Talk about hot off the press. I just barely finished this recipe in time for the column. I am very pleased to present this new dish as it happens to be my husband, Ervin’s favorite cake! As pineapple upside down cakes go this is a bit unique. So you’re already wondering what makes it so ‘special’. First it’s baked in the best thing, a cast iron skillet! Secondly it’s totally from scratch, no mixes necessary. Thirdly I’ve placed an interesting ingredient in the bottom of the cake that will provide something interesting on the palate.
When you sit down and take the time to study these lovely cakes you’ll find that many of them use cake flour versus all-purpose. You will also note that many made from scratch recipes separate the eggs. This means they will whisk the whites into meringue and then fold the rest of the cake body into the meringues with a gentle hand.
One of my philosophy’s in culinary is to bring the family back to the dining table.
In my way of thinking this can be achieved by creating recipes that are indeed different, but not too far off the grid. Also by keeping the level of difficulty down I hope to entice more people back to the kitchen. In the old days if I opened up a cookbook and found a ‘long’ recipe I would quickly flip to the next page. When a woman works all day it can be overwhelming to come home and face a recipe that’s too intense and complicated.
Can you believe National Pineapple Upside Down cake was just this past week on April 21st! Let’s take a quick look at the history behind the cake. Originally this sweet cake was called a ‘skillet’ cake because they were prepared over fires in cast iron skillets. The first cakes started being produced sometime after 1911. This was the year that James Dole’s engineer invented the machine that could cut pineapple into rings. Somewhere between 1925 and 1930 the first recipes were seen in cookbooks. Before they used the bright maraschino cherry in upside down cakes nuts were implemented in their place.
Variations on this dessert are going to be lots of fun. Peach upside down cakes, blueberry, fig, date and apple have been found over the years. In the early days research shows that before the pineapple upside down cake there were date and fig versions. Keep in mind that dried fruits were more readily available in the ‘old’ days. Remember the story of ‘Funeral Pie?’ Well funeral pie is made out of raisins, and nothing but raisins! Why? When there was a death burial was usually within a few hours. Raisins were always in the pantry and fresh fruits were not!
In my version of pineapple upside down cake you could even try this version:
First, add another egg to the recipe. Then separate the eggs, whisking the whites as I discussed earlier. Fold the batter into the whites using a rubber spatula.
Blend and distribute over the top of the pineapple.
I hope your family enjoys my rendition of this delicious cake as much as my husband, Ervin did. It’s moist and so delicious! Enjoy the birth of spring, it’s such a beautiful time. (However you can have the pollen!) Simply yours, The Covered Dish. www.thecovereddish.com
*Note if you’d like to have a book signing in your area please contact me through the website. I can also be engaged to chef your next dinner party or speak for your organization. (PS: I bring treats!)
Pineapple Upside-down Cake
1/2 cup salted butter
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
1 cup light brown sugar
15 ounces pineapple of choice, drained & juice reserved
10-15 halved maraschino cherries
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
5 tablespoons pineapple juice
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
For pineapple layer melt butter and stir in maple extract. Place in bottom of 8-9 inch cast iron skillet. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the melted butter. Drain pineapple and lightly pat dry if necessary. Arrange pineapple in ‘design’ of choice and evenly distribute the halved cherries.
In a separate mixing bowl combine all dry ingredients, making a well in the center of the product. Add lightly beaten eggs, pineapple juice, oil, sour cream and vanilla. Mix with a spoon until thoroughly blended. Drop evenly over the top of the pineapple mixture; blending to edges of pan. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 325 degrees for approximately 40 minutes. Use a toothpick to test for doneness, remembering not to go much further than an inch. Continue baking until toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool 30 minutes and then invert the cake.
Cake should have a golden hue across entire top.
Consider placing a cookie sheet or foil under the cast iron while baking in the event it bubbles over.