Sunday, June 5, 2011
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
It's June, and I should be making all sorts of desserts with local strawberries and rhubarb, but I found myself with a very ripe pineapple -- and an intriguing c. 1950s recipe for upside down cake.
Fresh pineapple makes this dessert exceptionally delicious. I used a biscuit cutter to remove the core after I cut the fruit into 1/2 inch slices. And, as you can see in the picture at top, I used the extra pieces of pineapple in place of the maraschino cherries which, while colorful, are full of quite undesirable chemicals. (Full disclosure: I was actually saving my cherries for ice cream sundaes.)
Although the recipe (below) called for a cast iron skillet, I don't have one at the moment. I've had many, many in my life, but no matter what I do, they end up rusting, even after I follow all the seasoning directions. I didn't even have luck with one of the new-fangled pre-seasoned cast iron skillets. So, I just used a regular old frying pan, and the cake worked beautifully.
Unlike many recipes for upside down cake, this one called for separating the eggs and beating the egg whites with sugar into a meringue. This is an extra step and one that requires using another bowl and set of beaters, but the results are worth it.
The cake puffed up a lot (by the time I took this photo, it had settled a bit) in the oven, but it slipped out of the pan beautifully. Just put the serving plate upside down atop the cake and flip. And, in the picture at top, you can see that, despite not using cast iron, the top was caramelized.
You may notice that there's some liquid on the plate and I attribute that to the fact that I removed the cake from the oven ten minutes early because I wanted to get to a protest rally against the recent staff cuts and closings at the South Street Seaport Museum. So even though I thought I was sacrificing my cake for a higher cause (read about the Museum's struggles here), it turned out quite well. I only pray for the Museum to enjoy the same good fortune.