The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

鳳梨酥 - Taiwanese Pineapple Cakes

PalwithnoovenP's picture

鳳梨酥 - Taiwanese Pineapple Cakes

Hello TFLers! I missed you all along with baking and posting here. I realized that teaching is also one of my passions and I want to teach formally so I decided to study again. Yes, I am studying now to have units in education to be able to take the licensure exam and hopefully pass it so I can teach in a local high school. What's better than having a "job" where you can combine two or more of your passions; I might just teach cooking or even baking.

Just a short post, I'm in the middle of test construction and I just really want to hear from you again.

These were baked in July for a friend. She is the one who informed me about the registration for those who want to continue studying to pursue education. We took the entrance exam and we fortunately passed. She celebrated her birthday last July so as a sign of gratitude and to celebrate her birthday and our friendship; I baked these cakes for her.

Pineapple cakes are one of the most popular Taiwanese pastries; it is almost imperative to bring a box back home if you've been to Taiwan. Though called cakes, they are more akin to a tart or a cookie. What they are is a tangy pineapple filling wrapped in a crumbly shortbread-like crust. Their baking process is also unique; although baked in the oven, each cake is flipped halfway through the bake which I think is perfect to replicate in my clay pot to get even browning and crispness.

May to July is the best time here for pineapples. They're firm and crispy, juicy and sweet and tangy. We luckily found some freshly harvested excellent quality ones in a roadside stall near our house. We immediately bought nine! They come around at $2.00 for three pieces, so cheap! What's not to love?

What better way to make the pineapple filling than with 100% fresh pineapple. Canned pineapple will also work if pineapple is not in season but as I said I have the best thing in my hands. I want a filling with some texture so I approximated the size of canned crushed pineapple instead of blending it into a complete smooth puree like some recipes do. I went old school here, instead of chopping into segments and dicing it; I held the pineapple by its "stem" and made vertical cuts around, then a series of perpendicular cuts then finally, shaved the cuts with a downward slicing motion; what you will be left with is the core.It's much easier and faster but this is a messy job because the pineapples were so juicy! You have to put a container underneath your hands to catch every bit of flesh and juice. 

This is the core of the pineapple. A very nice crispy and fibrous snack to munch on. Doesn't it look like a Popsicle or an Ice lolly?

Et voilà ! Home-crushed pineapple! To make the filling, I sweetened it to my liking and added a few squeezes of lime juice. This was slowly reduced until very thick  and firm that it can hold its shape.

The dough is like a shortbread. The only difference is the addition of the egg and milk powder perhaps for more liquid to accommodate an added dry ingredient. Believe me, the dough smells like ice cream! I think it's a little too crumbly and dry due to lack of accurate measurements.

Here is the cooled pineapple jam/filling divided into six balls. It looks very different from the fresh pineapple. It has a very intense pineapple flavour; 2/3 of each ball would have been a better ratio for the cakes to taste perfect.

The dough was divided into six balls as well and each was filled with one pineapple ball. it was a little difficult to seal because the dough kept cracking because it's a little dry but I still managed to seal them. They were the pressed into my mini llaneras just like real pineapple cakes getting pressed into their square molds. The pineapple filling was so dark, you can see it through the dough.


They were baked in my clay pot for 15 minutes, flipped then baked again for 10 minutes with live fire for the whole baking time. Due to the uneven heat of the pot some of them were pale but the golden brown ones have the prefect hue. If you are wondering why there are only five of them in the "baked" photo, that is because there is a swift pair of hands that grabbed one immediately after they came out of the pot.

The rich, crisp, crumbly, buttery, milky shortbread was complemented really well by the equally rich but bright, sweet and tangy fragrant pineapple filling. A really delicious special treat fit for a special person in my life. I wrapped three of them beautifully; each in parchment paper along with a ribbon and a note for my friend. No photos because I did that right before going to school. She really loved them and it's a special feeling when you cheer someone up through your little efforts. Food really touches lives and it's great too that we both love to eat.

