There are some weeks when I go shopping and all I throw in my cart is junk. I grab lots of cheeses (soft, creamy brie is a favorite) and crackers (wheat crackers are good for me!), ice cream (It’s for The Boy! Riiight.), some Fritos (Scoops are nice, and so salty that your lips hurt after you eat them), Nathan’s hot dogs and a tube of Crescent Rolls (who doesn’t like impromptu pigs in a blanket?).
There are other weeks when I spend more time in the produce section than in the rest of the store. Those are the weeks when the inside of my fridge looks like a rainbow and good health abounds.
That’s IF I actually prepare everything that my overly ambitious mind thought I could.
I rarely do.
I tend to overbuy fruit, and this particular week I had a beautiful pineapple sitting on the counter, its sweet, tropical aroma wafting over me every time I buzzed by on yet another mission to fish a Match Box car out of the toilet.
The pendulum of motherhood never stops swinging…
Lately, two special men in my life have been talking about fruit and cake baked together and how their mothers used to make such delights. Pineapple upside down cake would please them both, I was sure. So off I went in search of the perfect recipe.
I found it at Fine Cooking magazine! I’m posting this recipe with the link to the original because, well, I can’t do it any better. This cake was awesome and Abigail Johnson Dodge deserves many kudos. If I could put my fork down for more than 30 seconds I’d give her a high-five.
Fresh Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
by Abigail Johnson Dodge from Fine Cooking, Issue 47
FarmGirl Notes: I only have Greek yogurt in the house. For this cake I used 1/3 cup of the nonfat yogurt mixed with 1/3 cup skim milk. I used about 2 cups of diced fresh pineapple. I might also cut back on the butter/sugar caramel, but just a little. The cake itself tasted like a high-end Twinkie (or a Twinkie from the 70s).
For the caramel:
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 oz. (4 Tbs.) butter
For the fruit:
About 2 cups sliced or diced fresh pineapple without the core. Give or take – whatever fits tightly in the bottom of your pan!
For the cake:
8 oz. (2 cups) cake flour
2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
4 oz. (8 Tbs.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 tsp. finely grated orange zest
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2/3 cup plain nonfat yogurt
Heat the oven to 350°F and butter or spray the sides of an 8-inch square baking pan, preferably glass.
Make the caramel: In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar and butter and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth. Bring to a boil and pour into the prepared pan. Spread with a spatula to coat the bottom evenly -or if you’re quick, you can tilt the pan a few times and it will slide to where it needs to be. Arrange the pineapple evenly in the caramel, overlapping them slightly if your fruit is sliced. Gently press the fruit into the caramel.
Make the cake: Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt – I sift through a fine mesh strainer over a piece of parchment or waxed paper. In a medium bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until fluffy and lighter in color, about 3 min. Beat in the orange zest and vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating briefly after each addition. Sprinkle half of the flour mixture over the butter mixture and, on low speed, mix just until the flour disappears. Add the yogurt and mix until just blended. Gently mix in the remaining flour. Be careful not to overmix – this is really important! Scoop large spoonfuls of batter onto the fruit; using an offset spatula, gently spread the batter evenly in the pan. Lightly tap the pan on the counter to settle the batter.
Bake until the cake is golden brown and a pick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 min. Immediately run a paring knife around the inside edge of the pan. Set a flat serving plate on top of the pan and invert the cake. Let the inverted pan rest for about 5 min. to let the topping settle. Gently remove the pan and serve the cake warm or at room temperature.
The author claims this serves eight to ten. Ahem.