Don't be like me.
To my knowledge, no one is actually aspiring to be like me (to justify why, refer to the episode of the Melancholy Aubergine, which I like to consider a lowpoint in my mental health record) so this shouldn't be too difficult for most of you.
Let me specify. Don't make a ten inch cake in an seven inch cake pan. Don't eat all your leftover pineapple (yum, pineapple) before catching on to this fact. And DON'T, whatever you do, use a loosebottomed cake pan rather than a solid dish for a cake with a layer of caramel at the bottom.
'Ohh,' you say. '...But I quite like the look of all that melted, oozy caramel on that baking tray up there...'
Yeah? Well, I only caught on to put the baking tray beneath my cake tin half an hour into the baking time. Ever wondered what all that melted, oozy caramel would look like burnt black onto the bottom of an Aga oven?
Well, I'd show you , but I was too busy shutting my head into said oven and weeping at that point to photo it.
Then there was the point where I was forced to eat the rest of the dripping caramel off the baking tray - a sacrifice I am willing to make - and immediately burnt my tongue on it (karma?) and had to stick effectively my entire head under the cold tap. (At this point I took a break for a pint glass of orange squash, while wishing fervently -albeit somewhat redundantly- that it was vodka). And the point where I had to desperately hunt out some overripe peaches for a second cake, since I'd misread the tin size and had half my mixture left over, to find that my little sister had had a joyful, eureka, 'I like a type of fruit!' moment the previous day and eaten half the punnet in one fell swoop.
Well, if you insist. The difficulties were all my own fault, obviously. I suppose one could say I've learnt from experience now. There really seems no point to hold it against the recipe, after all, and... and... nomnomnom ♥.
Pineapple/Peach Upside Down Cake
Adapted from Gourmet, Feb 2000. Via Smitten Kitchen
(Adapted to metric by yours truly, as usual)
Makes one 10" cake or two 7" cakes (yeah, I don't really get the maths there) if you want to do one of each. Which obviously, I fully intended.
1/2 medium pineapple, peeled, quartered lengthways, and cored (or a punnet of peaches)
85g unsalted butter
90g light brown sugar
210g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
85g unsalted butter, softened
180g caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp dark rum
120ml unsweetened pineapple juice (I used orange as it was all I had)
2 tbsp dark rum for sprinkling over cake, which I forgot.
Special equipment: 10-inch cast-iron skillet. If you lack a cast-iron skillet of this size, make the caramel in a small pot and scrape it into the bottom of a similarly-sized cake pan. But not with a loose bottom that will leak out everywhere. Learn from my ineptitude. Something I'm not confident is a word.
Preheat oven to 180°C.
1. Make topping: Cut pineapple crosswise into 3/8-inch-thick pieces. Melt butter in skillet . Add brown sugar and simmer over moderate heat, stirring, 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Arrange pineapple on top of sugar mixture in concentric circles, overlapping pieces slightly.
2. 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, 1 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.)
3. 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 in skillet 5 minutes. Invert a plate over skillet and invert cake onto plate (keeping plate and skillet firmly pressed together). Replace any pineapple stuck to bottom of skillet. Sprinkle rum over cake and cool on plate on a rack. Serve cake just warm or at room temperature; I have to say though that personally I loved it best straight out the fridge in big hefty wedges.
I made these -two- cakes at around midday, and when I came back from work later that night and opened the fridge I found ONE piece of cake left. Which, obviously, I ate. This says more about my family than it probably should, but also a great deal about how damn good this cake is.