During a visit to a local street market in Rio I find a stall set up next to a local jazz band selling Caipirinhas, lots of them! The owner of this stall/bar is Luizinho and he's a local legend. He set up his stall in the mid 1990's when he was placed in charge of serving cocktails during a political campaign. This triggered invites to other events which eventually led to his own business. Nowadays he is at his happiest talking to his customers, listening to music and of course making cocktails.
His caipirinhas are made in the traditional way with lime, sugar and Cachaca (Brazilian rum) but also with tropical fresh fruit and berries which make them very drinkable indeed. Luizinho then gets me behind his bar to give me a lesson in caipirinha making. As I look around I begin to understand exactly why he has chose this as his profession, the sun is shining, people are smiling, chatting and dancing. And of course the cocktails are flowing, it's a street celebration!
And what better way to celebrate than with cake... I've based the flavours in this cake around the caipirinha cocktail and my favourite combination that I tasted that day which was Cachaca, pineapple and passion fruit.
My Pineapple Cake with Passion Fruit & Caipirinha Drizzle
- 1 medium pineapple, peeled, cored and sliced
- 175g caster sugar
- 125g plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 50g desiccated coconut
- 1 large egg
- 2 egg yolks
- 175g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
- 250ml whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the drizzle:
- 2 passion fruit
- 50g icing sugar
- 50ml cachaca
- Juice of 1 lime
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius or 325 degrees Fahrenheit and grease and line a 23cm springform cake tin with baking parchment.
Place the pineapple slices and 50 grams of the sugar into a large non-stick frying pan and cook gently for 4 to 5 minutes until caramelised. Set aside to cool.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and stir in the desiccated coconut and the remaining sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, eggs, melted butter, milk and vanilla until smooth.
Stir the mixture into the dry ingredients to make a smooth batter. Transfer a few spoonfuls of the batter into a separate bowl. Mix the pineapple slices with the larger amount of batter and pour into the lined tin.
Give the tin a tap to knock out any air bubbles then pour the reserved batter over the top. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until set with a slight wobble in the centre.
Transfer to a wire rack, leave to cool slightly then prick the surface all over with a toothpick or small skewer.
Meanwhile, cut the passion fruit in half and spoon the flesh into a small food processor. Pulse a few times to break down the pulp and loosen the seeds then pour into a bowl with the remaining ingredients.
Stir until the sugar has dissolved then spoon over the cake. Leave the cake to cool completely then cut into wedges and serve.