A sure-bet pound cake recipe should be used regularly. In our Test Kitchen's version, we took a turn toward the tropics by buzzing homemade candied pineapple and loads of lime zest into the cake base, made with melted butter for extra ease and speed. We also added lightly toasted and finely ground cashews for richness and a tender crumb. Ginger-infused pineapple syrup drizzled over the surface seals in moisture for days-long storage. Pound for pound, this cake has your back.
Candied Pineapple and Cashew-Lime Pound Cake
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: One 5-by-9-inch pound cake
Cook Time: 1 hour 40 minutes (plus cooling)
2 cups granulated sugar, divided
½ cup water
1½ cups finely chopped fresh pineapple (about ½ medium pineapple)
4-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled (use the edge of a teaspoon to scrape off the skin) and finely chopped
1 cup raw cashews
2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted, plus 1 tablespoon at room temperature
1¼ cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
Zest and juice of 3 medium limes
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat, add 1 cup of sugar and the water and bring to a simmer. Add the chopped pineapple and cook until the pineapple is translucent around the edges, about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and use a slotted spoon to transfer the pineapple pieces to a medium bowl. Add the chopped ginger to the hot syrup, return to a simmer, cook for 2 minutes, turn off the heat and set aside.
2. Add the cashews to a rimmed baking sheet and cook until golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a large plate to cool.
3. Grease a 5-by-9-inch loaf pan with the 1 tablespoon of room-temperature butter. Add 1 tablespoon of flour and tap the pan to evenly coat the bottom and sides. In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 1¼ cups flour, the baking powder and salt.
4. To the bowl of a food processor, add the remaining 1 cup sugar and the cooled cashews and process until the mixture is very fine, about 15 seconds. Add the lime zest and pulse the mixture until it is fragrant, about ten 1-second pulses. Add the lime juice, eggs and vanilla and process to combine. With the food processor running, add the melted butter, processing until incorporated. Add the candied pineapple and pulse 4 times to incorporate. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and add the dry ingredients, using a whisk to gently stir the batter together. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the mixture into the prepared loaf pan.
5. Bake the cake for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 325°. Continue to bake until the center of the cake resists light pressure and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes more. Remove the cake from the oven. Return the ginger syrup to a bare simmer over medium heat, then strain the syrup into a fine-mesh sieve set over a medium bowl. Discard the ginger (or save and eat like candy).
6. Run a paring knife around the edges of the pan to release the pound cake. Turn the cake out onto a wire rack. Use a pastry brush to coat the top of the cake with the ginger syrup. Cool completely before slicing and serving.
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