Thursday, January 7, 2010

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Lastnight I had a whole big can of pineapple slices that I never used for my sweet and sour chicken. I actually ment to get the crushed kind but didn't pay attention when I bought it. Anyway I hate letting food go to waste so I went hunting around for a recipe to use some of it up. I was thinking of pineapple cookies and first but that quickly got tossed to the side when pineapple upside-down cake came to mind. I know you are looking at the photo and thinking this doesn't look like the traditional kind with the pineapple rings and cherries in the middle. Well I wanted it that way. I do not like canned cherries, only fresh..and I really dislike hot cherries..blech. So when I spotted this over at Coleen's Recipes, I knew it was for me. She actually used fresh pineapple but I used canned instead. I really loved the difference of having the crushed pineapple. I hated  eating either a really big piece of pineapple or hardly any at all depending on the how the cake was sliced. By using the smaller pieces, you can evenly spread them out and are able to enjoy it in every bite you eat.

     The cake itself had such a nice vanilla/butter taste to it. You add in not only a teaspoon of vanilla but also a teaspoon of butter extract. In germany they sell tiny little bottles of vanilla butter flavoring and I used that. The whole house smelled wonderful..they need to make a candle scent in vanilla butter! The cake was so moist and was a real winner with all of us. On a side note, it calls for a 9 inch round cake pan. I don't have one of those. What I do have is an 8 inch round silicone pan so I used that. I was so worried that it was going to spill over. It didn't and works just fine incase you don't have one either. The silicone pan worked beautifully. I don't even need to grease it. It popped right out with no effort at all and the topping was still intact. Thanks Coleen for another keeper of a recipe! Also her instructions are for using fresh pineapple. I blotted my rings on paper towels before slicing them and everything came out fine.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

  5 tablespoons of melted butter
2/3 cup brown sugar (packed)
3 cups fresh pineapple cut into 1" cubes (see note)
maraschino cherries cut in half
1 & 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 & 1 /2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon...(I left out)
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
2/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup pineapple juice (or milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon butter extract
1/2 cup pecans chopped medium-small

Mix melted butter with brown sugar and spread evenly in prepared 9" round cake pan. Set aside.

Cut pineapple into 1" chunks and blot them dry between several thicknesses of paper towel (press on them a little to extract excess juice).

For the batter, cream the butter and sugar until it is really fluffy. Under-beating the butter at this stage will give you a poor quality cake. When it is nice and fluffy, add the eggs (one at a time) and extracts and beat until its fluffy again.

Sift the flour, baking powder and cinnamon 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.

Assembly: Nestle the pineapple, pecans and cherry pieces down into the brown sugar mixture in the cake pan (arrange in pretty fashion because this will show). Pour the cake batter over the top and very gently spread it out.

Bake in 350 oven for 45 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick tests clean (my oven took exactly 45 minutes). Remove from oven and sit pan on a cooling rack for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, run a thin bladed knife around the edge of the cake and invert onto a serving plate. Serve cake warm or at room temperature.

NOTE: Traditionally, pineapple upside-down cake has pretty rings of pineapple with red cherries in the center of each ring. However, when the cake is baked like that, it is hard to eat. You either get a big unmanageable hunk of pineapple on your piece of cake or no pineapple at all (does that make sense?). Instead, I cut the pineapple into very small pieces (almost a dice) and arrange the cherries randomly over the cake. It is much easier to cut, serve and eat (even if it ISN'T traditional). If you use this diced pineapple style, it only takes two cups of diced fruit instead of three.