Wednesday, August 24, 2005

upside down cake

this is the first cake i remember eating. my ma must have perfected it and served it as her signature mainstay eye popping dessert to countless family parties. i remember that her sisters (she has seven!) all had almost similar versions: canned pineapple slices which come out on top of a sponge cake base as you flip the pan over.
i haven't made this in a very long time--so long that my resident cake critic(#1 son) couldn't remember when was the last time.

i'd plucked a plump pineapple out of a very fragrant batch of Chiquita's at a very low price*, and when i sliced off its top the perfume was just so juicy sweet, i was tempted to eat it fresh. by myself heehee.
but no i resisted because i'd read it in another cookbook that upside down cake made from fresh pineapples is incomparable. i also used a buttery cake batter.

prepare a 10-inch pan by lightly greasing with butter. preheat the oven to 350F.
make the topping: in a heavy sauce pan, melt 4 tbsps. unsalted butter with 1/4 cup tightly packed light brown sugar . mix well until blended and syrupy.
spread the topping on to the greased pan. arrange slices of pineapple with maraschino cherries (make sure the fruits are well drained and patted dry).
set aside. (additional toppings, which i omitted for my finickydiscerningly tastebudded children: raisins, pecans or almonds.)
whisk together in a bowl 1 & 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour, 2 tsps. baking powder, and 1/4 tsp. salt.
mix together 1/4 cup rum, 1/4 cup pineapple juice (if using canned, use the drained unsweetened juice, or from the carton, or orange juice), and 1/4 cup buttermilk.
in the bowl of your mixer, cream 6 tbsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, with 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar until fluffy. add 2 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the bowl. beat in 1 tbsp. pure vanilla and 1/2 tsp. orange extract or Grand Marnier (orange liqueur).
add the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture in thirds, alternating with the rum juice mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
blend well until flour is well incorporated and batter is smooth.
scrape down the bowl.
pour the batter over the fruit in the pan.
bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until cake tester or toothpick inserted in the cake, but not down to the fruit, comes out with a few moist crumbs.
let cool in a rack for 10 minutes. set the serving platter on top, flip, and let rest for 10 minutes more. remove the pan. if some of the fruit is stuck to the bottom, just gently lift out w/ a thin spatula and rearrange...

(based on debbi fields' great american desserts. i omitted the addition of nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves and used a simpler sugar topping).

*fellow Filipino foodfloggers...if i say my sentence above out loud, you will find out why i'm shy about speaking American English. apter a while my p's and f's and b's and v's get all wonky!