when i was little my mom had this old black cast iron skillet that she used for absolutely everything - frying chicken, making gravy and even making cakes. in particular, one of my most favorite cakes - pineapple upside down cake. she would make sure that each pineapple ring had a bright red cherry in the middle and because we all loved cherries so much, she would place cherries inbetween the rings too. for the longest time, i thought pineapples always tasted vaguely of aluminum. imagine my surprise years later when i tasted fresh pineapple - the difference is just night and day.
which brings me to this recipe i got from smitten kitchen. if you decide to make it - go through the extra bit of expense and buy fresh pineapple. it's heaven when caramelized.
pineapple upside down cake
1/2 medium pineapple, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cored
3/4 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar (i used dark brown since that was on-hand - that's why my caramel is so dark)
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 (i omitted the rum as i didn't have any on hand)
1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
Preheat oven to 350°F. If you do not have a cast iron skillet, you can use a cake pan.
make topping: cut pineapple crosswise into 3/8-inch-thick pieces. Melt butter in skillet. Add brown sugar and simmer over moderate heat, stirring, four minutes. remove from heat. arrange pineapple on top of sugar mixture.
make batter: 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.)
quickie short-cut tip: you can use a butter cake box mix, just substitute pineapple juice for the water in the recipe. duncan hines moist butter cake is a good one.
spoon batter over pineapple topping and spread evenly. bake cake in middle of oven until golden and a tester comes out clean, about 45 minutes. let cake stand in skillet five minutes. invert a plate over skillet and invert cake onto plate (keeping plate and skillet firmly pressed together). replace any pineapple stuck to bottom of skillet. sprinkle rum over cake and cool on plate on a rack.
serve cake just warm or at room temperature.
in other news....i received the cutest handmade birthday card from elk today and it just brightened my day tremendously. thank you my friend - that was the sweetest thing. they say that friends are the family we pick instead of the family we're born with....i'm so proud she picked me.
and yes...the first bite of the cake took me back to summery days of cake, hopscotch, and running through the sprinklers.
ps - i'm guesthosting at laura's today if you want to take a peek.