Thursday, March 12, 2015

Upside-down Pineapple Cake

Somehow the cake classics are always a triumph! As much as I love to try new and more challenging recipes, some days my heart calls for a classic. Upside-down pineapple cake is one of those.

Amazes me how people recognizes the flavor and the name and they assume that it must be a piece of cake (ha!) to prepare it.... because their mom used to bake it often and... well... she was not the greatest cook on Earth. This is not the case. Upside-down cakes are a classic that can be altered if you know what is what you are looking for. I have seen many many recipes and most of them differ somehow (sometimes on the ingredients, sometime on the proportions and sometimes differ completely).

The other version that I want to bake next time is the cast iron-stove version. Also in my to try list is one made with plantain (mucho Mexicano cake as they say where I live). 

I know that the cake is a success when the current wife stops talking to me -which can be a good thing-. She claims that it is my fault that she eats it all... my argument is that she should have a stronger will and just eat a bit at the time, but no!, she wants it all. Last time as soon as she saw a new cake I made... she went to the kitchen, got a fork and eat it all while watching Inspector Brunetti, her favorite German spoken Italian detective show. 

When I tried to get a piece she threatened me with the fork and a knife she keeps in her drawer -somehow-... so I decided that my life was worth more than the cake. Next day she was upset because I let her eat all that much. 

In any event, here is the cake. Some recipes call for canned pineapple (I believe that the recipe became popular when canned pineapple was made available as way back then we just couldn't buy anything we wanted year round). I like the idea... if you live in the 1920's. Go and buy a fresh pineapple and do the right thing. There is nothing like fresh fruit.


Upside-down Pineapple Cake

Cooking Time: 90 Minutes   Makes 12 servings
Ingredients

Sliced Pineapples 

1 Medium fresh pineapple sliced 


1/2 Cup Orange juice

1/2 Cup Sugar

1/2 Cup Rum or Pisco

1/4 Tsp Salt

8 Maraschino cherries

Caramel

Candy thermometer is suggested (you can try using your fingers but it hurts)

1/4 Cup Water

1/2 Cup sugar

1/2 Cup Whipping Cream room temperature

1 Tbsp vanilla

1/4 Tsp salt


Cake

1/2 Cup Butter room temperature

1 Cup sugar

4 Eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 Cups sifted all purpose flour

1/2 Tsp Baking powder

1/2 Tsp Baking soda

1/2 Tsp salt

1/2 Cup Yogurt or buttermilk
1 Tsp Vanilla



Cooking Instructions

Line the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan with parchment paper and butter the wall of the pan with butter. Place the pan on a cookie sheet.

Pineapple preparation

2. Peel and slice the pineapple into 8 (or so) 1/2 inch thick rings and remove the core from each slice (I use a cookie cutter)

3. Place the pineapple slices into a large saucepan and cover with the sugar, orange juice, rum and the pinch of salt. If you want to skip the rum...go ahead...it is just sad that you want to do so

4. Bring to simmer and cook on low heat until the liquid is reduced to about 1/4 cup and the pineapples are a bit caramelized (they look a bit translucent… it should take about 10 minutes) 

5. Remove from heat and let the pineapples slices cool in the syrup. Reserve.


Caramel preparation

6. Combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan and cook in a medium heat without stirring (just swirl the pan if the mix starts to crystalize) until syrup starts to turn amber color, about 8 minutes, to about 390˚F . Remember to use your candy thermometer... but if you don't have one, then just watch that the mix doesn't burn (you will know that the mix is burning when the fire alarm activates and the firemen are knocking at your door)

7. Remove from the heat and slowly add the cream while stirring with a wooden spoon (it will bubble and foam like crazy!!!… fast…be careful). Don't say I did not warn you: it will foam!!!

8. Return to burner, medium heat,  and add vanilla and salt and continue to whisk until smooth. Remove from heat and allow it to cool. Reserve.

9. Once the caramel has cooled down, pour into prepared springform and tilt so the caramel coats the bottom evenly. Reserve (you don't have to use all caramel...if you have leftovers then use them for something else)

Cake

10. Arrange pineapple slices in bottom of the pan, placing them on top of the caramel and place a maraschino cherry in the center of each pineapple ring. Reserve the syrup where the pineapples were!…we’ll use it later.

11. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

12. Now let’s prepare the batter: place the butter in the bowl of a standard mixer and beat until is light, fluffy and clear color. Add the eggs, one at the time and keep beating until incorporated. No mixer?...no problem... grease elbow time !

12. In a separate bowl we are going to mix our dry ingredients: the sifted four, baking powder and salt. 

13. Add the dry ingredient mix alternately with the reserved pineapple syrup and the yogurt and beat until smooth.

14. Spread the cake batter over the pineapple slices and place the pan (that is on top of the baking sheet…just in case the caramel leaks) into the oven and bake  for approximately 45 minutes or until a toothpick is inserted and it comes out clean. Don't worry if it takes longer...patience is the key... not all ovens are born the same.

15. Remove from the oven and let it cool in pan for 15 minutes, then run a plastic knife and loosen the springform gently. Then, carefully remove the bottom of the pan along with the parchment paper (oh… of course…you have to turn the cake upside-down first so the pineapple part is facing up)  and allow it to cool for another 15 minutes.

16. Finish the cake by pouring the leftover syrup, if you have any, on top of the pineapple slices. Then serve warm…or cold.

17. Enjoy!