I was looking at the schedule for which class I would visit next at Grace-Marie’s Kitchen and Wicky-Wacky Luau just jumped off the page. I knew there would be really interesting recipes and as I have never been to Hawaii, undoubtedly dishes I had never tasted before. Grace-Marie always has intriguing and new ingredients for me to learn about, so I was off to Bristol Farms in Manhattan Beach for a great time of food and photography. Mouthwatering anticipation, actually.
As I walked into the classroom, I was greeted by the aroma of something wonderful roasting in the oven. I looked at my recipe packet and discovered what it was: Kalua Smokey Pork Roast, which at that very moment was wrapped up in banana leaves and cooking in a guava preserve and soy sauce mixture topped with star anise pods. Well, I knew I had picked the right class to attend. The menu also included Hawaiian-Style Guacamole, Luau Papaya Salad, Wicky-Wacky Rice, and Hawaiian Custard Cake with Pineapple Caramel Sauce.
I decided to write about the Hawaiian Custard Cake first, because this cake was like nothing I had ever eaten before. It is made with rice flour, which gives it a somewhat chewy texture, and with the addition of sugar, eggs, half & half, coconut milk, vanilla and melted butter, a wonderful sweet flavor. Of course, then Grace-Marie had to go top it with pineapple cooked in caramel sauce and cream cheese whipped cream, which made the whole dessert absolutely astonishing. The kind where you have to shut your eyes while you eat it, so as not to be distracted from what your taste buds are experiencing. You know what I mean.
Grace-Marie used a fresh pineapple for her sauce and you can see how it is bubbling away in the brown sugar and butter. I love caramel sauce in any guise, but with the added flavor of pineapple, it is taken to a whole new level of wonderfulness. The melted butter is whisked into the cake batter just before being baked to a golden brown.
The cooled cake was cut into squares, to be served in small bowls. You could also cut it into diamonds for a pretty presentation. I could hardly wait to see how this tasted.
Here are the cakes with pineapple and caramel sauce, topped with cream cheese whipped cream, ready to be served to the friends who came to class. The jaunty little mint sprigs on top make this a feast for the eyes before you even take the first bite. Oh, so delicious!
For additional recipes from Grace-Marie’s Kitchen, look under Categories in the right-hand column.
Hawaiian Custard Cake with Pineapple Caramel Sauce
from Grace-Marie’s Kitchen at Bristol Farms
3 ½ cups rice flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
6 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups half & half cream
1 15-16 oz can coconut milk, shake before opening
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
8 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9×13-inch casserole with cooking spray.
2. Using a large bowl, whisk rice flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to blend well.
3. In separate bowl, whisk eggs, cream, coconut milk and vanilla extract. Slowly add to dry ingredients with a whisk. Completely blend two mixtures until no lumps appear.
4. Slowly drizzle in cooled butter while gently whisking mixture until it has all been incorporated. Pour batter into prepared casserole.
5. Bake until golden brown and set in the center (45 minutes). Cool to room temperature.
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
4 cups fresh pineapple, peeled, cored then diced small
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Warm butter, brown sugar and salt in large skillet over medium heat until sizzling.
2. Add diced pineapple and cook over moderate flame until soft and mixture thickens a bit (10-15 minutes). Turn off heat and stir in vanilla. Cool to room temperature.
To Garnish: Freshly whipped cream (or Grace-Marie’s Cream Cheese Whipped Cream, recipe below) and mint sprigs
1. Cut cake into squares (or diamonds), arrange onto individual dessert plates, garnishing with pineapple sauce, whipped cream and mint sprig.
Grace-Marie’s Cream Cheese Whipped Cream
8 ounces cream cheese (not nonfat), room temperature
1 pint heavy cream or whipping cream, icy cold
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or any other extract that you choose)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup powdered sugar (or less, to taste)
1. Using electric mixer with whisk attachment, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy.
2. Reduce mixer speed down to low and drizzle in cream and vanilla.
3. Add salt.
4. Slowly increase mixer speed to highest setting and beat until very think, but not stiff.
5. Turn off mixer and add powdered sugar. Again slowly increase speed to highest setting and beat until whipped.
A. You may be inclined to skip these steps and add everything in the mixing bowl at one time. MISTAKE! It never blends/whips as well if you take this shortcut.
B. Chilling the mixing bowl and whisk attachment helps the whipping process.
C. Also, try sweetening the cream with other ingredients such as light brown sugar or even a marmalade or preserve. (If you add one of these “liquid” ingredients be careful as they can loosen up your cream much too much!