Saturday, December 24, 2011

Brown Butter Pineapple Upside-down Cake

This Christmas I decided to forgo homemade gifts and leave that to artisans more experienced than I.  Although I love turning out a homemade present, this December was just too fraught with work (and by work I mean my day job, not food or writing related at all) to do that.  It was frustrating at first, having to relinquish what you so want to do, for something you have to do, but I soon enjoyed the extra time this gave me.

Time to get all the work I had done without losing too much sleep.  More time to get together with friends and family.  More time with little C doing anything and nothing and just being.  Time for movie dates with C. More time to connect with people.  Time to dream about what I will be making next for next Christmas :)

Sometimes, when you consciously let go, instead of thinking that something is being taken away from you, it can make all the difference.

I did manage one homemade gift this year.  Made today, right before Christmas Eve, so it’s freshly baked.  Pineapple upside down cake for my dad.  It’s quite a throwback I know, always skirting the line between retro and all out kitsch, but it’s my dad’s favorite so I’ll keep making it for him for as long as he wants.

Brown Butter Pineapple Upside-down Cake
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened not melted
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 6 pineapple rings
  • 115 grams butter
  • 150 grams sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 70 grams flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Spread the softened butter on the base of an 8-inch cake pan.  Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the butter.  Arrange the 6 rings of pineapple on top of the sugar.  I usually do 5 around and one in the middle, cutting the middle one a bit if it doesn’t fit.  Set aside and get on with your batter.
- Melt the butter in a skillet until browned (not burned!), with a warm nutty aroma. You can find a fantastic tutorial on browning butter over at Simply Recipes. Strain and set aside to cool.  I do this by placing the bowl of browned butter over another bowl with ice.  I let it cool until the butter gets a little bit thick again, like a golden syrup.  In this state it smells so good you may forget about the rest of your baking – fair warning.
- Whisk the sugar with the egg. In another bowl, whisk your flour and baking powder together, then add to the egg mixture. Add the (cooled) brown butter and whisk until just combined. Pour the batter over the prepared pineapples in the pan.  Place the cake pan on a cookie sheet to catch any over enthusiastic butter sputters.
- Bake in a 180C (350F) oven for 40-50 minutes or until a pick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Remove the pan from the oven and loosen the sides of the cake with a small sharp knife.  Place a plate over the cake pan and, using oven mitts or a kitchen town (hot sugar beware!), quickly and confidently flipped the pan over so you cake is now on the plate.  Keep the pan on the cake for a few minutes so all the buttery, sugary juices drip down onto your cake.  Remove pan and enjoy!

This isn’t the pineapple upside down cake of my childhood.  Instead of using the mild, slightly stodgy cake I usually use, I decided to try this brown butter cake recipe (adjusted slightly).  The resulting cake is wildly rich…almost like candy.  I wanted to depart from my old “caramelly top layer + plain jane white cake” combination that I had been making and this version does just that.  This is not for the sugar and butter shy, let me just forewarn!  It does not make for the prettiest cake either.  But if achingly sweet caramelized crusts and buttery moist cakes are up your alley, then you may just be up for this.

The cake is cooling on the dining room table as I type.  C and little C are napping.  The city, for now, is quiet and peaceful.  Our Christmas tree is small but sassy and presents are strewn all over.  The mess can wait until after New Year.  I’ll be presenting my dad with his cake at Christmas dinner tonight.  Life may not be perfect, it never is, but I am so very happy where I am.  I wish the same for all of you!  A very Merry Christmas to you and yours…may you be doing what you love with those you love this Christmas weekend!!


Mom-Friday said...

Merry Christmas Joey! ooh....yes, i like the sweet crust and buttery goodness of this version! I hope I can find time to make this soon :)))

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A delicious cake! i've always loved it.

Merry Xmas!



MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Such wisdom, it's not taken away, just let go ... time to do nothing with those you love, that's the best ... well it's right up there with this pineapple upside-down! Both are excellent!
Happy Holidays!

Ling said...

Blessed Christmas to you and your loved ones, Joey! Here's to a fabulous 2012!!

betty said...

it looks so moist and delicious when I made my upside down cake it turned out really different but I try your recipe

Paz said...

