Friday, July 29, 2011

Not Your Granny's Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Unless your granny likes a kick of rum and cardamom.  Seriously, it was cardamom craziness.

Does your granny use fresh pineapple?  Okay, I'll stop talking about your granny.  Because maybe she makes an out-of-this-world pineapple upside-down cake.

I'm fairly certain I've never had pineapple upside-down cake before this one.  Who knows why?  I love pineapple, and I love cake.  The best thing about this cake was definitely the fresh pineapple because we'd let one get really ripe on our counter.  After my mom cut it up I taste tested a piece.  For good measure of course.  Gaw, it was sweet and pineapple-y and yum.

Wanna know how to cut up a whole pineapple?

Take off the top and bottom first so it has a flat bottom.  Then cut the sides, following the curve of the fruit.  Trim off any weird parts you wouldn't want to eat and cut slices off of the core.

For the topping, you'll need half of a medium pineapple, brown sugar, and buttah.

The cake part requires all-purpose flour, butter (of course), two eggs, vanilla, unsweetened pineapple juice (because we're adding our own sugar), salt, baking powder, and cardamom.  And sugar, who apparently didn't make it to the photo shoot.  I'm sorry, you will not be America's Next Top Model.

Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, and cardamom.  I'd never used cardamom before and whoa nelly.  It's powerful stuff.  In a good way.

Cream the buttah, then add the sugar and beat together until fluffy.

Eggs go in one at a time.

See how purty and yellow it is?  Yolkage, man.

Booze it up with some rum and vanilla extract and mix together.

Add half of the sifted flour mixture and incorporate.  Then add the pineapple juice, incorporate, and add the rest of the flour mixture.  Don't over beat it!

Scrape down the sides and give it one last stir to incorporate that last bit of flour.

Why, hello, caramel topping.  So glad to meet you.  Butter and brown sugar.  Melted together.  Heaven. If you have a cast iron skillet (preferably a 10-inch), you can assemble the whole cake in the skillet.  If not, just melt the butter and brown sugar in a separate pan and pour it into the pan you're going to bake the cake in and go from there.

Let the butter melt and give it a little stir.  After about four minutes, take it off the heat and arrange the pineapple in concentric circles.

I sort of did that.  Kind of.  Not really.  In my defense, I was using a 12-inch skillet instead of a 10-inch skillet.  Ya do what ya gotta do.

Spread the cake batter on top of the pineapple.  Don't worry if a little pineapple peeks out.  It'll take care of itself.  While you're standing over it, give it a good whiff.  That's cardamom you're smelling.  Pop it in the oven for 45 minutes if you're using the right size pan.  I did 30 minutes since my pan was bigger, and it came out just right.

See?!  Your kitchen should smell phenomenal right now.  Let it cool for about 5 minutes before you try to invert it.  Yes, invert it.

Simply put a plate on top of the skillet, hold the plate and skillet together, and...

Flip it over!  Clearly I could've added more pineapple.  Live and learn, folks.  Oh, and sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of rum over the finished cake.  Trust me.

Slice and serve.  I added a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream.  It was nice and sweet but not cloying.  The cake part is really moist, and the cardamom gives it a nice kick of spice.  It's really very summery because it can be eaten at room temperature, and it's decidedly unfussy.  And you can eat it with ice cream.

Not Your Granny's Pineapple Upside-Down Cake (serves 8)
adapted from Gourmet, February 2000

For topping:
1/2 medium pineapple, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cored
3/4 stick (6 tbs) unsalted butter
3/4 c packed light brown sugar

For batter:
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp ground cardamom
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 c granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbs dark rum + 2 tbs for sprinkling over finished cake
1/2 c unsweetened pineapple juice

  • Cut pineapple into 3/8"-thick pieces.  Melt butter and brown sugar together in a 10" cast iron skillet.  Stir together and heat ~4 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Arrange pineapple slices over sugar topping in concentric circles, overlapping slightly.
  • Sift together flour, cardamom, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
  • In a large bowl, beat butter until fluffy.  Gradually beat in granulated sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating until combined after each addition.  Beat in vanilla and rum.
  • Add half the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined.  Add pineapple juice, beat, and add the rest of the flour mixture.  Beat until just combined.  Scrape down sides and incorporate last bits of flour.
  • Spoon batter over pineapple topping and spread evenly.  Bake cake in the middle of the over until golden and toothpick comes out clean, about 45 minutes.  Let cake stand for 5 minutes.  Invert a plate over skillet and flip skillet over, keeping plate and skillet firmly pressed together.  Replace any pineapple that didn't make it and cool plate on a rack.
  • Serve cake warm or at room temperature.
  • Note:  Cake can be made a day ahead, stored covered in the refrigerator.  Bring cake to room temperature before serving.

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