Vegan Mofo Day 2: Raw vegan pineapple right side up cake!

Vegan Mofo Day 2 is here! When the prompt came up, “make something from your childhood,” I knew there could be no other choice but pineapple upside down cake. I used to ask for this cake for every holiday and event. Birthday? Pineapple upside down cake with candles. Easter? Pineapple upside cake for Jesus. Mother’s Day….oh you wanted chocolate cake? Oops, cause all I got is the pineapple cake…

One time when I was learning to make it with my mom for a church function I actually mixed the topping in with the batter, cause I was too young and too dumb to conceptualize how the upside down part happened, and we ended up dubbing it as pineapple inside out cake…

The raw version is actually built right side up because working with grain free cake is kinda like that. I made the pineapple and cherry topping in a dehydrator but you can totally go skillet with this and sear the fruit till a nice caramel forms, adding a little sugar to create more if needed.

On the note of toppings, there are some discrepancies in the world and in my own household about what exactly goes on top of a pineapple upside cake.  My mom used to go nutty with it and put pineapple, chopped walnuts, cherries and raisins. Personally I am a fan of pineapple plus either raisins or cherries…no walnuts. But you do you.

For the Fruit

1 pineapple cut into rings with the center core removed, about 2 1/2 cups pineapple
1 cup cherries, pitted (I used frozen)
raisins and/or walnuts to garnish if desired
1 TB agave, coconut nectar or maple syrup (optional, but depends on juiciness of your pineapple…see below)

* note about potentially needing additional sweetener. Nature varies in the amount of juice in a fruit. When you dehydrate or cook the cherries and the pineapple if they are juicy, they will make a tablespoon or two of their own caramel. If they aren’t they won’t and you will need to add a bit of liquid sweetener to compensate.

If using a dehydrator: Dehydrate pineapple rings for 4-6 hours on a teflex sheet, reserving and gooey pineapple caramel that accumulates.

On a separate teflex tray do the same with the cherries, also reserving any juice that forms.

If your pineapple is juice free after 6 hours, toss it in 1 tablespoon liquid sweetener of choice and set aside.

To make without a dehydrator: Sear the pineapple slices 3-4 minutes each side in a skillet or frying pan. Add liquid sweetener if needed and allow to caramelize for a minute before setting aside.

Cook your cherries as well for 4-5 minutes, reducing any extra juice and concentrating the sugars.

Grain-Free Almond Cake

2 cups almond flour/meal (I just use Bob’s Red Mill but you can make your own if you want)
1 cup pitted dates, soaked 2 hours in water to cover, then drained
2 TB lemon juice
1 teas. vanilla powder or extract
1 TB coconut oil or butter

In a food processor, blend the dates, vanilla, coconut oil and lemon juice till well creamed. Remove 1/2 a cup of the date paste and set aside for your frosting. In a bowl add your almond flour. Add the date mixture. Using a spoon or spatula, fold together over and over till they are completely combined. The mixture should have the texture of a firm, more coarse marzipan that sticks together easily but is not to wet. This amount of date mixture works with the Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour, but different brands may very in moisture and texture.

Take a sheet of parchment paper, or form it right on a plate if you are not concerned with having some mess on the serving plate.

Take half your cake dough and form a 1.5 inch round or square cake layer.

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Slice your pineapple rings into quarters. Make a layer of them on top of the first layer of cake and drizzle half the pineapple caramel syrup on the layer. On a separate piece of parchment make another cake layer with the remaining cake dough of the same size and shape. Transfer the second cake layer, on top of the first by turning the second layer upside down onto the pineapple layer and peeling away the parchment.

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Frost the entire cake with a thin layer of the remaining date paste. It doesn’t need to be anywhere near as thick as normal frosting. It’s just the glue that holds the fruit on!

Finish the cake by decorating with the remaining pineapple quarters, drizzling any remaining pineapple caramel and placing the cherries, raisins, walnuts or any other garnish that calls your fancy.  Chill for 2-4 hours before slicing. Slices best with a serrated edge knife.