Sadie’s Beach Cake

An Upside-Down Pineapple Cake with Coconut Frosting and a Salted Pineapple Jam, inspired by the time spent in Pago Pago, American Samoa on Sea Shepherd CS’s Operation Zero Tolerance. Tamara's food journal:


Cake ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 medium can pineapple rings
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp coconut extract
  • 1/4 cup canola oil

Frosting and Toasted Coconut Topping ingredients

  • 3/4 stick of Copha (or unrefined coconut oil of your preference)
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp coconut extract
  • 3/4 cup desiccated coconut

Salted Pineapple Jam ingredients

  • 8-10 canned pineapple rings (medium sized can)
  • 2-3 tbsp water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp Nuttelex (or other non-dairy margarine of your choice)
  • 2-3 tsps salt, to taste


Cake method

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.

2. Sift and mix flour, sugar, salt, cornstarch, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium sized bowl.

3. Whisk pineapple juice, apple cider vinegar, extracts, and oil in a small bowl or jug, and add to the dry ingredients. Mix until smooth, but do not over mix.

4. Pour a small amount into a greased 8 or 9 inch cake tin, just enough to cover the base. Then place pineapple rings evenly over the base. Pour the rest of the cake mixture over the top and place in the oven to cook for 30 mins. As my oven is a bit unreliable, check yours after 20 mins and keep an eye on it – you want the top to be golden and for a cake skewer to go in and come out clean.

5. Once done, place aside to cool.

Frosting and Toasted Coconut Topping method

1. Make sure your copha is soft enough to beat, but not completely melted. Then simply use an electric beater to mix 2 cups of the powdered sugar into the copha and coconut oil, for 3-4 mins until soft and fluffy. As amounts depend on the texture of your copha, add more powdered sugar if necessary to reach desired consistency.

2. Place aside until cake is cool.

3. Add desiccated coconut to a small oven tray and toast until golden brown. Keep by the frosting for cake assembly.

Salted Pineapple Jam method

1. Blend pineapple rings with water until smooth. Add only 2 tsp of water at first, but you can put in another tsp if your blender isn’t strong enough to break down the pineapple without more liquid.

2. Carefully melt the Nuttelex in a small pot on the stove, over a low heat. Then add the pineapple blend, sugar, and 2 tsp salt. Adjust the heat to a medium setting and keep it simmering, stirring it often, until it reduces to a thick caramel like texture.

3. Taste for saltiness, I like a lot of salt so I usually add a bit more, and it is a nice contrast to the incredible sweetness of the rest of the dish.

Construction Time!

So now you should have a cake, frosting, toasted coconut, and a jam. This is where you can get as creative as you want with presentation! But here is how I do it, with no small amount of inspiration from my boss and friend Shannon Martinez, who is the absolute master of food presentation.

1. If cake is cool, carefully place a flat plate or cake stand bottom on top of it, and flip so that the bottom is now the top, and you have the lovely pineapple ring pattern showing.

2. Smother in coconut frosting – I like to make it pretty rough looking and fluffy rather than smoothed over.

3. When ready to serve, cut slices and place on small plates with a dollop of jam on top so it runs down the side, and another dollop on the plate, spread with the back of a spoon across the plate at an angle to the slice.

4. Dust with the toasted coconut and serve.

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