This cake is easy, delicious and unusual. It's a pineapple upside down cake made with gingerbread in place of the dessert's traditional yellow cake. I'm not the only one to like this recipe: Mrs. Lloyd E. Young, of Albany,New York, was awarded the $100 first prize in a 1931 contest cooked up by Grand Union. It, along with 28 other prize winning recipes, was published by the supermarket chain on the occasion of its 59th birthday.
This cake starts with a trip to the supermarket where one can purchase canned pineapple and molasses today, just like Mrs. Lloyd did in 1931.
Pineapple slices (with some walnut "filler") are placed atop the butter-molasses mixture.
The cake batter at the outset.
The dry ingredients before sifting through a sieve.
The batter will be quite stiff (below) but will smooth out once the boiling water is added.
Pour or spoon the batter carefully over the pineapple slices.
Once baked, it looks like a traditional gingerbread until...
The pan is flipped over, revealing the dessert's tropical soul.
Top view of slice.
Below is the recipe as it was published and, below that, is my 21st-century interpretation. The original recipe is a bit difficult to follow, what with the ingredients and method all combined in one really long paragraph.
Gingerbread Upside Down Cake
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease cake pan (if using instead of skillet)
1 1/2 T. unsalted butter
1/2 C. molasses
1 can pineapple (or about 7 or 8 slices)
A few walnuts
Melt butter and add molasses. Heat to boiling point and remove from heat. (You can do this directly in an iron skillet, in which you bake the cake. I don't have an iron skillet, so I heated this mixture in a small saucepan and poured it into a greased nine-inch cake pan.)
Place pineapple slices on top of butter-molasses mixture. Fill in the spaces with smaller pieces of pineapple, pieces of walnut and/or raisins.
3 T. unsalted butter
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C. molasses
1 beaten egg
1/2 C. boiling water
1 3/4 C. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
Cream butter, add sugar and molasses. Add egg and beat. Combine all dry ingredients in a separate bowl, and add. Mix thoroughly and add boiling water. Spoon/pour batter over the pineapple slices.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes.
Remove from oven and place cake dish over pan. Flip and let cool slightly.