving most of the credit to the rum 😉 Thanks for coming over, Jenny.

  7. what a great story to go with the fantastic looking recipe. that’s so cool you formed a bond from your samk fetish. i was not a huge fan, but i remember it, and was equally geeky and into columbo, mannix and hawaii 5 0. yeh.

    • I adore Columbo! Have it all on DVD (which was a bigger deal back in the day before Netflix, etc) and am simply mad over Peter Falk.

      Thanks for your kind words, Beth 🙂

  8. At least you gave the fruit-in-baking thing a whirl despite your opinions about it. I looks great. I would have kept going back for more of that too. The ingredients sound like a great combination. I can almost taste it.

  9. “But a seemingly endless string of sub-zero temperature days broke me and I wanted nothing more than a slice of piña colada cake.”

    That line made me laugh. And the laugh again. I know what you mean. It has been a long winter indeed. I also remember watching scare crow and mrs king. Wow, brings back memories. Hadn’t thought of that show in years. I had know idea folk got into it that much. Very cool.

    • You know about those sub-zero days, Patrons. You know. Though I’m crossing fingers and praying to your grill gods that the worst is behind us.

      Glad if you got a chuckle reading. And I think the die-hard SMK fans were female as Bruce Boxleitner was quite the hottie. He even turned up in a celebrity feature in Bon Appetit back in the ’80s. Betting you remember Tron, too. Ah the memories…

      Thanks for coming by. Still amazed that you’ve kept the grill fest going even with this crazy cold weather.

    • you would, too (dare, that is), Shanna. For sure you would 😉 It was a surprising cake for me to make, but good to shake ourselves outside of our culinary comfort zones now and again. Thanks!

    • Thank you, CCU 😀 “Crazy, fluffy, lovely” is my new favorite mantra! I think I shall have a crazy, fluffy, lovely day and I wish you the same.

  10. Thought it was time I stepped in here! Yes, I’m a stuffie baker, there a quite a number of us over on Twitter and we even have stuffie cooking shows! I’m mainly a Tour Guide (hence the name) but I do like to bake – cookies and cakes mostly, though my Halloween fingers were pretty scary. Check out #BaboonsThatCook and #CookinWifRabbits over on Twitter to see more stuffie cooking! But, enough about me (can there ever be enough about me?)

    It’s a fabulous cake and I’m sure I can check out the cupcake-ability of it – it’s fab, how can it not be fab in cupcakes? Well, actually, you folks would know better than me, but if I can persuade the assistant to help me try it we’ll submit our results.

    I can’t understand a dislike of pineapple, but then I have my own hangups and won’t eat furry fruit at all (don’t like fruit you have to shave – kiwis, peaches and so on.) To be fair, as a teddy bear, I don’t much like fruit except pineapple, and strawberries, the rest are all far too healthy for my liking. We need our calories to keep us round and cuddly!

    Glad you all liked the cake!

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  12. Really lovely, entertaining post. Everybody has a guilty pleasure. Might check out SMK. It’s on Netflix. Saving this cake recipe. I think my mom has been hinting that she would like a pineapple cake so I think she will like this.

    • Thanks for the heads-up that SMK is on netflix. Would love to revisit. Curious how it holds up–aired a long time ago! How sweet that you’re making a cake for your mom 🙂

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