See you all next time. I still need to finish my test! :)


Floydm's picture

Wow those are fantastic. Thank you for sharing all the pictures.

PalwithnoovenP's picture

Glad you like them and the journey through the pictures. By the way I'm preparing for level 5, I think I will not pass because I'm focused on my studies now and don't have extra time but I will still try though. :)

leslieruf's picture

I love pineapples - I will have to try this.

good luck with your studies, and it is great to see a post from you again.

Happy baking


PalwithnoovenP's picture

Mine was based more or less on this recipe. You'll learn many tips and tricks as well for successful pineapple cakes. Thank you for your kind words.

isand66's picture

Great to see a post from you again.  It's wonderful  that you are continuing your education And following your dreams.  Looks like yiu haven't missed a beat with your Baking either.




PalwithnoovenP's picture

Wish to post more often and I'm Loving this path to my dreams.

dabrownman's picture

I love pineapple but the girls do not.  I like to get it really ripe.  I think folks eat Pineapple before it is really ripe / Like Americans eat Brie way too early and before any Frenchman would even touch it.  I put them on the counter until there is no green anywhere to be seen and the whole kitchen smells like a pineapple.  I love your post and I can see where the brown pones would be better.  Shortbread and anything is perfect for any Scotsman so it has to be good for anyone else.  Your treats look divine Job.

So tell your uncle about this 'Friend' of yours. Is this the same girl you have been seeing of awhile from a post not long ago.  She was very pretty if I remember correctly.  You sound fairly enamored which is good thing if she likes food as much as we do.  I'm glad you are thinking about teaching.  Generosity is the most precious but difficult character attribute to have and hold dear.  Teachers have to generous with what they know or they would not give it away to those that need it most.  I am happy for you.

Happy baking Job.  I wasn't worried about you because I was gone for a few months too:-)

PalwithnoovenP's picture

This "friend" is from college. We came from a group of 5 in college (and she is happily in love back then and until now) but only the two of us wanted to teach so we're studying together now so I think we're the closest. The one you're talking about is from high school. We're miles away and we seldom talk because she is following her dreams for her super job fit for her super smarts. 

A yellow pineapple has never made it to our kitchen. My dad says they are best while they're still green. Perhaps it's worth trying to see if i will like it better.:) Shortbread with anything is always delicious.

Wishing for the best for your weight loss journey and for your daughter's wedding.

Thanks and happy baking!

IceDemeter's picture

has returned - and with another unique and oh-so-tempting bake to show off.

So good to see you posting, since I always learn something when I go researching just what this stuff IS that you bake so well!  Kudos on continuing your education, and on your generosity in wanting to share the wealth of your knowledge.  I have no doubt that you will be a great teacher.

Please keep dropping in when you can (and let us know how things are going with your friend, too)

PalwithnoovenP's picture

that someone learns something from me even just a little. I will try to drop by more often. Thanks!

bottleny's picture

I like Taiwanese pineapple pastry. Some of them use real pineapple filling, and some of them don't.
I prefer sweet and sour flavor of real pineapple fillings. Your pineapple pastry looks delicious.

Good luck for your goal and hope to see you here from time to time.

PalwithnoovenP's picture

I heard "pineapple" cakes made with winter melon. I don't know how they make that or how it will taste. I think using 100% real pineapple is way easier and tastier. Thank you!

Danni3ll3's picture

made me smile. Je suis si contente que tu sois de retour. And with a delicious recipe to boot! 

It sounds like you are going to enjoy teaching and if you are able to combine baking with it, you will have the best of both worlds. I know that you will be an amazing teacher!

hyojongyi's picture

Wow, it looks so delicious and great. Baking pans are so unique and cute.

You will be a great teacher. Cheer up!

Elsie_iu's picture

I absolutely love Taiwanese Pineapple cake but my mom is addicted to it! It's dangerous as we can easily bought some home here in Hong Kong but they are too fatty to be consumed on a regular basis!