August 31, 2004

pina colada out of the oven (sort of)

Tuesday, August 31

When I made another batch of chiffon cake for our roadtrip to Kona the last weekend, I meant to make pina colada chiffon cake. With a fresh memory of my recent not-so-successful batch of pina colada muffins, I had decided not to use fresh pineapple in baking cakes. A friend of ours, however, gave us a handsome pineapple the other day and it had been here waiting to be consumed or used for something.

Seeing my pineapple ripens day by day, I decided to give another try to pina colada muffins. While he doesn't like fresh pineapple (or most other fresh fruits, really) and I can't handle a whole pineapple just by myself, both of us love the pineapple-coconut cocktail a lot. That is why it seemed better to me to use the pineapple in baking. This time, however, I cooked the pineapple before throwing it in the cake, remembering that the fresh pineapple flesh had tasted rather bland in cakes in my attempt. I cut up the pineapple into small pieces and cooked them in their own juice just for a few minutes; I didn't add sugar as the pineapple was pretty sweet itself and it wasn't for long-term storing like in a case of jam/preserves.

Originally I was going to make the muffins again. But as I had been in a mood of trying out a lot of chiffon cakes, I thought: why not pina colada chiffon cake?

I basically used the same recipe as the last time and also looked up recipes for pineapple and coconut chiffon cakes on the same website (in Japanese), put them together and modified a bit; I used coconut milk and rum instead of water, and added a conservative amount of small pieces of pineapple and toasted grated coconuts; although I tend to be very generous in putting "flavoring stuff" in cooking - meaning, if I make lemon cake I would want it REALLY lemony so I would put a lot of lemon zest and juice, for example - I exercised my self-control not to do so with this particular kind of cake, as chiffon cake are known to fail with overdosing of mix-ins because it is too light and soft to hold much of solid ingredients, in this case pineapple chunks and maybe grated coconuts.

The cakes turned out a little firmer than last time, supposedly because of the use of coconut milk instead of water (they were really really light and fluffy last time). Even so, the cakes had a unmistakably lighter texture than most other cakes and very tasty, too, although not having so much noticeable flavor of pina colada... we couldn't taste rum at all, which made them more like "pineapple and coconut cake", rather than pina colada cake. Too bad.

I had planned to graze and top the cakes with more pineapple and coconuts to boost the flavor, but I ended up taking plain cakes along on the day we went to Kona, partly because I thought the cakes wouldn't hold heavy toppings for a very long time (and mostly because I didn't have time to do it before leaving home). Yet as we still have some leftover cakes in the fridge, I decided to do something with them today, this time at home.

Since the cakes were made in paper cups, they naturally had a shape of the tall cups. This brought me to come up with an idea - make them look like real pina colada in a tall glass, or at least a reminder of it.

I scraped out the top of a cake and made a cavity. In it I put ice cream, and drizzled with frozen pineapple chunks (I had stored the leftover of cooked pineapple) and toasted grated coconuts, then stuck a straw, or a pineapple-flavored pretzel into the cake. I should have boozed it up with a dash of rum, but forgot; the cake still looked pretty, even if it did not exactly look or taste like a glass of pina colada.

(And, hey, I'm not done with the seriese of chiffon-cake making projects yet; you can't get out of it that easy!)


Santos said...

sweet! did you use the hawaii pretz? guam pretz sucks. and it's giant.

chika said...

Hey Santos,
Didn't know they have Guam pretz too! What kind of flavor is it? Coconuts? Hawaii's pineapple ones are also a giant, too. You should have seen how many of funky (weird, sometimes) "local" exclusive versions of them are out there in Japan - there are flavors of apple, cheese, salmon, sea urchin, broiled eel, takoyaki... and there are a pocky variety, too!

Santos said...

yup, the guam/saipan giant pretz are coconut. they use real coconut milk, but like your cakes, the pretz are harder than the regular ones.

have you tried some of the local ones? i'd like to try the sea urchin one.

chika said...

hey santos,
I have tried apple, miso, mentaiko (chilli-peppered cod roe), takoyaki... what else? And yes, Thai larb flavor too!

By the way, have you guys got glico's collon in Guam? I love the plain flavor of it, but one of its "local" limited flavors is green tea and it's dddddddamn good. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Chika,

What is your recipe for the chiffon cake -- it looks so spongy and light! To give it more rum flavor, try poking holes in the warm cake and pouring rum, coconut milk or flavoring, and pineapple juice, and a little sugar boiled together over the cakes so it seeps into the holes. 

Posted by Linda

mumble said...


Your cake looks super good! Hmmm.... Maybe I should try your recipe.

Posted by Xin