The history of the Pineapple Upside Down Cake is an interesting one. The method of cooking a cake upside down is an old technique that started centuries ago when cakes were cooked in cast iron skillets. It was easy to add fruit and sugar in the bottom of the pan, pour a simple cake batter on top and put it over the fire to cook. Then flipping it over onto a plate was a natural way to show the pretty fruit and allow the juices to run deep into the cake.
The idea of using pineapple was introduced after 1911 when one of James Dole's engineers had invented a machine to cut his pineapples into nice and even rings. Following this invention the convenient and pretty pineapple rings were used in this age old technique of the skillet cake. And the addition of the maraschino cherry provided the necessary color needed to make this cake stunning.
This delicious recipe makes the perfect dessert for a special get-together with your beloved family and friends.
Yield: Serves 8
Total time: 1 1/4 hr
For topping:1/2 medium pineapple, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cored
Special Equipment: a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet
*Optional Ingredient: 1 (6-ounce) jar maraschino cherries, drained well
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Make topping: Cut pineapple crosswise into 3/8-inch-thick pieces. Melt butter in skillet. Add brown sugar and simmer over moderate heat, stirring, 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Arrange pineapple rings on top of sugar mixture in concentric circles, overlapping pieces slightly and add a cherry* in the center of each ring.
Make batter: Sift together flour, cinnamon, allspice, baking powder, and salt. Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in granulated sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and rum. Add half of flour mixture and beat on low speed just until blended. Beat in pineapple juice, then add remaining flour mixture, beating just until blended. (Batter may appear slightly curdled.)
Spoon batter over pineapple topping and spread evenly. Bake cake in middle of oven until golden and a tester comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cake stand in skillet 5 minutes. Invert a plate over skillet and invert cake onto plate (keeping plate and skillet firmly pressed together). Replace any pineapple or cherry stuck to bottom of skillet. Sprinkle rum over cake and cool on plate on a rack.
Serve cake just warm or at room temperature.
Cake may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Canned pineapple rings work fabulously if you do not have fresh on hand.