Caramelized Pineapple Pudding Cake

Hello everyone. This post is going to be down and dirty; I've been really busy this past week. I am not complaining, am I just using it as an excuse.

This week's cakes were the Caramelized Pineapple Pudding Cakes--six little ramekins of brioche bread pudding married to a pineapple upside down cake. Very clever little marriage, that, and pretty damn delicious too. However, I couldn't be bothered to make six stupid little cakes, so I made one 8-inch smart cake.

caramelized pineapple pudding cake

October 4, 2010
Name of Cake: Pineapple Bread Pudding
Occasion: HCB
Constituents: brioche bread pudding topped with roasted pineapple and a layer of caramel served with more caramel and creme anglaise on the side

I have to say that I wasn't very excited about this cake all week long. It just seemed too fiddly and not very appetizing. I mostly like my pineapple raw.  I hemmed and hawed during the non-busy beginning of the week about making the brioche. I was looking forward to baking a brioche for the first time, but also nervous. Then I got really busy and didn't have time to bake the brioche, so I bought some. I am simultaneously relieved and bummed. I will try it someday, dangit!

I also misread the recipe so Sunday night when I got started, I didn't factor in the part about soaking the brioche in the creme anglaise for at least two hours. That would have meant making the caramels and roasting the pineapple after midnight, so I left the brioche soaking in the fridge overnight.

Also, creme anglaise is SO easy to make, and I was SO worried it would be difficult.

I woke up this morning determined to have it finished and tasted before I had to leave at noon. It was 8:30--I had plenty of time!

Not really.

Firstly, I decided to go with the 8 inch cake pan instead of the 9 in deep dish pie plate or the 6 inch cake pan. In hindsight the 6 inch pan would have yielded more bread pudding and less pineapple per bite, so I am glad I went with the 8 inch pan, even though the bread cubes were pretty much only layer thick. I was hoping for two layers like in the book's photos. Still, I am glad there is more pineapple to go around, and my little clump I just tried was plenty bread puddinged enough.

Then I made the caramel that goes in the bottom of the pan. Sunday's HCB postings all complained that the caramel didn't melt or release from the cups so I sprayed the cake pan really thoroughly. The caramel is supposed to bake until 310° and be at the light amber stage--which at 310° barely looked light amber--before adding some butter and pouring into the pan. After pouring the resulting caramel into the pan it looked almost white, crystallized on the spot and looked like an ugly white blob. I put the blob in a skillet and re-melted it, also causing the caramel to darken to a nice medium amber and possibly browning the butter as well. Plus, it behaved nicely when I poured it into the cake pan.

caramelized pineapple pudding cake
There's the caramel, in the cake pan in the center of the photo.  So pretty!

Next up, roasting the pineapple. In the above photo, the pineapple is already roasted and cooling down on the cutting board. The skillet in the far left is the remaining caramel sauce from the pineapple roasting. At first, I thought the whole roasting pineapple hoohah was just a gimmick but then I realized that it was necessary since this was an upside-down bread pudding and not an upside-down butter cake in a cast iron skillet. The bread pudding needed to be baked gently in a waterbath, which would never get the pineapple all caramelized and delicious, so here we were doing it beforehand. This morning I was all grumpy about all these extra steps but upon tasting the final dessert I am on board.

After the pineapple is roasted and cooled it was sliced up and placed in the bottom of the pan.

caramelized pineapple pudding cake

The soaked brioche cubes are gently smooshed on top of the pineapples. The leftover creme anglaise, which should be 1/2 cup but in my case was more like 1/3, is heated on the stove until it thickens and set aside for serving. The aforementioned water bath is assembled and the cake is baked for 30 minutes or until 160°.

I am SO GLAD Rose mentions the temp of the final product, because after 30 minutes my cake was nowhere near the proper temperature. I let it go for another 20 minutes when I was about ten deg away from being done, but had to leave. I left it in the oven (that I had turned off) hoping that would help finish baking the cake before it cooled down. I was pretty grumpy about this cake by this point.

