Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pineapple Upside Down Goodness

I wasn’t really much of a cook until a few years ago, but I have always been a baker. Baking to me is calming, it’s methodical, and it’s pleasing to all of my senses. I love mixing the batter, the smells that come from the oven, watching it bake and turn golden, and of course tasting the final product. I am making myself hungry just thinking about it!

As I mentioned, cooking in Ireland has had a few challenges in terms of getting my hands on ingredients. At first I just wouldn’t make the recipe, but as I have become more confident in the kitchen, I have been able to substitute or alter recipes to work with what I have on hand, with mostly good results.

I am a huge fan of the Pioneer Woman. If you haven’t heard of her – she really is worth checking out. This recipe is an altered version of the Pioneer Woman’s and it’s pretty darn good if I do say so myself. I am always trying to cut down sugar so I used 1 1/2 cups instead of 2 and added an extra tablespoon of pineapple juice to increase natural sweetness. Next time I think I will cut it down by another half cup.

The first time I made this cake, it was kind of a mess. I used dark brown sugar and when the cake came out it tasted beautiful and looked terrible. Dark brown sugar and butter made for a burnt looking cake! This recipe also makes A LOT of batter and I decided to load it up in my skillet, which when heated ended up on the bottom of my oven – burnt. For the record, I do not recommend this method.

I was making this cake for Girls Night (a group of 6 of us get together every Wednesday and all bring different parts of the meal) and wanted to leave a treat behind for Carl. I decided that with the extra batter I could make two mini pineapple upside down cakes. This recipe is enough to make a 9 x 13 cake or a skillet cake and two mini cakes.

2 Cups Flour
1½ Cups Sugar
2 Eggs
3 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ stick butter
¼ cup Vegetable Oil (I used sunflower oil)
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 ½ cup milk
3 Tablespoons Pineapple Juice (From the can of pineapple slices)

Combine all ingredients with hand mixer, until thoroughly mixed (be sure to scrape down the sides). Set aside.

Pineapple slices (I used can)
½ stick butter + 2 Heaping Tablespoons
1 cup Brown Sugar + two Heaping Tablespoons
Maraschino Cherries

For the large cake, I used a cast iron skillet. Melt the ½ stick butter in the skillet over medium heat. When the butter has melted entirely spread evenly around pan and pour in the brown sugar. Try to spread it evenly, without needing to stir as you don’t want to disrupt the butter.

Wait for the sugar to dissolve. Once dissolved, add pineapples and cherries.

Pour cake batter into pan over pineapples leaving at least ½ inch at the top of the pan (this I learned the hard way). Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

For the mini cakes I put a tablespoon of butter in each pan (I put scissors in to get a perspective on the size of the mini pans) and stuck it in the oven until the butter melted. Then I added one heaping tablespoon of brown sugar to each pan covering the butter and put it back in the oven for 1-2 minutes until sugar began to dissolve.

These mini cakes only needed one pineapple and one cherry each. Then cover with batter and put in the oven. I found these smaller cakes only needed 22-24 minutes.

Removing the cakes should be simple because of all of the butter; however, running a toothpick or knife along the edge of the cake will help free it before the flip.

Once flipped, marvel at your creations and pick at the yummy butter and brown sugar concoction left in the pan until the cake is cool enough to try. Enjoy!

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