3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
250g butter, softened, cut into chunks
½ cup milk, plus ⅔ cup extra
1 cup canola or soya oil
2 teaspoons Heilala Vanilla Essence
3 eggs
1 cup frozen raspberries
freeze-dried raspberries, to decorate
2 cups frozen raspberries
½ cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pineapple, cubed (if the core isn’t soft, don’t use it)
3 tablespoons coconut sugar
90ml Bati Rum
2 teaspoons Heilala Vanilla Essence
420g Whittakers Blondie chocolate
200g cream cheese, room temperature
200g butter, softened

I love me a vanilla cake. This cake is made with fresh macerated pineapples that are soaked in Fiji Bati – Fijian rum, the dangerous stuff – with a wee bit of coconut sugar and Heilala Vanilla Essence. For our Kiwi audience, I bring in stewed raspberries and cream cheese icing. I love this cake because it’s not too sweet and the raspberries are tart; I tend to eat more than the standard portion.

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1.Heat the oven to 160°C fan bake. Grease two 20cm cake tins.
2.Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.
3.Turn the mixer onto the slowest speed. Slowly add the butter piece by piece until it is all added then mix until it looks like coarse sand.
4.Combine ½ cup milk with the oil, then add all at once to the bowl of the mixer and mix on medium.
5.After 2 minutes, scrape down the bowl. This is an important step – if you skip it, you will have hard lumps of flour and unmixed ingredients in your batter that will not mix in fully.
6.Combine ⅔ cup milk with the vanilla essence and eggs.
7.Slowly add the milk/egg mixture to the mixer, while mixing on low, stopping to scrape the bowl one more time halfway through. Mix until just combined. The batter should be thick and not too runny.
8.Gently fold in the raspberries, but don’t over mix.
9.Divide the batter between the cake tins, filling them three-quarters full.
10.Bake for 30 minutes, then check your cakes – they are done when a skewer comes out clean.
11.Remove the cakes from the oven and give them a tap on the countertop to release air and prevent too much shrinking.
12.Let them cool on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes then place the cooling rack on top of the cake, placing one hand on top of the cooling rack and one hand under the tin and flip the tin and the cooling rack over so the tin is now upside down on the cooling rack.
13.Remove the tin carefully. Repeat with the other tin.
15.Add the berries, brown sugar and cinnamon to a pan, bring to the boil then cook gently to a pulpy consistency.
17.Combine the pineapple, coconut sugar, rum and vanilla essence and let this stand for a couple of hours or overnight.
19.Melt the chocolate in a bowl in the microwave, in 30-second bursts, until the chocolate is runny, then set aside.
20.In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese until soft, then gradually add the butter a bit at a time.
21.Once the icing is light and fluffy, add the chocolate and mix until just combined.
23.Lay the cakes beside each other and divide raspberry compote between the two, spreading it evenly with a knife.
24.Put the buttercream into a piping bag and ensure it’s tightly packed.
25.Place the first cake onto a stand and pipe small dollops of buttercream in circular motion onto the top of the cake.
26.Top with 4 heaped spoons of macerated pineapple.
27.Set the other cake on top, with the raspberry compote facing up.
28.Pipe the remaining buttercream onto the cake and garnish with freeze-dried raspberries.
29.Serve with extra spoons of macerated pineapple.

Recipes & food styling Bertrand Jang / Photography Tony Nyberg