Sunday, June 13, 2010

Pineapple Upside Down Cake That Will Set Your World on End

Dear Smitten Kitchen. You have got it goin' on. Thank-you for this recipe which takes an old school concept and, with the addition of fresh fruit and juice, it total kicks its way into the new millennium. At the inaugural BBQ this was a fabulous finish to a fabulous meal: sweet and comforting with a slightly tart overtone.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake (a la Smitten Kitchen)

The Topping:
1/2 medium pineapple, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cored
3/4 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

The Cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon dark rum
1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
2 tablespoons dark rum for sprinkling over cake

I made the caramel in a small pot and poured it into a 9" cake pan. Smitten Kitchen suggests that, in an ideal world, you use a well seasoned cast iron skillet. I didn't have one, but found that making the caramel in a pot worked just fine.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cut the pineapple crosswise into 3/8-inch-thick pieces. Melt butter in skillet. Add brown sugar and simmer over moderate heat, stirring, for four minutes. Remove from heat. Arrange pineapple on top of sugar mixture in a circular pattern.

Then you're going to sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in granulated sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and rum. Add half of flour mixture and beat on low speed just until blended. Beat in pineapple juice, then add remaining flour mixture, beating just until blended. (Batter may appear slightly curdled.)

Spoon batter over pineapple topping and spread evenly. Bake cake until golden and a tester comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let it stand for five minutes before inverting a plate over the pan and flipping the cake onto the plate. Keep the plate pressed firmly against the pan during this process! You can sprinkle rum over the cake (though I didn't).

Serve it warm or at room temperature. I served it at room temperature and almost everyone had 2 pieces. Mister Man even said that he wanted this for his birthday cake! Now THAT'S high praise....

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