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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Of my two daughters, Cherlin (the youngest) is the one who shows more interest in  both cooking and baking. Whenever she's at home, you'll see her helping me in the kitchen --- preparing/measuring/passing the ingredients, cracking eggsmixing, stirring, sauteing and even slicing and chopping vegetables. Instead of reading story books, she prefers spending time looking at cookbooks and devouring its pages. Honestly, I am fine with that. I remember I was like her when I was little. The only difference is that, my mom didn't have as much cookbooks as I have now...and the cookbooks she had that time didn't have as much photos and were in black & white. :) 

Last Monday, I saw her looking into my Goldilocks Bakebook. She was so quiet and seemed so engrossed flipping through the pages when out of the blue, she burst out "Hmmmm...I want to make this, mommy!". I was kinda surprised to see that she was referring to a Pineapple Upside Down Cake. She doesn't even like pineapple...she says it makes her tongue itchy, and now she wants to bake a Pineapple Cake??! I knew she hates pineapple and I was sure it's just the photo that she found appealing...so I asked her several times if she really wants it, and she kept saying YES. Well, I can't blame her --- the photo was mouthwatering indeed! To cut the story short, I gave in to her request. Yesterday, when she got home from school, we baked a Pineapple Upside Down Cake together...and this is how it turned out...
Does it look delicious to you? Well, it really is! And Cherlin (as well as the hubs and my eldest daughter) said, it looks even better than the one in the Goldilocks Cookbook. :) 

What do you think? 

I actually followed the exact recipe for the cake. We loved that it turned out so soft and moist. The only different thing I did was to use fresh pineapple instead of canned, and caramelized it before baking. Oh, there's one more thing...we didn't have cherries so we just used dried cranberries. But let me point out that this cake will taste amazing even without cherries or cranberries...it's just for added color. :)

I'm really glad that I gave in to Cherlin's request of baking this cake! Not only did we have a great bonding time, I also got to find the best Pineapple Upside Down Cake recipe! I have tried a number of recipes for this classic cake. None were as perfect as this one. My aspiring chef who used to hate pineapple agreed! She even said this is her new favorite cake! (^o^)

Try it yourself and let me know what you think...


Yield one 9" round cake

Ingredients:
For the caramelized pineapple:

  • 1 medium sized pineapple
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
For the cake:
  • 1¾ cake flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • dried cranberries, for topping (optional)

Instructions:
For the caramelized pineapple:
1. Peel and core the pineapple, then cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices. I used pineapple corer/ slicer, which cores and slices an entire pineapple.
2. Mix the sugar and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, without stirring, for about 3 minutes or until bubbles start to appear and you see dark color syrup around the edge of the pan. Swirl the saucepan in a circular motion so the sugar caramelizes evenly. Keep swirling gently until the caramel is medium golden brown. Turn down the heat to the low and whisk in the 4 Tbsp. butter.
3. Add the pineapple and gently stir to cover with syrup. (You will notice that the syrup will harden after adding the pineapple...but it will be liquidy again.) Simmer for 10 minutes or until the pineapple slices turn golden brown. Transfer and arrange pineapple slices to a slightly greased 9" round baking pan. Continue to simmer syrup for about 3 minutes more or until thick. Pour on top of the pineapple slices. Arrange dried cranberries in the center of the pineapple slices. (optional) Set aside.
For the cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350F. In a bowl, sift all dry ingredients and set aside. In another bowl, cream butter and sugar at medium spped until light and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla extract, evaporated milk and water. Continue mixing for about 1 1/2 minutes or until all ingredients are well blended. Turn speed to low and gradually add the dry ingredients making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally. Increase the speed to medium and mix for another 1 1/2 minutes. 
2. Pour batter into pan with caramelized pineapple. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to completely cool down. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the pan and then invert the cake onto a serving plate.
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