Monday, July 18, 2011

sunday sweets {pineapple upside-down cake}

This Thursday is Jacob's birthday so I wanted to bake something this weekend in honor of him. He once told me his mother used to make him a pineapple upside-down cake for his birthday every year, so I thought it would be fitting. I had never made one before, and it's been a long time since I've even eaten one, so I was excited for something different.

We all remember the nostalgic canned pineapple upside-down cakes of our childhood, but I wanted to do something a little different. I found this recipe in our Ad Hoc at Home book which is amazing! Sometimes Thomas Keller's recipes can be a little intimidating, but this book makes them seem achievable for a cook at any level. Plus, as with any of his books, it's absolutely beautiful.

For pan schmear:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon dark rum
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract
Kosher salt
1 Gold (extra -sweet) pineapple

For the cake:
1 1/3 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle, combine the butter, honey, rum, sugar, and vanilla, and beat until smooth and well blended. Spread 1/3 cup of the schmear over the bottom of a 9-inch silicone cake pan. Sprinkle lightly with salt. (The remaining schmear can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 1 month; bring to room temperature before using.)

Cut top and bottom from pineapple, and cut away peel. Cut pineapple lengthwise into quarters, and cut off core from each section. Cut each piece crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Beginning at the perimeter of the pan, make an overlapping ring of pineapple slices with the curved side facing out. Make a second ring inside the first one, overlapping the slices in the opposite direction, working toward the center of the pan. Reserve any pineapple for another use.

Sift flour and baking powder together; set aside.

Put butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle and mix on low speed to combine, then beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until light and creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary. Mix in vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating until the first one is incorporated before adding second and scraping down the sides as necessary. Beat in milk. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, beating just until combined.

Pour batter into pan and spread over pineapple. Bake for 15 minutes. Rotate the pan for even browning and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until a cake tester or wooden skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool cake in the pan on a cooling rack for 20 to 30 minutes.

Run a knife around the edges of the cake, invert onto a serving platter, and serve warm.

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