Monday, February 22, 2010

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Pineapple Upside Down Cake - made February 21, 2010 from All-Butter, Fresh-Cream, Sugar-Packed Baking Book by Rosie’s Bakery

I don't make pineapple upside-down cake that often or hardly at all. In theory it sounds good but I still have that no-fruit-desserts barrier that can usually only be overcome by apples, bananas or oranges but not really pineapple. I love fresh pineapple by itself and eat it often. But I'm opposed to pineapple in carrot cakes and other desserts. I make an exception for pineapple upside down cake because it's an outside layer of the cake, not within the cake itself. In case you haven't noticed, I have all sorts of preferences, rules and exceptions to those preferences and rules. What can I say, I'm quirky and capricious as well.

This cake was extremely easy to make - you just have to plan ahead a little since it calls for draining the canned pineapple for several hours. I put the pineapple to drain when I got home yesterday afternoon and made a different cake and a cookie dough before I started on this cake. By then, several hours had passed so it worked out well. Overall, this cake is pretty good, especially the cake part. I found the topping a bit too sweet for me, from both the natural sweetness of the pineapple itself to the brown sugar topping. On a next attempt, I might use pineapple slices instead of chunks as they're thinner and may not have such a lot of sweetness in every bite.

¾ cup (lightly packed) light brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 ½ cans (20 ounces each) pineapple chunks, drained, patted dry with paper towels, then wrapped in more paper towels, and set in a bowl for several hours

1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
½ cup buttermilk, at room temperature

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
2. For the topping, mix the brown sugar, salt and butter in a medium-size bowl with a spoon. Add the pineapple and toss the chunks in the mixture.
3. Spread the topping evenly in an 8-inch square pan and set aside.
4. For the cake, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together into a small bowl.
5. Cream the butter, ¾ cup of the granulated sugar, and the vanilla in a medium-size mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer once or twice to scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula.
6. Add the egg yolks and beat the mixture on low speed until they are incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape the bowl.
7. With the mixer on low speed, add half the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and blend just until incorporated, about 10 seconds. Scrape the bowl. Add the buttermilk and mix on low speed for about 8 seconds. Scrape the bowl. Fold in the rest of the dry ingredients by hand, then turn the mixer to low for several spins. Scrape the bowl.
8. In another medium-size mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites on medium-high speed until frothy, about 15 seconds. Gradually add the remaining ¼ cup sugar and continue beating the whites to soft peaks, about 15 seconds more.
9. Stir one-third of the whites into the batter with a wooden spoon, to loosen the mixture. Fold in the remaining whites with a rubber spatula.
10. Spread the batter evenly over the pineapple and place the pan on a rack in the oven just below the center. The higher heat allows the topping to caramelize better. Bake the cake until the top is golden and springs back to the touch, and a tester inserted in the center comes out dry, about 50 minutes.
11. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool for about 2 hours. Run a frosting spatula around the sides and turn the pan upside down onto a plate.

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