Monday, June 13, 2011

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

I was in a large box store a couple of days ago and saw its version of Pineapple Upside Down Cake and I was, to put it mildly, less than impressed.
*I will shorten the cake name to PUD for ease of typing for the rest of the blog.*

Once in a while, I am perfectly happy (don't tell anyone at work) with one of those grab and go cakes but sometimes...sometimes...

How do I put this politely? Some of them are really...abominations of the baking world! The look, the texture, the taste.
There, I've said it and I stand by it.
(Check out the Cake Wrecks blog and you'll begin to grasp the levels of horror that bakers can descend to.)
The PUD I saw was a solid burnt brown, you couldn't tell what part was cake and what part was pineapple-at least I think it was pineapple. Seriously, not appetizing.

Besides, it is really not that hard to make PUD at home and even easier if you choose to use a cake mix.

A lot of recipes will have you use canned pineapple which is fine but I prefer to use fresh. Every now and then I get a random desire to buy and eat a pineapple by itself but then I never quite get around to eating it all and I don't want the rest to spoil so this puts the remainder to a good use.

First thing you need?
Cast iron skillet. The older I get, the more I think it really is the only pan you need. Even heat, non stick surface once you get it well seasoned, excellent for grilled cheese sandwiches.
You don't have to have one but it's very versatile.
Tip-If you use flax oil for seasoning, it's supposed to work extremely well and be a very durable seasoning agent. Cooks Illustrated had a note about it.

Oven:350 degrees.

4 Tbsp Unsalted butter
2/3 cups Brown sugar
1 Pineapple:peeled, cored, and cut into small chunks. Approximately 4 cups.

8 Tbsp Unsalted butter
1 cup AP flour
1/2 cup Whole wheat pastry flour (can use plain whole wheat flour but the pastry is finer).
1 1/2tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Salt-I use Kosher because I like the flake, use less if you use regular table salt.
3/4 cup Sugar-I like to use raw cane sugar; I like the texture and it has a better flavor to me.
2 each Eggs, large
1 each Egg white
1 tsp Vanilla, though I think a little rum works well too.
1/3 cup Milk, I use 2% usually but use whatever is on hand except for skim or if you choose to use that up the butter by 1 Tbsp.
Optional: Some spices such as cinnamon or cardamom depending on what you like.
On a stove top over low to medium heat, heat the skillet to melt the butter, then stir in the brown sugar.
Spread out evenly in the pan with a spatula, then lay the pineapple chunks out evenly on top of the sugar mix.

Combine the flours, B. powder, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat the sugar & butter together until light & fluffy about 3 to 6 min. Beat in the eggs and white, one at a time until combined-about 30 seconds. Mix in vanilla.

Reduce the mixer speed to low, add 1/3 of the flour mix and then half of the milk, mix until just combined. Add half of the remaining flour mix and the rest of the milk, again mix until just combined. Add in remaining flour mix. The batter will be thick.

Spread the batter evenly over the pineapple mixture and smooth out the top. Tap the pan a little to release extra air bubbles. Bake the cake until done. Check by inserting a toothpick, when it comes it comes out clean, pull out of the oven. Approximately 45 min.

Now, that's some cake!

Before flipping, another glamour shot.

Having said that, on to the flipping part.
*Use caution, hot melted sugar on body parts HURTS!*

So, let the cake cool for about 10 min. Place an appropriate size plate over the cake.
Using hot pads!!! flip cake & plate over and then let the cake sit for a minute or two until it releases from the pan. Don't try to shake it loose. After it's released from the pan, remove the pan and let the cake cool before serving...if you can.

See how pretty it can be. where's my fork?