This pineapple upside down cake is sheer joy! Loosely inspired by the famous Pineapple cake at the St Regis Hawaii combined with my blood orange upside down cake, this cake is as delicious as it is striking! I called her Paloma.
Dear Reader, I'm going to come clean with you. The overlapping pineapple detail is a bit fiddly but can I just say that it is really worth doing? If you cannot be bothered though please just bake this cake. It has pieces of the loveliest sweet pineapple and vanilla and is wonderfully fluffy and light in texture.
I first made this pineapple upside down cake for Chinese New Year one year. Certain foods are considered lucky as Chinese New year is also a popular time to observe superstitions. I showed you a recipe for noodles (long noodles, long life) and a recipe for whole fish (the word for whole fish (魚 yú) means a surplus or overflowing of fortune and serving with the head and tail means that everything is complete) and pineapple is also lucky because it sounds like "ong-lai" in Hokkien or fortune or prosperity.
My family is varying degrees of superstitious. But they're also very practical people and don't tend to get caught up in emotions. They may be superstitious but definitely not sentimental.
Once when I was growing up I realised how less emotional they were than I. We had two cats growing up: Kitty and Otto. Otto was sadly hit by a car-he was my favourite cat and I was devastated (and still am, it remains an open wound in my heart). But Kitty was a grumpy cat that I was fascinated with but didn't love in the same way that I did affectionate Otto. However my father was strangely devoted to Kitty and would ignore Otto. It were as if he were taking sides.
Then one day we came home from school. "Where's Kitty?" my sister Blythe and I asked looking for our fluffy ginger cat who would always be skulking about the dinner table hoping for chicken bones.
My parents looked up from their dinner. "Kitty's dead. We put him down at the vet today," they said barely pausing to chew.
"Whaaat?" we exclaimed shocked. Kitty hadn't been in accident or anything, he was just getting old and my parents had picked a day to take him to a vet to be euthanised but hadn't told us so we weren't able to say goodbye to him. They were genuinely confused as to why we were upset and why we might have wanted to say goodbye to our very first pet. So superstitious yes but sentimental no!
So tell me Dear Reader, are you superstitious? Are you sentimental? Have your parents ever done something like that to you? Do you like upside down cakes?
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Golden Pineapple Upside Down Cake
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 30 minutes
- 1 large pineapple
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 160g/5.6ozs. butter, softened
- 150g/5ozs. brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2.5 cups cake flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 200ml/7flozs. buttermilk (or milk soured with 1 tablespoon lemon juice)
Step 1 - Line a 18cm/7inch springform tin on the base and sides with parchment. Preheat oven to 180c/350F. First make the pineapple top. Top and tail the pineapple and remove the hard skin from outside the pineapple. Mandolin the pineapple on setting 2 or 3 (not the thinnest). I recommend using a mandolin for a consistent thickness but you can also use a knife if you want.
Lining a tin with pineapple slices
Step 2 - Place the 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water onto boil and dissolve the sugar. Set on medium heat and gently simmer the pineapple discs until pliable-they should be done in 3-4 minutes. Drain and cool until ready to handle. Then place these on the base and sides of the lined tin overlapping. Chop the remaining pineapple and simmer until soft. Cool and drain and toss the pieces in a couple of tablespoons of the overall cake flour mixture.
Filling with pineapple and vanilla cake
Step 3 - Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla, flour, salt, baking powder, buttermilk and floured pineapple pieces and mix until just combined. Spoon on top of the pineapple lined tin and bake for 1 hour or until the centre springs back when touched. Cool and then carefully upend the cake. Serve with vanilla ice cream.