Posts Tagged ‘Pineapple Recipes’

Upside Down

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Here's our cake. Don't you love my sister's new cake plate(from Williams-Sonoma,

Yesterday was National Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Day.
I’m not a slave to food holidays. So many of them were created by commercial interests. (I can find no evidence that Mr. Dole invented this one, and yet I can’t help but wonder…….)
Nevertheless, pineapple upside-down cake has long been a favorite of mine.
It’s a dessert with many associations. The pineapple itself has long symbolized hospitality and elegance.
To me fresh pineapple is a magical fruit—a perfect blend of sweetness and acidity. I know the pineapple we get in the northeast can’t compare with its cousins in their native climes. Nevertheless, if left to ripen for a few days a fresh pineapple can give us Yankees the illusion of living in a tropical paradise.
I generally eat the fruit plain—but I’ve been known to put it in fruit salad or salsa.
Pineapple upside-down cake is a simple comfort food I remember with joy from my childhood.
Even made with canned pineapple it delights eaters. When I worked as a demo cook at Bloomingdale’s I kept canned pineapple on hand for days on which I was uninspired. A quick batch of upside-down cake made even the most fussy of customers happy.
The cake is even better when made with fresh pineapple. To tell you the truth, the flavor isn’t terribly different. By the time you bake fresh pineapple pieces they taste a lot like canned ones. Nevertheless, I love having more substantial chunks in the cake than one can achieve with canned pineapple.
I think it would taste even better with a little rum added along with the vanilla, but I couldn’t find rum in the house so I don’t know for sure.
If you’re interested in the history of pineapple upside-down cake, take a look at the Food Timeline’s copious notes on this item, which include vintage recipes.
If you’re interested in making your family happy, bake this cake!

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
for the upside-down topping:
1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup)
3/4 cup brown sugar (I used dark brown as that is what I had, but light brown might look prettier)
2 cups pineapple, cut into chunks
for the cake:
1/2 cup (1 stick) sweet butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 pinch salt
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
First make the topping (which goes on the bottom!).
Melt the butter in a skillet—a 9- or 10-inch cast-iron skillet, if possible. Stir in the brown sugar and cook, stirring, until it melts and bubbles—3 to 4 minutes.
If you’re using the cast-iron skillet you may continue with the recipe at this stage and cook the cake in the skillet. If not, transfer the brown-sugar mixture into a 9-inch round cake pan. Spread it through the bottom of the pan. Arrange the pineapple pieces on top as artistically as you can.
In a separate bowl cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the baking powder and salt.
Add the flour and milk alternately, beginning and ending with the flour. Stir in the vanilla.
Spoon the batter over the pineapple in the cake pan or skillet, and place the pan in the oven. Bake until the cake tests done (in about 40 minutes).
Let the cake stand for 10 minutes; then invert it onto a serving plate. You may need help with this if you use the cast-iron skillet as it feels a bit heavy during the inverting process.
This cake is best served slightly warm with or without a little whipped cream.
Serves 6 to 8.

Colonial Williamsburg created this lovely pineapple wreath.

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