All those upside-down cakes of yore topped with canned pineapple rings with maraschino cherries adorning the centers will seem like a bad memory after you’ve tasted this fresh pineapple version. Select a pineapple that is fragrant and has a little give when pressed. The subtle tang of the buttermilk and tender crumb are irresistible. The glistening caramel gives the cake a glorious finish. A dash of dark rum on the finished cake is a delightful touch.
Needed: a 9-inch silicone cake pan, rimmed baking sheet, wide-bottomed light-colored saucepan (such as stainless steel).
1 cup sugar
1 large ripe pineapple
For the Cake:
1 stick (8 T) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
½ t pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1 t baking powder
¼ t salt
½ cup nonfat buttermilk
1. To a heavy, wide-bottomed saucepan, add 1 cup sugar. Don’t use a dark-colored pan as you won’t be able to see the color of the caramel change.
2. Over medium heat let the sugar melt swirling pan but not stirring it.
3. When the caramel reaches a light amber color, remove it from the heat and pour immediately into the silicone pan. Carefully swirl the pan to coat the bottom. Set aside on a rimmed baking sheet. (This can be done well ahead.)
1. Cut the top off the pineapple and a slice from the bottom so the pineapple will sit upright. Quarter the pineapple.
2. Core, peel and slice into ¼” slices.
3. Arrange the slices on top of the hardened caramel, overlapping them with the flat edges pointing upward. Remember that this will be the top of the cake.
The Cake Batter: Heat oven to 350 degrees.
1. Cream the butter in an electric mixer. Add the sugar gradually and beat until the mixture is light.
2. Add the eggs one at a time and beat after each addition for 15 seconds.
3. Add the vanilla extract.
4. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together.
5. With the mixer on low speed, add half of the dry mixture to the butter mixture. Mix just until the flour disappears.
6. Add the buttermilk and mix again.
7. Add the remainder of the flour mixture and again, mix just until the flour disappears.
8. Scoop large dollops of the batter over the pineapple taking care not to disturb the arrangement of the slices. Smooth out the batter.
9. Bake until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean and the cake is golden brown (about 50 minutes).
10. Run a knife between the cake and edge of the pan. Set a serving platter on top of the pan and invert. Carefully lift off the cake pan.
Photo by Michael Kirigin
Adapted from a recipe by Margery K. Friedman