Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Pineapple Upside Down Cake (with a little rum)

Here is a classic Retro Dessert. When's the last time you had a slice of Pineapple Upside Cake?  Does this bring back childhood memories?

It seems that this cake was invented somewhere between the late 1920's or early 1930's.  One of Jame Dole's (of Dole Pineapples) engineers invented a machine that would core and slice pineapples. Soon, canned pineapple became a pantry staple in American homes-- and thus, the Pineapple Upside Down Cake was created.  That's what I read on the internet, so it must be true!

I love fresh pineapple, and one of my favorite snacks is pineapple and cottage cheese.  I could eat that every day, and be content.  On our recent trip to Hawaii, I was always happy to see pineapple as a garnish with my breakfast (and, with a few of the Mai Tai cocktails that I enjoyed).

This weekend, we had our friends over for a very casual dinner.  I wanted to cook whatever I found in our freezer and pantry.  I thawed some pork ribs, so   Craig grilled his perfect ribs.  I doctored up leftover barbecue sauce with homemade pineapple jam, honey and teriyaki sauce.  While I was at it, I made a quick slaw using a can of crushed pineapples and lite coconut milk that I found in the pantry.

Lo and behold, I found a can of pineapple rings.  I don't remember when or why I bought them, but I decided to keep the pineapple them going).  I hadn't made a pineapple upside cake in at least 25 years, and guests were arriving within the hour.  So, I pre-measured all of my dry ingredients and set up the rest of my ingredients.  Once we finished eating ribs, I made the cake.

I wanted to use a cast-iron skillet, because I've seen this cake made that way.  All I had to do was separate three eggs. The egg whites were whipped till fluffy, then set into a separate bowl.

Don't faint, because that is one stick of butter you see melting.  Next came one cup of brown sugar and some dark rum (you can use pineapple juice instead of rum).  Whisk it all together and now for the cake batter.

In a cake mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar until fluffy.  I added a combination of rum and pineapple juice, because I didn't want to overdo the rum flavor.  Next, comes flour, baking powder and salt.  Last, the egg whites are gently folded into the batter. Done!

Maraschino cherries are tradition, and I think they add a nice pop of color.  You can replace those with pecans, if you prefer.

Spread the batter evenly. An off-set spatula makes this easy to do.

Bake at 350F for 25-40 minutes.  Times can vary, if you use a 9-inch cake pan, vs. a cast iron skillet. I checked my cake at 30 minutes and the toothpick came out clean.  Let the cake cook for about ten minutes.

Set a plate on top of the skillet/cake pan and carefully but quickly flip it over.  We did this over the kitchen sink-- just in case of an accident.  Some of the juice flowed over the edges, so be forewarned!

We all exhaled, that the cake successfully came out of the skillet-- and here it is. I think it's a beautiful cake, if I do say so myself!

I think Pineapple Upside Down cake is best served slightly warm.

It's even better with a dollop of fresh whipped cream.

TASTING NOTES:   I'd love to see this cake make a modern come back.  Nowadays, a pineapple corer-slicer makes serving fresh pineapple a really simple job.  I wondered if this cake wouldn't be as good, using canned pineapple.  I can tell you, that once you taste that buttery-caramelized pineapple, you really can't tell if it's fresh or canned. Honest.  Not one person skipped eating the maraschino cherry.  The cake was moist, and wasn't mushy at all from the juice.  If anything, I think that the butter and brown sugar ratio could be reduced by about 25%.  Nobody complained. In fact, everyone liked the cake a lot.  Best of all, they couldn't believe how fast I whipped this cake up.
The next day, the cake was still good, though it wasn't warm.  I don't think I'll wait another 25 years to make this again.  

By the way, I think I perfected the art of making the perfect Mai Tai. I'll have to test a few more, on friends and family, just to be sure. Once I do, it'll be on the blog.  Can you tell that Hawaii is still very much on my mind?

A printable recipe card is at the end of this post. Recipe is very slightly adapted from Creative Culinary.com.


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Monica h said...

Pineapple upside down cake is one of my favorites and I make it a couple times a year. So good! And yours looks great!

hobby baker said...

I love the idea of pineapple upside down cake. I have multiple recipes for it, saved. I even have both a cast iron pan and that special cake pan with the pineapple shaped rings in the bottom, specifically for pineapple upside down cake. Do you think I have made one in the last 15 years? I seriously must remedy this situation. Thanks for posting it!

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

Pineapple upside down cake was one of my grandmother's specialties. I love the idea of the rum in it. Rum makes everything better.

Joanne said...

I actually don't think I've EVER had a pineapple upside down cake! So sad. I need to get some of this in my life!

bellini said...

My own mom never made this when I was a child but I do remember having it at friends.

Karen said...

My mom made this often when I was a kid. I've made it several times over the years... so good!

Roz cP said...

Its' been about 3 years since I last baked a pineapple upside down cake and now you've got me in the mood to make another . . . with RUM! Ooooh! Some of the oldest recipes (updated like yours) are still the best! I love what Emily designed for your blog; mine will debut in a few weeks (I think). Hope all is well in California!

Anonymous said...

Forget the whip cream. My mother makes a vanilla sauce that goes on your piece of cake while still warm. Talk about HEAVEN!!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

This is a slice right out of my childhood -- what my mother always made for me when it was my birthday. But it certainly didn't have the rum. I love the "adult" version.