It seems that this cake was invented somewhere between the late 1920's or early 1930's. One of Jame Dole's (of Dole Pineapples) engineers invented a machine that would core and slice pineapples. Soon, canned pineapple became a pantry staple in American homes-- and thus, the Pineapple Upside Down Cake was created. That's what I read on the internet, so it must be true!
I love fresh pineapple, and one of my favorite snacks is pineapple and cottage cheese. I could eat that every day, and be content. On our recent trip to Hawaii, I was always happy to see pineapple as a garnish with my breakfast (and, with a few of the Mai Tai cocktails that I enjoyed).
This weekend, we had our friends over for a very casual dinner. I wanted to cook whatever I found in our freezer and pantry. I thawed some pork ribs, so Craig grilled his perfect ribs. I doctored up leftover barbecue sauce with homemade pineapple jam, honey and teriyaki sauce. While I was at it, I made a quick slaw using a can of crushed pineapples and lite coconut milk that I found in the pantry.
I wanted to use a cast-iron skillet, because I've seen this cake made that way. All I had to do was separate three eggs. The egg whites were whipped till fluffy, then set into a separate bowl.
Don't faint, because that is one stick of butter you see melting. Next came one cup of brown sugar and some dark rum (you can use pineapple juice instead of rum). Whisk it all together and now for the cake batter.
In a cake mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar until fluffy. I added a combination of rum and pineapple juice, because I didn't want to overdo the rum flavor. Next, comes flour, baking powder and salt. Last, the egg whites are gently folded into the batter. Done!
Spread the batter evenly. An off-set spatula makes this easy to do.
I think Pineapple Upside Down cake is best served slightly warm.
It's even better with a dollop of fresh whipped cream.
TASTING NOTES: I'd love to see this cake make a modern come back. Nowadays, a pineapple corer-slicer makes serving fresh pineapple a really simple job. I wondered if this cake wouldn't be as good, using canned pineapple. I can tell you, that once you taste that buttery-caramelized pineapple, you really can't tell if it's fresh or canned. Honest. Not one person skipped eating the maraschino cherry. The cake was moist, and wasn't mushy at all from the juice. If anything, I think that the butter and brown sugar ratio could be reduced by about 25%. Nobody complained. In fact, everyone liked the cake a lot. Best of all, they couldn't believe how fast I whipped this cake up.
The next day, the cake was still good, though it wasn't warm. I don't think I'll wait another 25 years to make this again.
By the way, I think I perfected the art of making the perfect Mai Tai. I'll have to test a few more, on friends and family, just to be sure. Once I do, it'll be on the blog. Can you tell that Hawaii is still very much on my mind?
A printable recipe card is at the end of this post. Recipe is very slightly adapted from Creative Culinary.com.