Saturday, August 13, 2005

Virtual 40's-70's Party: Pineapple Upside-down Cake


Oh! My first food blogging event! How exciting (ok and I'm a little nervous too!)! I am quite new to the food-blog-o-sphere, and was really not planning to join any events in the near future (just watch and learn, that was my plan), but when I heard that Megan of iheartbacon.com and Deepfry of Yum! were planning a Virtual 40's-70's Party I just couldn't resist. How fun and peachy-keen is that, right?

Another reason I wanted to join is because of this. This dish you see here, that I have made maybe a trillion times in my life. Pineapple Upside-down Cake. Just the name alone bring to mind a 50's housewife in an apron and a beehive. This is my family's bar-none favorite thing. Their's, not mine. I mean it's yummy and all, but I wanted to make things great and exotic! But no, it was always: "Can't you just make the Pineapple Upside-down Cake?" Phooey. Well, now it's payback time and this cake is going to be my ticket to virtual 50's fun!

The recipe I use, and have been using (much altered over time), is from none other than another 50's pillar of Stepfordian baking...the Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook! In fact, I have the 1950 First edition (9th printing though). Not discovered in a second-hand bookshop or book market, but handed down from a great aunt. As you can see in the picture below, it's not the newer ring-bound version. The book binding in the side has actually been worn away already, by many greasy kitchen hands no doubt. In any case, it's so kitschy it's cool. Check out the funky graphics of women in wide skirts and cinched waists, singing as they cook. Ok, nevermind that, check out the quick breads flying out of the oven! Now that was a domestic goddess!

Ok, now for the recipe. As I mentioned, over time (I have been making this since grade school, I am now 30), I have made a number of changes in the recipe. For one Betty doesn't have any butter in the cake itself. Probably to make up for the sugar and butter topping. Well, I wanted the cake more moist and buttery so adding some butter in the batter (yes! I'm down with the lingo now) did the trick. I also added more butter to the topping. You see, my family likes this cake super rich and wet and soaking with butter-y pineapple sweetness. Also, I have tried doing it with the "separating the yolks and whites bit", where you fold in the "stifly beaten egg whites" in the end (Betty doesn't do this) to make it a little lighter. Oh yeah, and I don't cook it in a skillet.

Anyhoo, enough chit-chat. Here's the recipe:

Pineapple Upside-down Cake
(adapted from Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook)

For the topping:
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup brown sugar
- Pineapple slices
- Maraschino cherries

Melt the butter (I use the microwave, maybe 20-25 seconds). Spread/pour melt-y butter on the bottom of a 9 inch pan. Sprinkle with the brown sugar, make sure it’s even. Arrange pineapples slices and cherries in “an attractive pattern” atop the butter-sugar coating.

For the cake:
- 2 eggs (separated)
- 2/3 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup butter (this may be too butter-y for regular people so you can decrease this to 1/8 cup)
- 6 tablespoon juice from the pineapple
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup sifted all purpose flour
- 1/3 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Cream butter and sugar together. Gradually beat in the egg yolks. Add the juice from the pineapple and the vanilla and beat, in all at once. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together, and beat in all at once. Do not over mix. Beat egg whites until stiff. Fold egg whites into the batter. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and stick it in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick “thrust into the center of the cake” comes out clean. Turn upside down onto a nice serving plate. Don’t remove the pan for a few minutes so all the sugar-y topping runs down over your cake (an does not stay stuck to your pan).


You may be wondering what that crazy looking picture is on the upper left hand corner on the collage above. Well, as a spin-off to this virtual party, Kevin of Seriously Good has come up with a clever little contest and that is my entry. My my, first a food blogging event, and now a food blogging contest? I'm getting quite ambitious!

So there you have it. The ubiquitous Pineapple Upside-down cake. It's always been around, though much ignored for some time, what with the advent of the elegant "supermodel" desserts. In truth, I actually love this edible 50's stereotype. It's definitely stuck by me, and gotten me things I would never have gotten just on my charm alone. So here's to you Mrs. Crocker, and to the millions of Pineapple Upside-down Cakes who are, as we speak, planning their comeback.

