March 4, 2011

Crack Cake aka Pineapple Upside Down Cake Reinvented

Lately I've got a case of the winter blues. I thought Portland was going to skip over its rainy storm weather since we've had a very mild winter thus far. But after 5 years I should have known better 'cause we've been getting slaughtered lately. It's enough to make a girl start looking at last minute plane tickets outta here and spend long periods of time dreaming of warm sun and fruity drinks. So when I saw a large pineapple display at the store this week I thought, well, it's a start. I got that pineapple home and starting chopping it up only to realize it's not quite pineapple season and that sucker was tart. Like lip puckering, tawlk lawk dis tawt. So I immediately thought what if I made a pineapple upside down cake, not like the ones of olden days with canned pineapple and maraschino cherries, but a really amazing fresh and well done version.

I went in search of a recipe and whaddya know that wonderful blog
Smitten Kitchen had a perfect recipe, yup, of course it did. And it just so happened I had all the ingredients I needed at home. Any recipe that starts with a homemade caramel is aces in my book and this one did NOT disappoint. I took it out of the oven and the smell was intoxicating. I waited until it was just cool enough, slapped some vanilla ice cream on a slice, and immediately proclaimed (to no one at all) "that's some crack cake right there!". This is going to make many a reappearance come pineapple season. Mark my words.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Smitten Kitchen


1/2 medium pineapple, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cored
3/4 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon dark rum
1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
2 tablespoons dark rum for sprinkling over cake

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Make topping: Cut pineapple crosswise into 3/8-inch-thick pieces. Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add brown sugar and simmer over moderate heat, stirring, four minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a 9" cake pan. Arrange pineapple on top of sugar mixture in concentric circles, overlapping pieces slightly.

Make batter: Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in granulated sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and rum. Add half of flour mixture and beat on low speed just until blended. Beat in pineapple juice, then add remaining flour mixture, beating just until blended. (Batter may appear slightly curdled.)

Spoon batter over pineapple topping and spread evenly. Bake cake in middle of oven until golden and a tester comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cake stand for five minutes. Run a knife around the edges to loosen the cake. Invert a plate over cake pan and invert cake onto plate (keeping plate and pan firmly pressed together). Replace any pineapple stuck to bottom of pan. Sprinkle rum over cake and cool on plate on a rack.

Serve cake just warm or at room temperature. And add some vanilla ice cream, you won't regret it.

Do ahead: Cake may be made one day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before serving.


Caramel making and nesting


Batter making


Some rum for sprinkling on the final cake


Pretty as a picture

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