When you think of baking with pineapple, you might think of caramelized upside down cakes and of pairing it with coconut for a tropical treat. While these are delicious ways to enjoy pineapple, it might surprise you to know that this summertime favorite pairs just as well with the warm spices that we typically use in fall baking! This Cinnamon Swirl Pineapple Bread is an easy quick bread that blends sweet pineapple with a swirl of cinnamon and brown sugar in a very delicious tea cake that is perfect for an afternoon coffee break or weekend brunch.
The bread includes quite a bit of finely chopped pineapple. Breaking down a pineapple can be a daunting task, so take your time when cutting off the outer skin and removing the core of the fruit. Larger chunks of fruit won’t disperse as evenly, so be sure to very finely chop the fruit. A few extra minutes of prep time will be well worth it when you get a finished bread that is perfectly speckled with tiny bits of pineapple. I used fresh pineapple and recommend it for this recipe. That said, you can use canned pineapple (packed in juice, not syrup) if you drain the fruit well to remove any excess liquid. Canned pineapple should also be very finely chopped.
The batter is laced with vanilla, as well as with pineapple. After it is prepared, a portion of it is spooned into a greased loaf pan and a mixture of cinnamon and brown sugar is sprinkled over the top. More batter is spooned into the pan to cover the filling. Next, you’ll need to swirl a knife gently through the batter to create a swirl. Don’t over-swirl, or you’ll lose the distinct pattern in the finished cake. If you’re not sure how much to swirl, make one S shape with the knife on the left half of the pan and another S on the right (or top and bottom, depending on the orientation of your pan). A bit of the cinnamon mixture is reserved and sprinkled on top.
In the end, you’re left with a delicious quick bread that is loaded with flavor. Brown sugar pairs with the chopped pineapple to evoke the caramelized fruit in an upside down cake, while cinnamon contrasts well with its tropical sweetness. Store the leftovers in an airtight container, as they’ll keep for a couple of days after baking.
Cinnamon Swirl Pineapple Bread
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup very finely chopped pineapple
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375F. Line the bottom of a 9×5-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, egg and vegetable oil until well-combined. Stir in pineapple, vanilla and milk until completely incorporated. Stir in the flour mixture and mix until no streaks of dry ingredients remain visible. Set aside.
In a small bowl, stir together brown sugar and cinnamon. Set 1 tbsp of the mixture aside for topping.
Pour two thirds of the pineapple batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the cinnamon-brown sugar mixture (except for the portion you set aside) onto the batter. Spoon remaining batter on top of sugar layer, spreading it evenly. Run a knife through the batter in a swirling motion. Sprinkle reserved sugar mixture on top.
Bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean, or with only a few moist crumbs attached. Allow cake to cool in the pan before removing it or slicing.
Makes 1 loaf.