This cake is a wonderfully moist butter cake on it’s own but, with the addition of rich, caramelized pineapple, toasty brown shards of coconut and crunchy bits of macadamia nuts, it is makes for an exotic dessert. The cardamom in the cake gives it a fragrant hint of citrus that is the perfect match for the pineapple. And, the best part … you can prepare all the elements of this recipe in advance, up to a couple of days, and just warm up the pineapple just before serving.
Slice each pineapple quarter lengthwise into 4 long strips and cut each strip crosswise into chunks. In a saute pan large enough to hold the pineapple in one layer, melt the butter over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the sugar and stir to mix. Stir in the pineapple and the pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, until the sugar has completely melted and the pineapple is just tender, about 10 minutes. Pineapple is best served warm but can be made ahead and gently reheated just before serving.
Beat the cream together with the sugar until it just holds soft peaks. Place a slice of cake on each serving plate. Arrange some of the pineapple chunks spilling over the side of the cake, onto the plate. Top with a spoonful of whipped cream and sprinkle with some coconut and macadamia nuts.
Note: To toast the coconut, place it in one layer on a baking sheet. Toast in a 350 degree oven just until lightly browned, stirring once or twice, about 10 minutes. Watch coconut very carefully as it will burn.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter the inside of a tube pan and lightly coat with flour, tapping out any excess.
Place the butter, sugar and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on high speed until the mixture is well blended and creamy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and continue to mix until the mixture is very light and smooth, about 4 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, cardamom and lemon zest.
Sift together the flours and baking powder. Add half the flour mixture into the rest of the cake batter and blend at a medium speed. Add half the buttermilk and blend at medium speed. Repeat with half the flour then half of the buttermilk, mixing gently until the batter is smooth and soft.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and cook for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a small knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan then turn it out onto a rack.