Monday, November 20, 2006

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Spring cleaning should have happened many moons ago, but if you're anything like me, you still have that dusty boxful of stuff on top of your closet, under your table or stacked in the shelves. I know I do. Over the years, I've collected an enormous amount of recipes from the internet, newspapers, magazines, TV shows, through all means imaginable. As I scan every hastily written recipes and clippings, I can vividly remember those times when I'd get all giddy with excitement whenever I'd see a scrumptious sounding recipe titles-- Ultimate Chocolate Mudpie, Triple Chocolate Cookies, Best Ever Banana Bread, Chewy and Chunky White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies-- titles could go so long and so rich that I'm delirious by the time I'm done. But, as with every copy, they ended up stored and usually forgotten.
I chanced upon this recipe in one of my folders, funny because I can't remember why I would be interested in an upside down cake. I'm still not. But I decided to give it a try, just so I can satisfy that miniscule curiosity slowly gnawing into my brain. It also helped that I still have some leftover pineapple chunks from last time's carrot cake.
Everything about it was a discovery to my sense of smell and taste. Something fragrantly bright permeated the air with a subtle touch of buttery richness. Some of the pineapples stuck on the pan when I turned it over, but I simply reattached them using a small spatula and no one was the wiser. The cake is a dream to eat--dense (don't expect chiffon lightness), very tender and soft with a great tangy pineapple flavor. This is the type of cake that is best eaten warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, just like how you would apple pie. Makes a great comfort food too.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

1/4 unsalted butter, melted
1/2 C light brown sugar
1 C pineapple tidbits
1/2 C cherries, optional

2 C cake flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 C unsalted butter
1/2 C sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 t vanilla
1 C pineapple juice

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Very lightly grease an 8" round or square pan.
2. Prepare topping by mixing all ingredients together. Pour on prepared baking pan.
3. In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Cream butter and sugar using the paddle attachment until light.
4. Add yolks to the butter mixture, one at a time. Beat until well incorporated.
5. Alternately add dry mixture and pineapple juice to the butter-yolk mixture, ending with dry.
6. Scrape batter to make sure everything is well incorporated.
7. In a clean and grease-free mixing bowl, whip whites until soft peaks.
8. Scrape 1/3 of the whites into the batter, lightening up the mixture. Fold the rest of the whites.
9. Pour mixture onto topping-filled pan, bake for 30-35 minutes or until top is lightly browned and cake is firm. Turn over plate.

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