Friday, 20 June 2008

Upside Down & Back To Front

There is one important thing I have to tell you, regarding this cake.

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.

And the point where I brandished my spatula furiously at the sky, shouting to the Kitchen Gods, 'NOTHING ON EARTH COULD PERSUADE ME TO MAKE THIS CAKE AGAI---'


Well, that's certainly very convincing.

Do continue.

Yes, I see your point.

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.

For topping:
1/2 medium pineapple, peeled, quartered lengthways, and cored (or a punnet of peaches)
85g unsalted butter
90g light brown sugar

For batter:
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.


Anonymous said...

Well with all those challenges it still looks delicious! It really does!

Y said...

Haha yes, but the cake still looks gooood! I feel your pain though, having had to scrape many a thing off the bottom of the oven, quietly cursing under my breath!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Don't complain about your familly, they did leave you one all piece, out of two cakes! That's impressive!

Anonymous said...

Looks gorgeous to me. I'll have mine with a bucket of custard please! :)

test it comm said...

That cake looks great despite everything! Carameled pineapple and peaches...mmm...

Abitofafoodie said...

Looks pretty scrumptious to me... That caramel... Mmmmmm

Anonymous said...

Whoa, thanks for all the kitchen wisdom here. I will heed to all your wise words!
But, on a lighter note, it sure does look darn yummy! That's such a great combo, pineapple and peaches.
I am so impressed with your writing! You are amazing!

grace said...

i so enjoy reading your posts. your writing is so clever and laugh-inducing, and on top of that, you've got some really purdy pictures of yummy food. i'm glad you didn't let this cake get the best of you. way to show it who's the boss. :)

eatme_delicious said...

Haha sorry to hear about all your problems with this cake but it looks delicious! I had saved this recipe not too long ago to make too. Thanks for the tip about the caramel. ;)

Anonymous said...

Love the cake! Thanks for all the tips. Now I wished I knew someone who's crazy over pineapples for me to bake this gorgeous cake for.

Natasha said...

OOOOOH! I really, really want to make this! I might even try it tomorrow! Just one thing... I might sound terribly thick, but doesn't the caramel and pineapple layer stick to the bottom of the pan?

Anonymous said...

Louise and Ni will testify the effort it took me to follow this recipe... well I think it was delicious, though nowhere to your standards (ok: a massacre in comparison)
The point is, lovely cake yumyum!
Also it will please you to know I am sitting in a gale (well, inside. The gale is outside. Oh, you know what I mean) whilst you sun yourself in the South. BITTER? ME? AS IF: I WORK IN A CAKE FACTORY!