Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line the base of a 20-23cm ring tin.
Put the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix together lightly. In a separate bowl lightly mix together the egg, pineapple, mashed banana, vanilla essence and oil.
Add the chopped pecans to the dry ingredients, then stir in the wet ingredients. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until cake springs back when gently pressed. Cool cake in the tin for 10-15 minutes before removing.
While cake is cooking, prepare the maple cream cheese icing. Put brown sugar and water in a small saucepan. Heat gently, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then add vanilla and bring to the boil. Boil for 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat and leave to cool. You should have a caramel-coloured syrup. Beat the cream cheese until soft, add 1 Tbsp of the maple-flavoured syrup and beat well. Add icing sugar in large spoonfuls, beating well after each addition. When you have added three-quarters of the icing sugar, add another tablespoon of syrup followed by the remaining icing sugar.
Spread icing over the cake, decorate with pecan halves, if using, and drizzle with remaining syrup. There is plenty of icing, so if you prefer a layered cake you can split it and use one-third of the icing between the layers.
Tropical fruit, pecans and rich maple-flavoured cream cheese icing are the winning combinations in this easy cake. If you are making it with wheat flour you could use a regular round cake tin; the gluten-free version needs to be cooked in a ring tin.
Use ¾ cup glutinous rice flour, ¾ cup tapioca flour and ¾ cup buckwheat flour in place of the regular flour. Add 1 tsp xanthan or guar gum to the dry ingredients and increase the vanilla essence in the batter to 1½ tsp. Bake in a lined ring tin. ensure icing sugar is gluten-free.
Article from the May, 2012 issue of Taste magazine.