I tend to think of pineapple upside down cake as a pretty kitschy dish. My mom used to make it with a Betty Crocker cake mix, a can of pineapple rings and some maraschino cherries taken from a giant plastic container in the baking cupboard. Still, it is a pleasant childhood food memory. So last week, when the pineapple on our countertop started to emit the sweet odour of the tail-end of ripe, I got to thinking about pineapple upside down cake. And then I got to baking.
It wasn’t much of a surprise that fresh pineapple made a huge difference in flavour. I chose to omit the maraschino cherries and to dice the pineapple, mostly because I’m lazy, but the cake would be excellent with the traditional layout as well.
This is excellent served with a dollop of heavy cream.
- 5 tablespoons melted butter
- 2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
- 3 cups fresh pineapple, cut into small cubes or dice
- 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
- 2/3 cup white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup pineapple juice or milk
- Heat the oven to 175°C (350°F).
- Line a 9” round cake pan or springform pan with parchment paper cut to size. Spray the parchment with a little cooking spray.
- Mix the melted butter with the brown sugar and spread evenly in the bottom of the cake pan. Set aside.
- Blot the pineapple chunks dry with several layers of paper towel, pressing gently to remove excess juice.
- For the batter: cream the butter and sugar until really fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla and beat until fluffy again.
- Sift the flour, baking powder,cinnamon and salt into a bowl. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three parts, alternately with the pineapple juice or milk, starting and ending with the flour. Set aside.
- Nestle the pineapple down into the brown sugar mixture in the cake pan, arrange in as pretty a fashion as possible as this will be the top of the cake. Pour the cake batter over the top and spread out gently.
- Bake for 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and set the cake pan on a cooling rack to cool (you don’t want to flip it out of the pan until it has had time to set). After 15 minutes or so, run a thin knife around the edge of the cake and invert onto a serving plate. Serve cake warm or at room temperature with a dollop of heavy cream or ice cream.