Thursday, May 3, 2012

Pineapple Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake with Pineapple Syrup: Trying to fix things up

For Husband, who works so hard so we can have this home

A year ago, Husband and I began the insane process of purchasing the home that we were renting.  In the end we bought it, this 1969 home since we loved living it in it as renters.  As renters, you have a lot less responsibility over the home than you do as owners.  As owners, suddenly you look around and everything you see are dollar signs.  As renters, when the toilet ran, I simply called the landlord to fix it, and he sent out a plumber.  As an owner, when my master bedroom toilet ran, I ran to Home Depot and bought the inner guts of a toilet and I fixed it myself.  (Plumber - over $80; self - $10.)  You change how you do things when you are an owner.

The list of things that need to be done to this 1969 home are endless.  The windows are single pane and rattle like the earth is coming to end during a light breeze.  The outside paint is some strange 1980's color whose name might be something like taupe or khaki, but to me says "ugly."  The carpet needs to be replaced, the hardwood needs to be refinished, the landscaping needs to be redone, and the kitchen remodeled.  The list of things that need to be attacked in this home is seemingly endless and at times I am completely stymied by the question of WHERE to start, HOW to start, and WHAT to start with.  Husband repeatedly grumbles that owning a house is a never-ending pit of expenditure.  We simply choose not to get started with anything so as to avoid it.

However, in a casual observation made with friend SH, I noticed that a side portion of our small yard had this complete overgrowth of ivy.  And upon closer examination, discovered that this ivy had essentially climbed up 4 different trees and were essentially choking the trees.  The trees were dying because of this insanely intense ivy and suddenly I got it in my head that THIS I could attack.   The ivy had to be pulled out RIGHT NOW and done RIGHT AWAY.  I called out to Daughters and said, "Let's get that ivy" and suddenly Daughters grabbed their gardening gloves, put on their rain boats, and began ripping apart ivy with me.  We were three dangerous women on a mission to eliminate all the ivy. 

Do you know how HARD it is to remove ivy?  The ivy that began climbing the trees essentially needed to be peeled off and as the girls did it, I discovered them hanging onto ivy in an effort to bring it down.  There were moments I would look over and the two were dangling mid-air, like Tarzan, trying to yank down the ivy.  The stuff doesn't want to die.  But over a four day period, with brief periods of insane ivy murder, we began removing that patch of ivy.

Today Daughters and I finished the job.  The ivy has been removed.  In another bizarre twist I have discovered that the ivy is actually an infiltration from next door, and Mother has bellowed into the phone, "The minute you see that stuff wanting to come back, you have to attack it and eliminate it all over again."  I'm on it.  I'm going to keep it out of my yard.  I've come to truly hate ivy.

On the complete OPPOSITE end of my hatred of ivy, is my LOVE of this cake.  LOVE.  Did I say LOVE?  Let me repeat.  LOVE.  Tangy sweet pineapple, lovely vanilla bean, gorgeous cake.  LOVE.  That's right.  One bite of this and all the ivy is forgotten.

Until the ivy grows back.  But I'm not going to let it.  EVER.

Keeping focused on this cake.  Not the ivy.

Pineapple Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake with Pineapple Syrup
Makes 10-inch bundt cake, serving 12 to 14

3 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped out
½ cup sour cream
½ cup buttermilk
1 ½ cups diced fresh pineapple

⅔ cup fresh pineapple puree (use a hand blender or blender and puree until fairly smooth)
⅓ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water

Place rack in center of oven, and preheat oven to 350. Grease and lightly flour inside of 10 inch bundt pan.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Set aside. Mix together sour cream and buttermilk mixture. Set aside.

Using either a stand mixer (paddle attachment) or a hand mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add sugar and beat at medium-high speed until the mixture is light in texture and color, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating for 30 to 40 seconds after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl as necessary. Beat in vanilla bean. At low speed, add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with sour cream mixture (Add a bit of flour, a bit of sour cream mixture, a bit of flour, a bit of sour cream mixture, a bit of flour.)

Using a spatula, carefully fold in diced pineapple, incorporating it into the batter. Carefully spoon batter into bundt pan.

Bake cake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then invert it onto another rack. Place the cake, on the rack, over a baking sheet.

While cake is baking, make syrup. Combine pineapple puree, sugar, and water in a small non-reactive saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Using a pastry brush, dab syrup generously all over surface of the warm cake, allowing it to soak into the cake before reapplying. Let the cake cool completely.

Printable recipe

My favorite bundt pan


Purabi Naha said...

I'm so happy to stumble upon your space and seeing this recipe: I'm all excited. I'm one of those bundt cake imagine how excited I’d be to see someone blogging about this!. Love the dish totally.

Carolyn Jung said...

You know how they say you can never kill ivy? I've killed it. That's how bad my gardening skills are. LOL I should just come care for your ivy for a few days, then you'd never have to worry about it again. ;)

Anonymous said...

If I am not too fond of vanilla bean seeds, how much vanilla extract would you recommend instead?

Joanne Choi said...

Anonymous - go with 1 teaspoons. it'll lend a hint of that tropical vanilla perfume.

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