February 12, 2011

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

When was the last time you had or even thought about  a dessert like Pineapple Upside-down Cake?  My husband claims that it's his all time favorite dessert.  He is a throwback sort of fellow who gets real pleasure out of things from the long gone eras of wearing hats, Beaux Arts architecture, and dishes like Beef Wellington.  It is only fitting that a dessert like Pineapple Upside-down Cake would fall high on his list of favorites.  For him, a bite of the caramelized cake takes him back to a time in his childhood.  For me, it evokes memories of the covers of my mother's editions of Gourmet magazine that were always laying around the house I grew up in.  Old fashioned and classic American;  Pineapple Upside-down Cake is so good that it holds up to the test of time.

The classic cake was traditionally made with pineapple rings and Maraschino Cherries.  I made this one with pineapple slices arranged with tart dried cherries and added lemon zest to the cake.  All great classics deserve a little makeover from time to time to maintain their status.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Makes 1  9 inch cake

For all ingredients, please consider using those that are grown organically.

4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
2 eggs
1/2 pound cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 ounces light brown sugar
3 ounces unsalted butter, melted
1/3 whole pineapple, quartered, cored, and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1/3 cup tart dried cherries

Preheat the oven to 350 F. 

Beat the softened butter, sugar, and lemon zest until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating to fully incorporate before adding the next one. 

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, add them to the butter mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and incorporating thoroughly after each addition.  Add the vanilla.

Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of a 9 inch cake pan.  Combine the melted butter and brown sugar in the bottom of the prepared pan.  Mix it together until it looks muddy.  Arrange the pineapple slices in the sugar mixture in concentric circles, and fill in the spaces with the cherries.

Pour the prepared cake batter on top of the arranged pineapple.  Put into the preheated oven for about 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Be ready with a large (minimum 10 inch) serving plate or cake stand to invert the cake.  This must be done immediately when it is removed from the oven while the caramel is still soft.  Put the plate upside-down on top of the cake pan.  Use towels or pot holders in both hands to hold them together and invert.  Let it sit encased in the pan for another 30-60 seconds, and carefully remove the pan.  Since you have lined the bottom of the pan with parchment, it should come off in presentation worthy form.

Leave it at room temperature and serve as it is, with freshly whipped cream, and/or warm caramel sauce.

Categories: Cakes & Pies, Desserts, Dressings & Sauces, Fall & Winter

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