Thursday, October 14, 2010

Classic Pineapple Upside Down Cake


I love Pineapple Upside Down Cake. It is comfort food. Buttery, moist and gooey with that little tang of citrus to keep it from being just too much. And it reminds me of being a kid. This was a potluck and barbecue staple in the 70's and just the sight of it brings me back to the first house I can remember and late summer evenings on the back porch.

I guess my husband must be the ultimate nostalgic because of all of the delicious and amazing cakes I have ever made for him, this is the one he requests every year for his birthday. And this is a huge generalization wrapped in an observation, but men in general love this cake. I once made it for a Silent Auction Fund-raiser at work for the Relay for Life and it raised $38. Thirty eight BUCKS for a nine inch cake? In 1991? The bidding was a war between four guys, all of whom wanted that cake BAD and NOW. The bidding only ended because the timer went off. If I had only known I would have made 3 more and charged them a flat rate for them.

I don't remember where I got the original recipe but I have had it for years. This cake is easy to throw together and bake in under an hour. Ideally you make it in a well seasoned iron frying pan, like I do. But if you don't have one, use a deep 9 inch cake pan. Even an 8 inch square cake pan will work. Fair warning - when you make the syrupy top, you will want to taste because it smells so buttery and toffee-like. And you burn the skin off of your tongue. But it will taste so good that when you pull the cake out of the oven and flip it onto the platter, you will scrape the pan to get every bit of it, and proceed to burn your tongue again.

I warned you.

Michele's Pineapple Upside Down Cake

350 degree oven

For Topping

1 can pineapple slices in their own juice, drained but reserve the juice for the batter

1 stick butter

1 cup brown sugar

Melt butter in a well-seasoned iron frying pan, add brown sugar and simmer for about a minute or two until it is bubbly and syrupy, stirring often. Taste. Burn tongue. If using a cake pan just cook the butter and brown sugar combination in a saucepan, then pour into the well greased cake pan.

Stick one slice of pineapple in the middle, and then circle it with the rest of the slices. Now you can add maraschino cherries if you like. I don't, so I added real cherries since they are in season and I had them. Set aside while you make batter.

For Batter

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 t. baking powder

1/2 t. salt

3/4 stick butter

1 c. white sugar

2 eggs

1 t. vanilla

1 T. rum (optional)

1/2 cup reserved pineapple juice.

Mix four, baking powder and salt in small bowl on the side. Beat butter in mixer until smooth, add sugar and beat until fluffy - 2-3 minutes on high. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Add vanilla and rum, mix to combine. Add half of the dry mixture, mix until just combined. Add pineapple juice and mix again until blended. Add remaining flour mixture and mix, again until just combined. Pour batter over pineapple mixture and spread lightly over pineapple.

Bake 45 minutes. Remove from over and run a knife around edge. Let sit for 10 minutes and then flip onto platter. Scrape delicioous carmel from pan and burn your tongue again.

Enjoy.

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