A few years back, my husband’s aunt came to visit from Taiwan and brought us some wonderful Pineapple Cakes from a famous bakery in Taipei. Apparently, people stand in long lines to buy these specific pineapple “cakes” (pineapple jam filled shortbread) – and after tasting them, I understand why! Not too long ago, I saw a box of Taiwanese Pineapple Cakes at the Asian Market. I was really excited to find them in the U.S. – but sadly, these pineapple cakes were grossly inferior to the Taipei bakery version. Here is my version of Taiwanese Pineapple Cake – a very close copy to the original bakery version (it makes about 20 individual cakes).
Update 9/8/2012: I recently returned from a trip to Taiwan. In Taipei, I
finally had a chance to visit the Nei Hu Bakery… home of the VERY BEST Pineapple Cake in all of Taiwan. Seriously, no other brand of pineapple cake I have ever tried has lived up to this gold standard. I think part of the reason why, is that their recipe is made with actual pineapple, while most of the other brands use winter melon as the “pineapple” ingredient – which in my opinion, is quite inferior.
And now, they have created many new flavors of pineapple cake… melon, strawberry, coffee, green tea, lotus, peanut, and pineapple with salty egg! My favorite remains the pure pineapple cake. But my husband is a big fan of the pineapple cake with salty egg, and the melon flavor.
While there, we had a chance to meet the owners of the Nei Hu Bakery (see photo to left). This bakery is family owned and operated, and the father and son are responsible for baking all of the pineapple cakes they sell, using their secret family recipe. I would post their address… but I can’t find an English version of the address! Here is their phone number in Taiwan (which is listed in English on the packaging and on their bag): TEL: 27992922.27988363
If you have a chance to visit Taipei… this bakery’s pineapple cakes are not to be missed!
Taiwanese Pineapple Cakes:
- Two 20 oz. cans sliced pineapple
- 3/4 c. sugar
- 1/4 c. brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp cornstarch + 1/2 tsp. water
- 1/2 c. unsalted butter
- 1/4 c. butter flavored shortening
- 1/2 c. powdered sugar
- 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
- 1 3/4 c. cake flour (about 300 grams or 10.6 oz. by weight)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 T. heavy cream
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
1. Make the filling: Drain the juice from the pineapple slices. Put the drained slices into a food processor and pulse until the texture of apple sauce.
2. Dump the pineapple into a sauce pan, add the sugar, brown sugar, and lemon juice. Cook for about 20 minutes on medium to medium high heat, until the mixture starts to get thick.
3. Combine the cornstarch and water, and add to the pineapple mixture. Cook another 5 minutes until very thick, and the mixture is a thick paste. Allow the filling to cool completely.
4. Make the dough. Cream the butter, shortening, and powdered sugar until light and fluffy (scraping down the sides of the bowl when needed).
5. Add the egg and egg yolk, and mix until thoroughly incorporated.
6. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt until just combined. Last, mix in the cream until you have a soft uniform dough. (The dough will be sticky.)
7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll the dough into a log and divide into about 20 pieces.
8. Portion out the cooled pineapple filling into about 20 balls.
9. Flatten each dough portion (either with the palms of your hands, or with a small rolling pin). Place one portion of pineapple filling into the center of each flattened dough circle, and fold the edges up.
10. Pinch off the edges, and flatten the filled ball. Use the flat edge of a knife to square the edges of the filled dough ball into a square.
11. Bake the squares for 10 minutes on a silicone lined baking sheet. Flip the cakes over, and continue baking another 12 minutes.
12. Cool, and serve at room temperature.