Janny de Moor Janny de Moor

Puerto Rican Pineapple Cake


Baking tool:

  • round cake tin,
  • diameter underside 25 cm,
  • top 26 cm, rim 4 cm


On the bottom of the tin:

  • 40 g butter
  • 80 g light brown sugar
  • 7-10 pineapple slices (fresh or canned)
  • 2 tablespoons Maraschino cherries


  • 225 g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 75 g soft butter
  • 150 g caster sugar
  • seeds from 1 vanilla pod*
  • 2 eggs, large
  • 50 ml rum
  • 50 ml pineapple juice

This Bizcocho de Piña is a typical example of the cozina criolla, the creole cuisine, that developed from the traditions of the Taino Indians and later on also Africans in the 500 years after the arrival of  the Spaniards. It is made from ingredients that determine the character of the free state Puerto Rico. Pineapple, endemic in Brazil and Paraguay, had been spread by Indians over the whole of South and Central America long before the European invasion. They put pineapples over the entrance of their houses as a token of  hospitality, later on imitated in clay by Spain and England. The Dutch name ananas is a loan from the language of  the Tupi Indians. Anana means: exellent fruit.

Besides pineapple the island exports also a lot of vanilla, original Mexican and called

tlilxochitl ‘black flower’ by the Aztecs. Too difficult for Spaniards so they turned it into vainilla, small pod. The sugar plantations, laid out by them, were the birthplace of the rum that flavours this cake.

  • Put butter and light brown sugar in a small pan and stir into a sauce over a low flame. Spread with a fork onto the bottom of the tin. Pat dry the pinapple slices and divide them upon the sugar sauce. Fill open spots with drained Maraschino cherries and the rest of the slices in pieces.
  • Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F/gas 4.
  • Sift flour, baking powder and salt. Put butter, sugar and vanilla in a bowl and beat with a mixer until light and creamy. Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Continue until the mass looks like a thick custard.
  • Using a large metal spoon gently fold in the sieved flour gradually, alternated by spashes of rum and pineapple juice. Carefully spread this batter upon the pineapple slices.
  • Bake about 45 minutes on the lowest shelf of the oven.
  • Leave in the tin for 10 minutes, then unmold onto a dish. Tastes best warm or luke warm.

* To be able to scrape the seeds from a vanilla pod it should be soft. When it is dried out cook it in some water over a low flame for 5 minutes. Store emptied pods in sugar for a real vanilla sugar.

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