Subscribe and choose a new cookbook
The perfect Christmas gift for you or a loved one
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Tip the pineapple onto a non-stick baking tray and roast for 20 mins – this concentrates the flavour. Leave the pineapple to cool before roughly chopping into smaller chunks.
Melt the chocolate in a microwave or in a saucepan set over simmering water, then tip onto a piece of baking parchment and spread it out in a thick layer. Leave to set.
Butter a 20 x 30cm baking tin and line with baking parchment. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy. Add the five spice, milk and rum, and mix together. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding the flour in three batches between the eggs, and fold in the pineapple. Scrape the cake mixture into the baking tin and bake for 20 mins, or until just cooked through and lightly browned. Leave in the tin for 10 mins, then lift out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Cut the cake in half widthways. Beat the butter for the icing until soft, then stir in the icing sugar, followed by the lime juice. You should end up with a soft, spreadable buttercream. Add a little more icing sugar if it’s too soft.
For the meringue, put the sugar, 65ml water and the glucose in a heavy pan on a medium heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil, and use a sugar thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature. Put the egg whites in a stand mixer and whisk over a medium speed. When the temperature of the syrup reaches 118C, steadily pour it in a thin stream into the stiff egg whites, and continue whisking until completely cold. Scoop the meringue into a piping bag fitted with a plain round nozzle. Can be made up to three days in advance and kept in the fridge.
Put one half of the cake on a flat ovenproof serving plate or baking sheet. Spread a little of the icing over the cake and sandwich the other half on top. Now, imagine you are looking down onto a pineapple that is lying down and cut each corner off the cake to make it look like a barrel – a bread knife works best here. Trim off the sharp top edges to round the top, then coat the cake with a thin layer of the remaining icing
Pipe dots of meringue all over the cake so it looks like a pineapple. Brown the meringue with a blowtorch or put it in an oven, turned up as high as it will go, and keep an eye on it until it starts to brown. Cool completely. Cut the cooled chocolate into shards about 5-10cm long, and push them into one end of the cake so they look like pineapple leaves.