Pink pineapple hummingbird cake

So when I was shopping at HMart the other day, I stumbled upon these pink pineapples. On the outside, they looked like a normal pineapple, but the flesh was 100% pink on the inside! I did a little more research on them, and it turns out that they were genetically modified so that instead of turning yellow and slightly sour, they stay pink and sweet, which I found to be fascinating. Their usual market value was $50, and since HMart was selling them for $20, I had to buy one and try it out. When it came to what to make with it, I admittedly wasn’t sure which direction to go. A pineapple upside down cake would have been iconic, pink dole whip, while pretty, was a no-go, as I had recently made a ton of dole whip already, and did not need another batch of it for just the aesthetic. So I thought about other pineapple desserts, and remembered the hummingbird cake. Classic hummingbird cake is made with banana cake that has pineapple juice in it, and has tons of coconut and pecans folded through the batter for crunch, and a cream cheese frosting. Optionally, they are decorated with pineapple pieces, pecans, and coconut flakes.

For my version, I went with using the pink pineapple in three ways: dried slices that resemble flowers, a pink pineapple curd between the layers of the cake, and folding dehydrated pink pineapple pieces into a coconut macaroon with pecans for a crunchy component. The rest of the cake includes a cake made with pureed frozen bananas and regular pineapple, which makes for a super moist cake, a whipped cream cheese frosting, and a vanilla milk soak, just to keep the entire cake light and zingy as opposed to dense and rich. Overall, it was a fun experiment to make this cake, and I learned a lot of things along the way – pink pineapples do keep their color when dehydrated, but they will turn orange when heated at too high of a temperature – my chips were a flamingo pink, while the curd was on the order of pink and orange. That being said, it was a lot of fun to make and I will definitely be thinking of other things I could make with these pretty pink pineapples in the near future!

For the pineapple flowers:
1/2 a pink pineapple, peeled

Slice the pineapple as thinly as possible(aim for 1/16th an inch) – if you have a mandolin, I recommend using it for more precise cuts. Lay out the slices on a lined sheet tray and bake at 225 degrees F for 2 1/2 hours. The chips need to be completely dry to the touch when they are done.

For the pineapple curd:
1/2 a pink pineapple, peeled and cored
1 tbsp corn starch
2 tbsp agar agar
2 tbsp yuzu juice
1oz Yuzu Inspiration

Puree the pineapple with the other ingredients until completely smooth. Pour into a pot and heat up for at least 5 minutes on medium heat while whisking constantly. Pour into a container and allow it to firm up before using.

For the pecan-pineapple-coconut macaroons:
1 egg white
1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
2 pineapple flowers, core removed and cut into smaller pieces
1/4 cup crushed pecans
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
a pinch of salt

Mix to form your batter. Divide into 15 pieces and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes.

For the cake:
3 bananas, frozen solid for at least 1 day, peeled
8oz pineapple
2/3 cups canola oil
3 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tspn baking soda

In a blender, puree the bananas and pineapple until completely liquid and smooth. Fold into that the other ingredients to form your batter. Pour into a lined sheet tray and spread into an even layer. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes. Cool down the cake before attempting to use.

For the soak:
1/4 cup milk
1/4 tspn vanilla extract
a pinch of salt

Mix to form your soak.

For the cream cheese frosting:
8oz cream cheese
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
a pinch of salt

Whip cream cheese in a stand mixer first. Melt sugar, water, and salt in a pot on high heat. Once the sugar is fully dissolved, pour into the cream cheese and whisk on slow until combined.

For assembly:
Cut out three rounds with a 6-inch ring mold. Line the mold with acetate. Place the first round down, then pour in 1/3 of the soak, spread 1/3 of the frosting, add in 1/3 of the macaroons, chopped up, and 1/3 of your curd. Repeat for the second layer. For the third, start with the soak but then mix the frosting and curd together on top in a smooth and flat layer. Freeze for at least 2 hours. Unmold and garnish with cut up pieces of macaroons and the pineapple flowers to finish.

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