Five hours later I came home and without checking the pudding set the oven to 350° and waited until the cake was 160°. At that point, the cake looked set, and there was a little caramel bubbling up through the center, which made me hopeful the caramel disc had 1. melted and 2. would release from the pan.

Which it did, except for the one little blurb of stuck bread you can see in the photo at the top of this post. There was maybe about 15% hard caramel stuck in the pan. Not too bad, considering.

I served myself a little blob from that one spot, drizzled a little of the pineapple caramel and creme anglaise on my plate, and dug in.

caramelized pineapple pudding cake

It was really good. There's something so warming and satisfying about a good bread pudding, and topped with caramelly roasted pineapple was delicious. There's enough custardy bread and chewy fruit for each bite. I do agree with the HCBs who said the dessert was sweeter than a normal Rose dessert. I will let it pass, however, as this is damn delicious. Before I ate it I didn't think I would ever make this again, but now, I think this would be a wonderful break from pie during the holidays.

caramelized pineapple pudding cake

caramelized pineapple pudding cake


  1. I think I may have to start waiting until everyone post so I know the scoop of those pesky recipes. I would have done what you did with the caramel.

    It looks beautiful! Love how your pineapples are all nice and caramelized.

  2. i agree with Monica..your pineapples are all so nice and caramelized! beautiful! Great idea to just bake them all in one pan instead of 6 small ones!

  3. Congratulations on ending up with real caramel--what do you think your secret was? I didn't take the temperature of the cake before I took it out of the oven. I think that was very clever of you.
    If you can figure out how to do this pudding cake, you can make brioche.

  4. Looks lovely! The second heating of the caramel must have gotten it out of the hard crack stage. I like the round pan. I'm definitely using this as my go to bread pudding recipe. I keep envisioning all sorts of roasted fruits to pair with it.

  5. Everyone, I am wondering if the recipe left out instructions to cook the caramel further after adding the butter, since mine seems (so far) to be the only caramel that worked out...

    Monica, thanks! I loved your post, btw. It sounds like you were just as frustrated as I was.

    faithy, thanks!

    BBC, I am glad I did take the temp, as otherwise I would have had unbaked cake. I really wanted to try the brioche, I was just gunshy, and then it became too late. I will try it, I promise!

    Viki, this is a lovely bread pudding recipe. I think it would pair nicely with a whiskey/toffee sauce.

  6. I'm so glad I just read your post! I made the brioche, but I was considering ditching the custards b/c no one seemed to like them so much. Also, I don't have 6 small cups! However, I'm going to make one just like yours today :) Thanks!

  7. Sarah, good luck! I hope it turns out, caramel and all. Can't wait to see your post.

  8. Fancy! I like a good bread pudding. This seems like a fancier version of the original.

  9. Beautiful cake, congratulations!

    I'm going to venture a guess that the reason your caramel didn't stick was because it had more time to dissolve, having been left in the pan for five hours while you were out.

    I wonder if this dessert works better with the optional directions to leave the puddings in the ramekins, and re-heat for half an hour in the oven before unmolding. The extra time (about double) in the oven should allow the caramel to dissolve in the liquid available from the pineapple.

  10. It looks dreamy. Caramel briochey pineapple. mmmmMM If that was on the dessert menu, I'd order it.
    I wonder if I will ever make it though? It would be a good for a dinner party to try out.

    You need to make your own brioche, Jennifer. It's just a cake with yeast. And you are the evil cake lady who can.

  11. Julie, yeah, either the re-heating did the trick or putting the caramel back on the stove after adding the butter.

    thanks, Melinda,! I really did want to make the brioche. Maybe if I am feeling industrious this weekend. I really did like this dessert. Brioche bread pudding and caramelized pineapple are a brilliant combination. Good for winter!


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