From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...A group I belong to had a themed luncheon today. Our goal was to recreate an Easter dinner as it would have been served in the 1950's. Those of you who came of age in the 50's would view the meal as retro. The canned ham and pineapple upside-down cake would be dead giveaways. Those of you who were not yet born would consider the meal to be REALLY retro. By luck of the draw, my contribution ended up being the upside-down cake. I used a Better Homes and Gardens recipe, well-known to housewives and young cooks of the time, and because I had made it before I considered the cake to be easy duty. I did depart a bit from the standard presentation. The cake is usually made in a cast iron skillet. I passed on that because there were twelve of us and most skillet cakes can't feed that number of people. The recipe I used is scaled to feed a larger group and it uses a standard baking pan. However, when the finished cake is sliced, it looks like the "real" thing. For those of you who have never sampled this, a pineapple upside-down cake consists of a mosaic layer of caramelized pineapple that is topped with a single layer of yellow cake. When the cake is inverted, the caramelized fruit layer ends up on top. These skillet cakes were popularized in the 20's and 30's and they are still regularly served in some areas of the country. There are also families that make them part of their Easter dinner for nostalgia's sake. This is an easy cake to make, and, if you do not already have a recipe for one, you might want to add this version to your files. Here is how the cake is made.
Pineapple Upside-Down Coffee Cake...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
12 canned pineapple rings in juice*
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Sweetened whipped Cream
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
12 maraschino cherries
1) Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter bottom and sides of a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper. Set pan aside.
2) To make pineapple topping: Melt 1/2 cup butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir in 1 cup brown sugar. Bring to boiling over medium heat, stirring frequently. Pour into prepared pan. Drain pineapple rings, reserving 1/2 cup juice for later use. Fit 12 rings into bottom of pan.
3) In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
4) In a large bowl, beat softened butter, granulated sugar, and 1/2 cup brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Add eggs and beat until combined. On low speed, beat in half of flour mixture. Pour in reserved 1/2 cup pineapple juice and milk, beating until combined. Beat in remaining flour mixture and vanilla.
5) Spread batter carefully atop pineapple slices in pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. (If you invert the coffee cake too soon, the pineapple rings may stick to pan.) Place a serving tray or baking sheet over coffee cake; carefully invert. If any pineapple sticks to pan, gently replace on cake top. Serve warm topped with whipped cream and maraschino cherries. Store at room temperature up to 3 days. Makes 12 servings.
Cook's Note: You will need to purchase 1, 20-ounce can of pineapple slices and 1, 8-ounce can of pineapple slices for the 12 slices. There will be a few slices of leftover pineapple.
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