23 comments:

Deepfry said...

wow, this is great! it's a glistening masterpiece of sugary goodness! i have a friend who has also mastered pineapple upsidedown cake and makes it for all potlucks...he's always the star of the party. it's nice to see 1950s dishes that still have such currency.

Lori said...

I am scared of pineapple upside down cake. I'm not even all that fond of pineapples, and to have it in a cake is anxiety-inducing.

I think I've only eaten this type of cake once in my life. :-O It's incredible though how some desserts are timeless and transcend generations.

Midge said...

Hi, Joey.

That cake looks spot-on scrumptious.

Funny thing it, people either like or hate pineapple upside-down cake; there's simply no middle ground!

I think a line from Nigella Lawson describes it best: it's both divinely camp and divinely retro.

ChichaJo said...

Thanks Deepfry! I called my dad right after this came out of the oven and he said, "Yesss! I'm coming right over!"...so it definitely hasn't lost its appeal here either...

Hi Lori! Yup, the staying power of some desserts is really incredible...even when I have tried weaning my family away from it! I have been thinking of variations for this cake though, using other fruits or even just nuts...

Hi Midge! Love that line from Nigella! I think it just says it all...

ChichaJo said...

Midge, if you want to see things divinely camp and retro, check out http://seriouslygood.kdweeks.com/2005/08/does-my-blog-look-tacky-in-this.html

Midge said...

Hi, Joey.

About your question about yeast on my blog, Rustan's Supermarkets have Fleischmann's Rapid Rise and Tandaco. You can also use Hovis from Athena at Festival Supermall.

ChichaJo said...

Thanks Midge for the yeast info!

Fanny said...

This looks absolutly yummy. It makes me think an upside down pineapple cake my mother used to make.
Love
FAnny

ChichaJo said...

Thanks Fanny! Nice to know you have your own pineapple upside-down memories :-)

cindym said...

This is awesome!! It's hysterical that your dad was just as excited to eat your retro dish as mine was. What's up with that?

And oh my god, did you put Vaseline on the lens for that soft-focus cake shot? Sooo brilliant.

ChichaJo said...

Hi CindyM! Thanks for dropping by! What can I say, dads are retro by nature I guess, haha :-) And I see you noticed my "ghost-of-50's-dinners-past-dream-sequence" effect! Hehe, just used some photo effects...

ting-aling said...

I love this recipe. Easy but tasty!

chichajo said...

Hi Ting-aling! Yup, it's definitely reliable :-)

keiko said...

Hi Chichajo - I remember I made this cake when I was teenager... (well, it wasn't 50's) Yours looks so perfect, I LOVE the book too, I just can't help it everytime I see something from mid-century ;)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Keiko! Thanks for stopping by! This is definitely a cake that people remember from "back in the days" ;-) I really love the book too...lots of classic recipes actually and as you can tell, such a trip to read, especially the graphics :-)

J.R. said...

This is a wonderful dessert! I've been having this since I was a kid.

ChichaJo said...

Hi j.r.! This is really a cake that goes way back for a lot of people :-) Thanks for stopping by!

deborah said...

Wow, that is one damn fine pineapple cake youve created! its perfect and represents that period of time so well. I hope they make a permanent comeback. Infact there are probably many variations of this from country to country.

ChichaJo said...

Thanks for you nice comments Saffron! :-) In my house, at least with my family, it's like it never left, hahaha! I'd like to try out new variations...I have tried it in baby-cake form and they were great :-)

drstel said...

hi joey,
i have its twin! it's half eaten already--my kids have been working on it.
i truly enjoyed reading your post.
i think this cake qualifies as comfort food for me.

ChichaJo said...

Hi drstel! If this cake was still around it would be very happy to know that it has a twin somewhere out in the world! Like in yours, this cake doesn't last for very long in my house...it's gobbled up fast!

Glad you enjoyed this post :-)

netcook said...

Yummy yummy stuff. My friend Rick (50) loves this stuff.

ChichaJo said...

Hi Netcook! Seems like there is a lot of love out there for this oft-maligned cake! :) Thanks for droppinh by :)