Friday, August 31, 2012

Pineapple Cake & Gratitude

To thank you, I made you a cake.

Sadly I cannot BRING you that cake, but I made it nonetheless. I hope that still counts.

A big THANK YOU to my foodie pen pal. I cannot believe its already the end of the month and time again to share what I received. It really is such a fun program and Lindsay - likely the most organized person on the continent - does an incredible job putting this all together. I was pleased to see her shift some of the responsibility back to the participants and hopefully ease her load going forward.

A quick recap of the program. Couldn't be simpler (for the participants that is, Lindsay has a huge coordination job with thousands from around the world!)

1.  Anyone in the world can participate.
2.  $15 spend limit.
3.  Send a complete stranger (food blogger or food blog reader or just fooder) some yummy treats.
4.  A different complete stranger sends you some yummy treats.
5.  Write about it.

I have only participated once before, and was delighted with what I received.  This time was no different.  Definitely spoiled by Dianne.  I believe Dianne is food enthusiast not a blogger or I would link her up here. But if you have not met Dianne, you should! I suspect she would be an amazing Secret Santa too!

Where to start..there was so much!

Brookside Dark Chocolate Acai Blueberries. While I know healthy eating and exercise prevent cancer, I like to know eating this antioxidant powerball of chocolate also does the same.

Danielle Sweet Mango Chips. Loved being able to eat a mango without all those stringy things getting caught in my teeth.

Balis Best Espresso Candy. Espresso + Sugar. Bye bye 3pm snooze.

Cliff Crunch Bar (white chocolate macadamia nut) AND a Zing Bar (peanut butter & chocolate chip).  I'm a huge fan of the Cliff and never seen the Zing. I'm saving them both for my next hike.

Somersaults Crunchy Nuggets.  Basically seeds pressed together, tossed in cinnamon and sugar. You can probably here me crunching them from here.

TOO MUCH. No really, tooooo much. So generous and thoughtful.  I know everyones time is precious so to Dianne - it means a lot you took the time to pick out these delicious treats and send them my direction. Thank you!

So I baked you a cake. I like to make things from inspiration but there was so much in my package, I couldn't narrow it down. So I took inspiration from the tropical mango and variety of nuts and made a Pineapple Icebox Cake.

No bake (because I'm back to being a no bake-r)
No dairy.
No eggs. (I'm conflicted if eggs are considered dairy)
No gluten.
and the bonus, very little sugar.

From that, one would think you would be staring at a pineapple on a plate. But this turned out really quite good and its going in my recipe box I pinned it for I will certainly pull that out again. It's an overnight one, not always a huge fan of that, but was willing to give it a go. It was worth it.

So for my generous foodie pen pal, to thank you I baked you a cake...

....and then I ate it.

Pineapple Cake

Adapted from Vancouver Sun 8/29/12

2 c. diced fresh pineapple

1 c. whole, unbleached toasted almonds
1 c. shredded unsweetened coconut
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 T. melted, extra virgin coconut oil
2 T. agave nectar
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 cup raw cashew pieces
1/3 cup vanilla almond milk
1 1/2 c. diced fresh pineapple
1 tsp salt
2 T. lemon juice
2 T. agave nectar
4 T. melted, extra virgin coconut oil

NOTES: This recipe calls for an overnight soak of the cashews and time for the juice to drain from the fresh pineapple.  Before you start preparation, ensure you have at least 8 hours to soak the nuts and drain the pineapple. 

1.  On the day before, dice a whole medium pineapple. Put 2 cups of the fresh pineapple in a food processor and puree until smooth. Take a piece of cheesecloth and line a sieve over a small bowl.  Pour the pureed pineapple into the cheesecloth and put into the refrigerator overnight (or at least several hours but given the next step, overnight usually works best) 

2. Also on the night before, put the cashews in a bowl and cover with water. Soak these overnight.

3.  Line the bottom of a small spring form pan or bundt pan with removable centre with parchment paper.

4.  Using a food processor, pulse the almonds, coconut, cinnamon and salt until you have a finely chopped, crumbly mixture. Add the remaining ingredients for the crust and then pulse to combine.  Pour out the mixture into the pan you will bake it in, and press firmly into the bottom.

5.  Using the food processor again, add the drained cashews and almond milk. Puree this mixture until completely smooth. Then add the pineapple, salt, lime, and agave nectar and also puree until smooth.  Depending on the quality of your food processor, at this point you can either transfer to a blender and continue pureeing until extremely smooth or attempt to achieve this creamy consistency with the food processor. In either case, while the processor or blender is running, drizzle in the coconut oil. Once completely blended and smooth, pour this mixture over the crust and use a spatula to smooth the top.  Place the cake in the freezer for at least two hours or until solid.

6.  Once firm, remove the cake from the freezer and spoon the pineapple puree from the sieve over the top.  Smooth it out, refrigerate for another 1/2 hour and enjoy.

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