Life is full of surprises. Like when my 11-year old chose Pineapple Upside-Down Cake for her birthday this week. It's not your typical kid birthday cake fare. Where's the chocolate? Where's the sprinkles? Where's the purple dinosaur? Oh, wait. She's 11. Nevermind.
Perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised. I'm pretty sure she came out of my womb as a full-fledged 13-year old. She had attitude. She had style. We ate Chinese food together. Why wouldn't she want a grown-up, retro-inspired piece of the past?
I found this particular recipe by Paula Deen and I have to say, it had me at buttermilk. In my opinion, any baked good recipe containing buttermilk is a guaranteed winner. Despite growing up in a family that avoided butter, eggs and any other type of saturated fat at any cost, I followed (most of) the recipe. Do you see that brilliant yellow color? That's from 2 sticks of butter and five eggs. Sigh. It really is the most delicious thing.
After creaming all the good stuff together, alternate the buttermilk and the flour mixture.
This keeps things from getting too lumpy.
Once your batter is complete, prepare the pan. First with non-stick spray and flour. Then with brown sugar (I used less than the original recipe.) Then with more butter.
Next comes the fun part - making that beautiful pineapple design.
Top the bottom (or is it the top?) with the batter, half in each pan.
Another tip: Bake the cakes on a jelly roll pan so that
when if they bubble over, your oven doesn't billow with smoke from the sugary pineapple juices that have turned into a black, solid crust on the bottom of the oven. Ahem.
After the cakes have cooled for roughly 20 minutes, invert them on a serving platter, stacked two high. I like to put parchment around the edges to keep the platter clean while I frost. But that's just me.
Frost with Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting. Yes, I even found a way to get my favorite cream cheese frosting onto pineapple upside down cake.
I have to admit.
Even in the year 2014, rings of pineapple with maraschino cherry centers is still a beautiful thing!
Adapted from Foodnetwork.com
3 cups cake flour
1 cup butter, softened
2 1/4 cups sugar
5 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 20-ounce cans pineapple slices in juice (reserving juice)
Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting (See Below)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and lightly dust with flour.
In a large bowl, beat 1 cups butter until creamy. Gradually add the sugar, beating until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Stir in vanilla. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix dry ingredients. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, alternating with the buttermilk.
Sprinkle 1/2 cup brown sugar in each round pan. Drizzle 1/4 cup melted butter in each pan. Arrange pineapple slices on top, adding a cherry in the center of each.
Pour equal amounts of batter in each pan.
Place cake pans on a jelly roll pan and bake for 40 -45 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for 10 - 20 minutes
To assemble, place four thin strips of parchment on a serving platter, leaving the center open. Invert the first cake onto the serving platter making sure that the parchment is sticking out of the sides. Allow time to cool. Invert second cake directly on top of first cake.
When both cakes are completely cool, frost the sides only with pineapple cream cheese frosting.
Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting
1 stick butter
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
2 Tablespoons pineapple juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Cream butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add pineapple juice and salt. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until smooth.
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