Monday, March 24, 2008

Recipe: Pineapple Upside Down Cake

After making more pineapple tarts for my colleagues, I was up to my ears in pineapple bits and jam! I needed a dessert to serve for dinner and I had some leftover marscapone cheese after making a tiramisu, so I went in search of a pineapple upside down cake recipe.

Usually my favourite places to search online, other than general and blog searches, are the AllRecipes and Food Network sites. However, I now find that a disturbing number of their dessert and cake recipes start with "1 Angelfood cake mix", which I think is a cop-out, especially with cake mix prices in Singapore and processed food inflation on the baking shelf!

This recipe is a little unusual as it is not your traditional cream-butter-and-sugar together recipe, it calls for the butter to be melted then mixed with the egg, rather than the sugar. (Melting your butter in a traditional creaming recipe would result in the seperation and curdling of the fat and sugar mixture when the egg is added, not a pretty sight!) I was a bit apprehensive but it turned out to be fine, the recipe created a moistly chewy yet fairly airy cake that was delicious and really suited the pineapple flavour.

3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 fresh pineapple - peeled, cored and cut into rings

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).
2. Melt the butter and set aside.
3. Melt a little extra butter with the dark brown sugar and 1/4 cup of the pineapple juice. Place this mixture in the bottom of the cake pan. Arrange the pineapple rings on the brown sugar mixture in a decorative pattern. Set pan aside.
If you use a muffin tray as I did, cut the pineapple pieces to fit the bottom of each muffin cavity. I didn't use anywhere near one pinepple but I suppose you could just create a thicker fruit section to your cake.
4. Stir together the flour, salt, white sugar, and baking powder.
5. Separate the eggs. Beat the whites until stiff but not dry.
6. Beat two of the egg yolks until lemony yellow. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup pineapple juice, vanilla, and remaining melted butter. Add this mixture to the flour mixture. Gently fold in the egg whites.
Instead of pineapple juice, I used the syrup and some jam from my pineapple jam making, decreased the amount of sugar added and added 1/4 cup of milk to make up the liquid content of having not used juice.
7. Pour batter over the top of the brown sugar and pineapple rings.
8. Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 30 minutes. Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes then cover pan tightly with a serving dish and invert so that the pineapple side is up.
I tend to find that the worse thing you can do is underbake fruit cakes, especially those with sharp fruit flavours like lemon, pineapple or orange. If anything, let the cakes brown a little in the oven so they develop a proper crust.
9. Serve with marscapone cheese mixed into whipped cream, or ice cream and garnish with mint leaves.

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