Bear with me here.
This cake isn’t especially shiny, but it is possibly the most delicious cake I’ve ever made. It also can pretend to be healthier than some cakes, as it is chock full of pineapple and banana. So, I think that means I can call it shiny cake if that is what I want to call it, or just because an old girlfriend could never remember that its real name was Cookie Shine Cake, and it was always referred to as the Shiny Cake.
A cookie shine is what Scots used to call a tea party. I’m a Scot and don’t recall ever hearing of a cookie shine, but Sue Lawrence tells me it is so, so it must be true. She does mention that it was mostly used in the 19th century and that it is now pretty much obsolete, so perhaps I’m forgiven for never having used it; I’m not THAT old.
The cake is moist and sweet, like a luxurious, tropical carrot cake, covered in luscious creamy cream cheese icing. Go on, it’s simple to make, uses up that desiccated coconut and the tin of smushed pineapple you have in the cupboard. Oh? Is it only me who has a random tin of crushed pineapple in the back of the cupboard?
This recipe comes from Sue Lawrence’s Scottish Kitchen. She’s a great cookery writer providing foolproof baking recipes for all manner of classic scottish homebaked goods, such as shortbread, bannocks and scotch pancakes. But there is so much more to her books than classic scottish high tea fare – not only does she provide a bit of social history around her recipes, and her travels around Scotland, but she also has great go-to recipes for almost every occasion, from quick weekday suppers to outdoor eating (yes, in Scotland!) and smart dinners. Go on, buy one of her books and see what I mean.
Anyway, here we go:
- 250g / 9oz SR flour
- 275g / 9.5oz light muscovado sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnnamon
- a pinch of salt
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 225ml / 8 fl oz sunflower or rapeseed oil
- 1 432g can of crushed pineapple, in natural juice, drained
- 2 small ripe bananas, peeled and squished
- 50g / 1.75oz desiccated coconut
- 75g / 2.75oz chopped roasted hazelnuts
- 100g / 3.75oz butter, softened
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 200g / 7oz cream cheese (full or low fat, you decide)
- 300g / 10.5oz golden icing sugar
- 1 TBsp chopped roasted hazelnuts
Prepare two 8″ cake tins (or one deep loose-bottomed tin) and preheat the oven to 280C / 350F / GM4
- Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt together in a big bowl
- Add the eggs and the oil
- Add the pineapple, bananas, coconut and hazelnuts and mix well together
- Spoon the mixture into the cake tin/s and bake for 35 – 40 minutes. You’ll need slightly longer if you are using one cake tin, so do check it’s ready by inserting a skewer into the centre of the cake and if it comes out clean, it’s ready. If not, give it another few minutes and test again.But remember if you are opening and shutting the oven door on your cake, do it gently – you don’t want to blast in any cold air into the oven, or the cake will flop.
- Leave to rest in the tin for about 30minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
- While it’s cooling you can get on with the icing.
- Cream together the butter, vanilla extract and cream cheese, using an electric beater, till smooth.
- Start adding the icing sugar a little at a time and keep beating till all the icing sugar is added and the icing is smooth and luscious.
- If you had one cake, split it in two. Sandwich the two halves together with icing and then cover the top with icing too. Sprinkle toasted hazelnuts round the outside edge of the top, or all over. Or not at all.
Now, get yourself a nice cake plate and serve your cake, preferably with a pot of Earl Grey tea and proper porcelain tea cups.
I have to say that Sue Lawrence is very particular about her half ounce measurements – I am not. I still prefer to cook in ounces and pounds. I know what 4oz of butter looks and feels like; I can measure out an ounce of flour just using spoons and hardly need to use the weighing scales. This recipe, I’m pleased to report, seems to be fairly forgiving – so if you want to round up or down with your ounces please do so. But don’t blame me (or Sue Lawrence!) if it doesn’t quite work.