Yum!!! Merry Christmas!

Midge said...

I actually miss my mom's take on this dessert; she rarely ever makes it anymore. I hope you had yourself some Happy Holidays, Joey. :D

Katrina said...

My dad loves Pineapple Upside Down Cake, too, and you can't find it anywhere anymore. So my sister baked it for him (like you did, your dad) one Father's Day. :-)

I hope you're having a blessed and joyful Christmas season, Joey! And eating loads of delicious food, your cake included!

ChichaJo said...

Hi Mom-Friday! Merry Christmas to you too and all the best for the New Year! This version is really sweet and buttery...hope you like it!

Hi Rosa! Happy holidays to you!

Hi Tanna! Sometimes it's all in the way you look at it...and taking the time to relax and appreciate things :) Happy holidays!

Hi Ling! Hope you had a great Christmas and best wishes for the New Year!

Hi Betty! I changed the usual cake recipe I use for this for a more buttery one :)

Seasons Greetings to you Paz! :)

Hi Midge! This is such a homespun sort of cake right? :) And very nostalgic for a lot of people! Hope you had a lovely Christmas and a happy New Year to you and your family!

Hi Katrina! Nice coincidence :) This cake is so nostalgic in its very essence I think, and although it isn't very "trendy" to make it is always so appreciated when it's around :) Hope your holidays were equally wonderful and filled to the brim with deliciousness!

Maria said...

I really want to try this - it looks and sounds delicious!

Maria xx

Anonymous said...

This looks great! I love food blogs!!! Have you checked out Katie Girl Cooking?

Here's the link:

Tv Food and Drink said...

Well, I just asked my better half if he'd like me to make this for him, and he declared his dislike of the pineapple. So I will have to wait because if I don't have someone to give most of it away to, I'll swallow the fucker whole! Happy New Year! - Gary

Mich said...

This looks fantastic! So refreshing to see pineapple on a blustery and cold winter morning.

love cooking said...

It seems a little too buttery for me. But it really looks so delicious. I love the brown sugar sweet caramelized surface. Have to give it a try. :)

Honey for Jam said...

Delicious! Can't wait to try this one!

cecile said...

in the oven...can't resist not trying it after i've gone back looking at the pictures again and again and again.:-) hope it turns out just like yours.

Rico said...

Hello, Joey! My wife baked this a few days ago and it was just glorious! Shared the recipe too in my FB account. Thank you so much.

ChichaJo said...

Thanks everyone! :)

Rico, glad you and your wife enjoyed it! :)

cuucakestoronto said...

WoW! Such a delicious cake! I also love it. This is yummy post for me..

Cupcakes toronto

Anonymous said...

do you even realise what a crime you have done- this is a staple in my house now!
my cake hater husband devour is indeed like candy- just melts in your mouth.
Thanx a ton for this awsome recipe

Mags said...

Made this today....OMG it was so good and so easy!!! Thank you for the recipe.

Anonymous said...

Looks so delish!! I am going to attempt this tomorrow. Is it the type of cake that needs to be eaten the same day as I want to make this ahead of time for Christmas.

Anonymous said...

I followed the recipe exactly and we didn't really like it. It tasted like pineapple flavored butter. Way too much butter for us.

Julie Henao said...

waiting for it to come out of the oven, it smell delicious! I also added some shredded coconut into the cake batter, we'll see how it turns out

CatherineS said...

can you give me the conversion to cups for the grams - the closest you can get as every conversion page I try gives me a different ammount. I tried the recipe and the cake part didn't raise up at all. Help please.
PS still smells and tastes great though

ChichaJo said...

Hi Catherine! Wish I could be more help but I don't have an exact conversion for this recipe...I usually also rely on researching over the web for cup-gram conversions. This cake doesn't rise that much though...hope you still enjoyed it!

mesuki said...

Just took this cake out of the oven, and it came out perfect! and from the taste of the batter.....the cake should also be delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe!! :-)

Rachel Page said...

Oh, this brings back memories... One of the first cakes we ever made together as a family when I was a kid, and still one of my favorites. :)