Upside Down

Good old fashioned comfort food, there's nothing like it, is there?

I am trying to hint at the Pineapple Upside Down Cake. This cake evolved during the years when canned pineapple was a rage (somewhere in the 1920s - in the USA, where canned pineapple was first made by the Hawaiian Pineapple Company).

For some reason, the Pineapple Upside Down cake has not gained commercial popularity. It is one of those cakes that when made perfectly need absolutely no decoration and are ready to serve (although a little Chantilly cream or real vanilla ice cream to eat with it is always good!).

With all the bakeries I have been to (and that means many, if not all at least...) I have never seen them stock slices of this decadent cake. Technically, I find this to be a more difficult cake than a normal butter cake. It is baked with the pineapple below the batter and then inverted, so that once done, the pineapple slices and glace cherries set in caramel come on top. The sponge has to be perfect and yet be able to take the weight of the pineapple once the cake is inverted. The caramel needs to be just the right amount or the cake will be too sweet (with the sweetness of the pineapple, the cake and the caramel). You have to invert it while it's warm, or the caramel will stick to the base. You have to bake it right or the cake will not be moist.

The first time I made this cake, I made the colossal mistake of trying to combine 2 different recipes(one for the sponge, one for the base - or if you prefer the top). I have made the sponge before so I know it works but it wasn't meant for a cake tin. This might have worked (though combining 2 recipes is definitely NOT a good idea unless you know the mechanics of each part of the recipe) but the quantity of sponge I made was too less for the large sized spring form tin I use. Even that would have worked, except I ended up under cooking it. Hence when I inverted it out onto a plate, I had a too thin, unrisen soggy mass of a cake with a too sweet topping of syrup and caramel soaked pineapple. The cherry on the cake? Oh wait a minute; the recipe calls for glace cherries and I had the brilliant inspiration to use fresh cherries - which turned into crinkly brownish fruit once baked. Not a good idea. Lesson learnt (as far as this recipe is concerned - and for the time being).

Anyway, I laboured on (the results of which you see here- at least some, if not all), and made the Upside down cake once more. This time, I made the batter a little too runny for my liking. Then after I arranged the pineapple and the glace cherries in the caramel, I poured the batter into my spring form tin and quickly put it in the oven. Turns out I dint fit the base of the tin right and had batter dripping right onto the heating filament of the oven. So once again, I took the tin out - put it into a steel plate which was the only thing that could fit back into the oven with the tin in it.

All this said and done, this time around my cake rose adequately, and was cooked. It came out quite well from the tin too, even though the caramel is a little too dark. Here it is -

Well,  now onto my next project - cooking through my new cookbook.


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