Pineapple Carrot Cake with Honey-Cinnamon Swiss Meringue Buttercream

March 17, 2014

Pineapple Carrot Cake with Honey-Cinnamon Swiss Meringue Buttercream | une gamine dans la cuisine

"We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix in the present. We are made of layers, cells, constellations." 

~ Ana├»s Nin 

I sometimes wish my far-fetched aspirations spoke softly, with the measured voice of sweet honey, and I wish reality drew upon me with the slow, smouldering warmth of languid cinnamon. More often than not I'm effectively thrust into a state of disorientation; holding an idiosyncratic compass that points its quivering arrow somewhere between hope and reluctance.

My heart, despite a boreal hibernation, is awake and irrevocably enthralled, beguiled...mesmerized. There are no blueprints for this *occurance.* But (isn't 'but' a precarious word!) there is a rivulet of prudent excitement that trickles through my veins. I find myself slowly opening the heavy doors of "what if..." again. The anxious gust of pent up air is quite exhilarating.

Hence the arbitrary desire to bake a persnickety layer cake. 

Pineapple Carrot Cake with Honey Swiss Meringue Buttercream | une gamine dans la cuisine

This cake is laced with diced pineapple that came straight from Hawaii! (I was house sitting for two weeks and my friends were kind enough to send over the ambrosial fruit. xo) The genteel cake will find regular pineapple just as charming, no worries.

If carrot cake makes your pupils dilate into throbbing cartoon hearts, this recipe will sweep the rug out from under you. It's lush, complex, sweet, and punched up, softy, with a kiss of cinnamon. Instead of treading water in the all too familiar terrain of cream cheese frosting, I took a detour through the intoxicating world of Swiss meringue buttercream. Once, a long time ago, I may have mentioned that I disliked the texture of Swiss meringue buttercream, but I think I'm starting to appreciate its silky smooth demeanor (especially when my beloved honey makes an appearance!).

Please don't be intimated by the sometimes-daunting process of making Swiss meringue. It's much easier than you may think. Promise.

Pineapple Carrot Cake with Honey-Cinnamon Swiss Meringue Buttercream | une gamine dans la cuisine

Pineapple Carrot Cake with Honey-Cinnamon Swiss Meringue Buttercream
makes one 8-inch double layer cake

for the cake
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/3 cup safflower oil
3 room temp. eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh pineapple, diced
1 pound carrots, peeled and grated

for the frosting
5 egg whites (room temperature)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, slightly softened and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/2 cup honey
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter two 8-inch cake pans (at least 1 1/2-inches deep). Line bottom of each pan with parchment paper, butter the parchment and coat with a light dusting of flour.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat sugar, oil, and eggs together until pale yellow in colour (about 5-7 minutes on med-high speed). Add vanilla and beat to combine.

In a separate large bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.

Add dry ingredients to the sugar mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. Using a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon, fold pineapple and carrots into batter till evenly dispersed.

Divide batter equally between two prepared pans. Bake 55-60 minutes, or until a thin tester inserted through the center of a cake comes out clean. Remove pans from oven and place onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before releasing from cake pans.

Once cooled, run a thin spatula around the edge of each pan (to help loosen the cakes). Flip pans over, remove parchment paper and set cakes aside until ready to use. {Note: Cakes can be made two days in advance. Wrap each one in plastic wrap and keep refrigerated until ready to use.}

Prepare the frosting: Fill a heavy pot with about 1/2-inch of water and bring to a simmer. Place the egg whites and sugar into a heat-proof bowl that's large enough to sit over the pot without touching the water. (Basically you're creating a double boiler.) Whisking constantly, bring the mixture to 160 F. on a candy thermometer (the sugar should be completely dissolved).

Pour the hot mixture into the bowl of a stand-mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat on medium speed for about 5 minutes, or until it begins to thicken. Increase the speed to med-high and beat for about 6-8 minutes, until glossy, stiff peaks form. By now the whites should have cooled off quite a bit, and the bowl should feel cool enough to touch. Add salt and almond extract - beat just long enough to combine. Turn the speed down to low and begin adding the butter, about 2 Tablespoons at a time. Beat well after each addition. The frosting may start to appear clumpy, especially towards the last bits of butter, but keep beating will smooth out eventually. Once all the butter has been added, beat on med-high for about 5-6 minutes or until frosting comes together again. If it's still too "clumpy," place the bowl in refrigerator for a few minutes - remove from fridge and continue beating.

Add honey and cinnamon and beat till well combined.

Assemble cake: Place on cake layer onto desired serving plate. Frost the entire surface - don't be shy with the frosting, you might even have some leftover! Carefully place second cake on top of frosted layer (make sure cakes are aligned). Frost top and sides, garnish with cinnamon, if desired.

cake adapted from Ina Garten


  1. Gorgeous cake! And that honey swiss meringue… I'm making the heart eyes emoji :).

  2. This cake turned out gorgeous! Plus that meringue buttercream sounds so flavorful. Delicious pairings!

  3. This cake is extraordinary, amazing! I love Anais nin,

  4. A delightful cake! The flavors are simply fabulous.



  5. Such a beautiful blog and a beautiful cake. The Honey-Swiss Meringue Buttercream is something I must make soon. Saved and pinned! I could spend hours reading through your site, can't wait for of your posts Valerie.

  6. This cake looks heavenly, Valerie. Just sensational.
    And I hope you write poetry, that you just haven't shared with us. Your writing is exquisite.

  7. Just lovely Valerie! I adore pineapple cakes!

  8. Oh Lawd, the title, alone, had my heart dancing... then I read the recipe and my heart skipped a beat. I love it!! The whole thing - especially SWISS MERINGUE! ♥

  9. My carrot cake has carrots and pineapple too..but far removed from your recipe..anxious to try this..
    Lovely as always..words and pics.

  10. Love that you put pineapple with this.. it just goes

  11. your poetry (which we should see more of) is kind of how I think of recipes: short, sweet and temptingly confusing. LOL (in a good way)

  12. This cake is absolutely gorgeous and sooo tempting !
    Great idea !

  13. your pineapple carrot cake is stunning! absolutely gorgeous - as is your writing and photography. love love love this post <3

  14. What a simply stunning cake! You continue to amaze us with your tasty delights! Happy Sunday!

  15. I love the idea of a frosting other than cream cheese. Can the cake be frosted the day ahead of serving, and how long will it keep? Does the buttercream need to be refrigerated?

    1. You can refrigerate the frosted cake; let it sit in the fridge until the frosting sets, then cover loosely with plastic wrap. I would let the cake come to room temperature (maybe 30 minutes, or so) before serving. :-)


Thanks for visiting, and for taking the time to read through my ramblings!
If you have a recipe comment or question, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Baking!
♥ Valerie


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