Spring break, what an American classic. Oh, I remember it well. That time of year when college students from all over the U.S. head to warmer climates to blow off a little steam. I suppose blowing off a little steam is actually putting it very mildly. As I remember, it’s Girls Gone Wild and doing everything your mother told you never to do. When I was in college on the east coast, we would head to Ft. Lauderdale for spring break and I still shudder at the thought of the madness and mayhem that would ensue. Ah, good times!
I knew spring break was fast approaching for son #2. I wondered with great apprehension how he planned on spending HIS time off. He called yesterday to tell me he was on his way home for the week, and he planned on using that time to look for a summer job. YES I thought, we just dodged a bullet, a mayhem-free vacation. Before he got off the phone he asked, “oh, and mom could you bake me something, there’s not much real food up here at school”. So here it is, Pineapple Upside Down Cake, another American Classic!
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
From King Arthur Flour
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 20-ounce can pineapple rings in juice, drained
- candied red cherries or maraschino cherries
- 3 tablespoons, chopped pecans
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon coconut extract, optional
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup milk
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Melt about 1 tablespoon of butter and using a pastry brush, lightly grease a 9″ round cake pan. You want to use a 9” pan because the pineapple rings will fit perfectly in this size pan.
- To make the topping: Melt the butter, and whisk it together with the brown sugar, cinnamon, and ginger. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and evenly smooth it out using a small offset spatula.
- Space the pineapple rings atop the brown sugar mixture. Place a cherry in the center of each ring. If you’re using nuts, press them into the empty spaces.
- To make the cake: I used a hand mixer and a medium-large bowl to make this batter. Beat the butter and sugar until fairly smooth.
- Beat in the egg, then the salt, baking powder, vanilla, and coconut flavor. Be careful not to over-mix the batter or it will result in a tough cake.
- Add the flour alternately with the milk, mixing at medium-low speed and beginning and ending with the flour. Once the last of the flour is added, mix briefly, just until smooth.
- Spoon the thick batter into the prepared pan, spreading it to the edges of the pan with the offset spatula. It may not cover the pineapple entirely; that’s OK.
- Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven, wait 3 minutes, then turn the pan over onto a serving plate. Wait 30 seconds, then lift the pan off. If anything sticks to the pan, just lift it out and place it back on the cake.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
8 to 10 servings.
When someone says the word dessert, I automatically think of chocolate. In my mind at least, it’s not dessert unless it is chocolate. But alas, everyone is different and not everyone’s taste buds respond to the same thing.
This weekend I’m hosting a birthday dinner at my house for a good friend. As I was planning the menu he informed me that he doesn’t like chocolate, and could I come up with a fruit dessert instead. Fruit, really… This would be a challenge, but Mama is not one to back down from a challenge. I was leafing through one of the many food publications that I have, and found this recipe for Roasted Pineapple with Honey and Pistachios in Bon Appetit Magazine. Truthfully, I haven’t really roasted a lot of fruit in my day. I love roasting vegetables as the roasting process brings out the natural sweetness in produce, and allows the vegetable’s flavor to remain simple and unencumbered.
I did a test run on this recipe today and fell in love with the results. The pineapple became tender and sweet as it caramelized, the creme fraiche added a tart contrast while the nuts brought a little bit of added crunch to the dish. I thought it tasted perfect! Hello fruit, goodbye chocolate. Well, maybe just this once.
From Bon Appetit Magazine
- 1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 medium, ripe pineapple, peeled, cored, cut lengthwise into 8 wedges
- 1/4 cup creme fraiche or yogurt
- 1/3 cup, unsalted pistacios, rough chopped
- 2 tablespoons torn fresh mint leaves
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F and then line your baking sheet with parchment paper. If you don’t, you’ll have a nasty mess to clean up from the burnt sugar. Whisk the first three ingredients together in a medium bowl until the sugar is dissolved. Place the pineapple slices in a 8″ baking dish and pour the marinade over the slices, tossing to coat. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Place the pineapple slices, one flat side down on your baking sheet and save the marinade.
- Roast your pineapple for 15 minutes. Turn the slices and brush with your reserved marinade several times and roast until tender and caramelized, another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and drizzle the remaining marinade over and let slices cool.
- Divide pineapple slices among your plates. Spoon the creme fraiche, yogurt or even vanilla ice cream over the pineapple and garnish with the nuts and mint. Serves 4