Mother's Day Carrot and Pineapple Cake

Taken from 'Calendar of Cakes: Recipes, tips and tricks from the South Australian Country Women's Association'

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
Serves:
Cake tin size: 24 cm springform pan

Cake ingredients

2 cups plain flour
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups sugar
1 cup (250mL) light olive oil
3 large free-range eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
1 ½ cups cooked carrot puree (approx. 3 medium carrots)
1 cup walnut pieces, roughly chopped
1 cup desiccated coconut
¾ cup drained crushed pineapple

Candied pineapple flowers

¼ cup caster sugar
6 thin slices pineapple, peeled

Icing ingredients

125g cream cheese, softened
45g butter, softened
Juice of half a lemon
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Icing sugar

Method

Preheat oven to 180oC (160oC for fan-forced). Lightly grease a 24cm round cake tin and line with baking paper.

Sift flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda and cinnamon together in a large mixing bowl. Add sugar, stirring to combine, and make a well in centre.

In a medium jug combine oil, eggs and vanilla and beat until well combined. Pour into the centre of the flour mixture, stirring until smooth.

Add carrots, walnuts, coconut and pineapple, stirring until well combined. Spoon mixture into prepared cake tin and bake in preheated over for 1 hour or until edges leave side of tin and a skewer come out of the centre of the cake clean. Remove from oven, leave to cool in tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Turn oven down to 120oC (100oC fan-forced).

To make pineapple flowers, combine sugar and ¼ cup (60mL) water in a small saucepan over a low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high, bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes. Brush each pineapple slice with sugar syrup and place on a wire rack over a baking tray. Bake in oven for 1 hour or until slices have dried out, but are still a little soft. Remove from oven and carefully lift off with a spatula. Gather each pineapple slice from the centre to look like a flower and place in an egg carton to cool.

To make the topping, beat cream cheese and butter together using an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add lemon juice, vanilla and enough icing sugar to make a good spreading consistency. Spread icing generously over cake and top with cooled pineapple flowers. 

Tip: To achieve an evenly baked cake, turn it 180 halfway through cooking, in case there is a hot of cool spot in the oven.