Upside Down - Everyday Baking Blog at - 82917

Everyday Baking

Upside Down 
Mar. 16, 2009 2:27 pm 
Updated: Sep. 6, 2009 12:54 am
      I always forget how much I love a good upside-down cake. They're such a great choice for a potluck or casual dinner because there's no messing about with frosting. While I usually try to use fresh or frozen fruit for most of the things I bake, I actually liked using canned pineapple for this recipe. I made a "dressed up" cake by using some of the canned pineapple juice to make a pineapple caramel sauce instead of the brown sugar-butter topping.

      I used the Pineapple Upside-Down Cake II recipe. The cake itself was a moist, buttery base with a fine crumb and a lovely hint of cinnamon. Once it was soaked with the pineapple caramel, however, it was extraordinary. It kept very well, too, and was delicious three days later with my morning coffee (yes, I did eat it for breakfast).

      Adding this step to the recipe will tack on an additional half hour or so to your total time, so don't try this when you're in a hurry. Instead of the 2/3 cup brown sugar and ½ cup butter called for in the recipe, I made the caramel using:

2/3 cup white sugar
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon butter, and
½ cup pineapple juice

      To make the caramel, add the water to a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the sugar and heat over medium-high heat. You can stir slightly to dissolve the sugar, but once the mixture comes to a boil, stop stirring: the agitation can promote crystallization, which will result in grainy caramel. You can also use a lid on your pan to speed up the boiling process, but once it's boiling, leave the lid off: all of the water needs to evaporate before the sugar can start to caramelize.

      This is one of those tasks during which you "tie your apron strings to the stove," as one of my chef instructors used to say. You don't want to walk away, because sugar changes from golden to mahogany brown very quickly—you need to watch it constantly once it begins to color. (It's also a good idea to have ice water nearby, just as a precaution. Sugar burns are extremely painful, so be careful when working with caramel.)

      Once the melted sugar has begun to change color (see photo 2, below), swirl the pan gently to redistribute the mixture. When it reaches a deep golden brown, remove the pan from the heat. Add 1 tablespoon butter and ½ cup pineapple juice: the mixture will boil furiously and foam up the sides of the pan. Once it's calmed down a little, stir the caramel and pour it into a prepared cake pan. (You can use a greased pan; I lined mine with parchment paper and greased it as well.) Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
      While the caramel cooled, I mixed the cake batter. I arranged the pineapple slices in the cake pan by cutting them in half and fanning them out; that way each cake slice gets a full half-slice of pineapple. I also used brandied cherries rather than maraschinos. Carefully scoop the cake batter onto the fruit and caramel so you don't mess up your design.

      Bake according to the recipe instructions. I always bake anything saucy—pies, cinnamon rolls, upside-down cakes—on a sheet tray so that if the sauce bubbles up over the edge of the pan, it won't drip down onto the floor of the oven and burn. (Yes, I do occasionally learn from my mistakes.) Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes before inverting the cake onto a serving plate. You can serve it while it's still warm (serving it with ice cream would be a nice touch), but I thought it tasted better at room temperature.
Sugar Cooking 1
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Sugar Cooking 2: just beginning to color
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Sugar Cooking 3: don't walk away! It gets dark fast.
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Sugar Cooking 4: nice medium caramel color.
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Adding butter and pineapple juice: it'll spit and foam up the pan, so be careful.
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Pineapple caramel in the cake pan
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Pineapple slices & brandied cherries
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Cake slice: the caramel sauce has soaked into the finished cake.
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Mar. 16, 2009 6:58 pm
Thank you for sharing, the finished cake looks yummy. I can't wait to try this for my next gathering.
Mar. 16, 2009 7:12 pm
Yes, I had cake for breakfast too!
Mar. 16, 2009 7:34 pm
Wow! That looks fantastic. Thanks for the baking lesson. May I have some cake for breakfast, too?
Mar. 25, 2009 12:58 pm
I also like using the pineapple juice for the topping. What a simple & delicious cake that is! Wonder who invented it?
Sep. 6, 2009 12:54 am
Thought this type of recipe derived from cooking over an open fire in a dutch oven, but I'm probably wrong. Never tried an upside-down cake but now have a hankering to try one. Love brown sugar/butter recipes though the caramel might win out (no preconceived notion as far as what it will taste like.) Will probably try this while watching the NASCAR race tomorow afternoon. TIA Thanks to all here for inspiring novice dabblers to branch out and enrich our lives.
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About Me
I'm proud to say I've been an Allrecipes employee for 9 years, combining my love of the written word with my passion for food. I've worked in publishing and in the food service industry, both "front of the house" and back. I graduated from the Culinary Institute of America's Baking & Pastry program and have worked as a baker and pastry cook in Wisconsin, for a season at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, and at bakeries in Seattle. Twitter handle: @F_Crouter
My favorite things to cook
My baking career really began when I was in first grade and my family was living in Germany. Every morning my father and I would walk to the local bakery for bread and an afternoon treat, like Apfelkuchen. I love dark sour breads, baking anything with yeast in it, and anything that requires hours of patient work, like croissant and Danish doughs.
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Food we ate while camping. Animal pancakes. My mom's meatloaf. My grandfather's breakfasts.
My cooking triumphs
I think a baker's real triumph is getting to work at 4 am, day in and day out, so that there are beautiful pastries and loaves of bread on display when the bakery opens three hours later. A personal triumph was making my own wedding cake.
My cooking tragedies
Heavens! Too shameful to list: all that wasted dough, those burnt nuts, spilled milk to cry over....
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