Cake for breakfast? Of course.
It’s a shame that so many cake recipes call for eggs, cream, and loads of sugar, when the same texture – fluffy, moist, flaky, and rich – can be matched sans the heavy ingredients and dangerous boost in blood sugar levels. Sure, there’s room for those kinds of desserts too, but if you’re anything like me and need dessert everyday – that is, require for basal human function – then it helps to have an arsenal of silhouette-forgiving, vegan dessert recipes on hand.
This vanilla cake recipe is a simple, foundational recipe that can be altered according to your tastes. Like chocolate? Add cocoa powder. Like more texture? Add dried fruit and nuts. Like things bigger? Buy more pans for layering. But what I’ve written here is a mild, flaky cake that is a lot like a soft, light, and slightly sweet bread to be complemented with tea, coffee or almond milk.
I added a personal touch to the cake by baking it over pineapple slices, which add moisture and make for a great presentation. I chose pineapple for its taste, but the diamond-under-the-rough fruit is also packed with immune-boosting vitamin C, promotes healthy gums and teeth, sharpens vision, improves digestion, and alleviates arthritis symptoms.
Pineapple also contains the enzyme bromelain, which helps to break down protein. This knowledge comes in handy after you’ve eaten a hefty meal – chewing on a bit of pineapple can help to make room for dessert, because foregoing dessert is seldom an option. And lucky for you, this recipe cuts to the chase and adorns the top of a vanilla cake with brown-sugar glazed pineapple slices, so you make more room for dessert whilst eating dessert. Pure logic, my friends.
Note: If you want a caramelized effect, use a metal spring-form pan and the brown sugar is a must, since it helps to caramelize the pineapples. I personally like my pineapples to tenderize without becoming too sweet, since I treat this dish more as a “S’pose-I’ll –just-have-this-here-cake-for-breakfast-since-it’s-so-clean-and-healthy” item than a dessert item. For this reason, I use a glass pan and sometimes forego the brown sugar. When I do want the cake for dessert, I warm it up and drizzle with honey for that extra sweetness.
Pineapple Bread Cake
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar (optional)
- 2 cups whole-wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter + 1/2 tablespoon for coating baking dish
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup almond milk
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat the bottom and sides of baking dish with 1/2 tablespoon of butter. Sprinkle brown sugar on top, evenly across the area of the dish. Skin a pineapple and cut along its width as thin as possible, making 4-6 discs. Place pineapple on the bottom of the baking dish.
In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Using your hands, cut the vegan butter (I like to use Earth Balance) into the dry mixture, using your fingers to create a meal-like texture.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients, except for the almond milk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until pasty. Add the almond milk a little at a time until the mixture reaches a thick, but easily spreadable texture.
Carefully spread batter over the pineapple slices in the glass baking dish.
Bake in the oven for approximately 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
After you remove the cake from the oven, loosen the edges with a knife and let cool down. When cool enough to handle with your bare hands, use a cutting board to help flip the dish over so that the pineapples are exposed.
The result is a light but comforting bread-like cake that has just the right touch of pineapple to keep things interesting. Cut a piece and serve warm with almond milk for dipping or enjoy aside a morning coffee.
Aylin Erman currently resides in Istanbul and is creator of plant-based recipe website GlowKitchen.