Sunday, November 24, 2013

Pineapple upside-down cake

Photo by Steve shanahan

First published Canberra Times 9 October 2013

I wonder where the family bonfires on cracker night, the aussie-hacienda style architecture and the olive green and burnt orange kitchen laminate have gone. I suspect relegated to the same place as the pineapple upside down cake and such things. 

I have a vivid memory of my aunt arriving at our house, wearing her cat-eye sunglasses andvspotted sundress, stepping delicately out of her Holden EH, Jackie O-style,clutching a Tupperware cake server. We knew what was in the cake server, the ultimate treat – the caramelised, sticky, pineapple upside down cake. Like all good housewives of the day, she had stocked up on tins of pineapple rings to make this exotic delight.

This cake is best left for a day for flavours to infuse.

½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
can of sliced pineapple rings
6 maraschino cherries
6 pecans
1 cup plain flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
3 eggs, separated
1 cup white sugar
5 tbsp pineapple juice, from the tin
1 tsp vanilla paste

Preheat the oven to 175C.
Prepare a twenty-three centimetre cake tin by adding the butter to the cake tin and placing inside the warming oven until melted, this should take a few minutes. Remove the tin from the oven and sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the butter. Place six pineapple rings evenly over the sugar and place a cherry inside each pineapple ring. Fill the spaces between the rings with a pecan.

In a medium bowl, combine sifted flour, baking powder and salt, and stir.

Using a hand mixer, in a metal or glass bowl, beat the egg whites on high until peaked. Set aside.

Using an electric stand mixer beat the egg yolks with the sugar at medium speed until light and creamy. Add the pineapple juice and vanilla extract and beat well. Add the flour mixture to the creamed butter mixture and beat together until well combined. Fold in the egg whites using a metal spoon or rubber spatula. Pour the cake mixture evenly over the fruit, and smooth off with a spatula.

Bake the cake for thirty minutes, or until the cake is golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Place the cooked cake on a wire rack to cool for ten minutes. Run a blunt knife around the edge of the cake to loosen. Invert carefully onto a plate, as the juices will run out. Serve warm with cream or at room temperature. This cake improves with age. 

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