Gay Cook’s Fresh Pineapple Up-Side-Down Cake

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Makes 8-10 servings

Sweet, juicy pineapples are available year-round with the peak season from March to July.

Many folks believe one can tell a ripe pineapple if a leaf easily pulls out of the crown but this isn’t full proof. If a pineapple at the market looks green, look at the base if it has turned a little orange or red there, then you’ll be able to ripen it at home for a few days. When it develops a total reddish golden color with a sweet aroma, it’s ripe. If it has a fermented smell, don’t buy it! To ripen a pineapple, stand it upside down on the leaf end (cut the leaf section crosswise in half to make it easier to stand) to allow the sugars to flow toward the top and keep any fermenting at the bottom.

Caramel:
¼ cup (50 mL) water
1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
9-inch (22.5 cm) cake pan with 2-inch (5 cm) deep edge, buttered

In a heavy saucepan, with a tight fitting lid, stir the water and sugar together. Cover the pan for about 4 minutes so the steam washes down any sugar crystals from the sides of the pan. Uncover and boil for 12 minutes until the caramel turns light amber. Remove from the heat and immediately pour the caramelized syrup into the cake pan. Be careful, the syrup will be very hot. Allow the caramel to cool; it will set in 5 minutes.

1 medium to large ripe pineapple:

Twist the pineapple’s leaf head off. Cut a thin slice off the top and cut a slice from the bottom so it will stand upright. Cut the pineapple into quarters. Stand each wedge upright to cut away the peel and any brown root ends; cut off the core; cut each wedge crosswise into ¼-inch (1 cm) slices. Arrange slices on the harden caramel, overlapping them evenly with flat edges up. This will be the top of the cake.

Cake

1/2 cup (125 mL) butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
2 large range-free eggs at room temperature
1/2 tsp (2 mL) vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) unbleached flour
1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
1/2 cup (125 mL) buttermilk

  1. In an electric mixer, cream the butter. Gradually add sugar, beating until the mixture is light. Add eggs one at a time until eggs are well incorporated. Add vanilla.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. With the mixer at low speed, add flour alternately with the buttermilk just until the flour is no longer seen. Spoon large dollops of the batter on the sliced fruit; smooth out the batter.
  3. Bake the cake about 1 hour or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean and the cake is golden brown. Run a table knife between the cake and pan to loosen the cake. Set the serving dish on top of the cake and invert the plate and leave for 4 – 5 minutes to allow the fruit to settle. Gently lift the pan from the cake and serve. You can take the tip of a paring knife and gently lift the edges of the fruit up a little to enhance the fruit.

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Photo © Gay Cook 2012