Sunday, December 9, 2012

Cake Me!

I was in the mood for some cake over the weekend, so figured I'd try an oldie but goodie family tradition--the pineapple upside down cake! This is a dessert my grandma used to make for us kids all the time, and was my personal favorite growing up. Problem was I didn't have a big enough cake pan to do the job. I'd always heard that the traditional method of making this classic was in a cast-iron skillet. I don't own a cast-iron-skillet, but I do have a very heavy, 12-inch Cephalon skillet that I thought might do the trick. And so I set to work on what I hoped wouldn't prove a colossal disaster.

First I melted an entire stick of butter in the skillet over a low fire. Then, I mixed in one cup of packed light-brown sugar until the entire bottom of the skillet was covered in the butter/sugar mixture. Atop this I placed around 8 slices of pineapple.

Some people use cherries, halved, to place within each pineapple slice center. My grandma never did this, so I didn't either. Perhaps next time. And like grandma, I decided to use pineapple from out of the can rather than going through the labor of cutting and coring a whole pineapple myself. After all, I didn't even know if I was wasting my time or not. So I wanted to stick as close to what I remembered from childhood as I could.

Next I combined all my dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, granulated sugar, salt . . . box of instant vanilla pudding mix!) with eggs, more butter, oil and a about a cup of pineapple juice from the can the slices came out of. I dug out my trusty old mixer and set it on medium. After around 2 minutes of this, the batter felt like just the right consistency.

Or so I thought. After pouring the batter into the skillet and over the pineapple and brown sugar, the result seemed a little too stiff for my liking. But I hoped beyond hope that this was just my paranoia taking over, and decided to risk it all. I placed the entire skillet in a pre-heated oven set at 350 degrees . . . and crossed my fingers.

Good thing the skillet has a steel handle! I let it bake for an hour, checking every 10 minutes to make sure the cake was rising the way it should be. What I saw each time was promising. It just rose and rose until the top was almost cresting the skillet's rim. Whoa!

But I'm happy to report the cake came out just fine! Take a peek for yourself:

I noticed the pineapple slices migrated quite a bit from the center during the baking process. Hmmm, will have to pack them in closer together next time, methinks. But overall the coloring and consistency came out just as I had hoped. Better yet, the skillet worked out perfectly! I never would have guessed. It does make me wonder what difference a cast-iron one might have made. I dunno.

But anyway, here is the final result:

Mmmmm. Doesn't that look simply scrumptious? Is your mouth watering yet? Maybe you'll want to click on that image to get a closer look? I know I for one can't wait to eat this! :)

I think next week I will try to make a pie for the very first time. Blueberry is my favorite, but I was thinking of going traditional American and making an apple pie as my first try. I will be making everything from scratch, including the crust. *meep* Wish me luck!


  1. Well, that looks pretty darned good, David. We don't bake half as much as we should, but am planning to make banana bread today.

  2. Arrrgh! Darn you! Now I am craving cake and I've already had my alotted "cheat sweet" for the day! It looks delish and I'm sure it is. Nice job, D! :)

  3. Looks great David. Hubby would have loved it, especially if you served it with custard. I personally think canned pineapple works better anyway.
    Oh and just so you know.. I am the Apple Pie Queen!

  4. Looks yummilicious David! I use a cast iron skillet and I swear by it. It was my great-grandma's, passed down through the ages like some long held family fortune. Yep, we're a bunch of foodaholics. Obviously.

    I like the cherries but I add them after the cake is baked so that they give a burst of color more than anything else. I don't half 'em - I go for broke. Full size.

    Waiting to hear about the pie:D They are so much easier than people think.

  5. Ian -- I love banana bread! My aunt used to make it all the time and would even send two or three loaves express mail to Vermont when I attended college there. How did yours turn out?

    Yvonne -- It was very delish indeed! Yum! I forgot how good this cake is . . . and how much I love it! :)

    Sprite -- Yeah, I see nothing wrong with canned pineapple. I scanned the ingredients and nutritional label, and it's nothing but pineapple in its own juice. Nothing else added. So I don't see the big fuss, and definitely won't turn my nose up to using it again. For eating, though, I'm still addicted to fresh cut pineapple, chilled.

    Kim -- Eventually I will get a cast iron skillet. It's required in several dinner recipes I've been dying to try out. I think I'll try baking the cherries along with the pineapple next time for this cake. I am concerned about the color, but I think marachinos will retain enough red through the baking process. If not, I'll try it your way another time. :)

    Oh, and I will be using your crust recipe for the pie. Seems easy enough!

  6. Great job with the cake. It looks delicious. I am more of a cheesecake and flan kinda girl. :)

  7. Cheesecake and flan. Flan and cheesecake. Yeah, yeah. And cheese Danish, don't foget that! :) Methinks you need to expand your dessert card, missy!


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