BBQ-ed pineapple upside down cake

Can you really cook a cake on a BBQ?
04 August 2020

Interview with 

Tristan Welch, Parker's Tavern; Eleanor Drinkwater; Jane Parker, Reading University


photo of chef Tristan Welch displaying a cake cooked on a BBQ


The proof of the pudding is in the eating, as they say....

Chris - Well, Tristan's got one of the cakes out. It's on a plate in front of us. Do you want to do the honours, Tristan? Are you going to cut us a slice?

Tristan - Yeah, absolutely. Here we are. So I've just decanted the cake out onto a plate. I've pulled the paper away. I'm just going to cut it in half now.

Chris - It just looks amazing. Oh, seeing it, Tristan's just cut it in half, and the pineapple on the top, the cherry turned beautifully gooey in the middle... a nice wasp buzzing round for you, Eleanor...

Eleanor - I was just trying to catch it, actually.

Chris - The rain has stopped, which is amazing. You can work wonders Tristan.

Tristan - You catch it, I'll cook it.

Chris - Right. Are we going to go for it? Let's have a fork each. Eleanor, have a...

Eleanor - Oh my goodness, this looks incredible.

Tristan - I'm just going to use my fingers.

Chris - I'm going to try and get a bit that's got some cherry and some pineapple. Oh, this is amazing. Katie, you don't know what you're missing.

Tristan - You've had your cake before you've had your sausages there.

Chris - Yeah, I haven't had the sausages yet. I'll have one of them in a minute. Jane, you're missing out big time. Sorry that you can't have any of this delicious cake.

Jane - Yeah, I know!

Chris - The pineapple on the top - on the bottom rather, but on the top when Tristan turned them over - is this beautiful texture, and the most amazing array of flavors that doesn't taste like pineapple does when it's just raw in a tin. Why has that happened?

Jane - Well it's a very clever idea making a pineapple upside-down pudding on the barbecue, because that aggressive heat you were talking about earlier really heats and caramelises that syrup that's on the bottom. And then the pineapple: when it's fresh, it has lots of esters and some sulphur compounds that make it a bit tropical, but once you start heating it, it caramelises as well because it's high in sugar. And you get a compound called furaneol, which has got a really candyfloss, toffee-type aroma. And that really gives your pineapple that gorgeous caramel toasty aroma, because it's been in contact with that high heat on the bottom.


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