On the heels of the peanut butter cookie success, and because I had a delectable-smelling pineapple languishing on the counter, I decided to try making a pineapple upside-down cake. Theoretically, this is the sort of quintessentially American dessert that translates reasonably well into French cuisine. I mean, it’s not all that far removed from a tarte tatin, if you think about it.
It starts with pineapple and brown sugar (cassonade in my case). Cook over medium heat until the pineapple is translucent.
You don’t want the pineapple topping to be too juicy, or the cake will come out soggy. So I poured the pineapple into a colander set over a bowl, then returned the juices to the pan to continue cooking. When the liquid began to darken and thicken, I added a little butter and vanilla and poured the caramel into my cake pan (a lovely ceramic Emile Henry dish I bought ridiculously cheap at Carrefour – France’s answer to Target).
As the caramel topping cooled, I made the cake batter. A straightforward butter cake, I creamed the butter and sugar, added eggs and vanilla, then alternated my dry ingredients (flour, salt, and baking powder) with milk. I was a little apprehensive as to how the levure chimique, with its added flour, would behave in this recipe, but how else am I going to find out?
With the batter ready and the oven preheating, I arranged the cooked pineapple slices on top of the caramel in the baking dish. I even had some left over for snacking.
I carefully spread the batter over the pineapple, so as not to disturb my handiwork. And into the oven it went, with a quick prayer to Saint Honoré.
Which appears to have worked:
The top was nice and dorée, the cake was just beginning to pull away from the sides of the baking dish, and a tester came out clean. So far, so good. Now for the upside-down part.
Voilà! Pineapple upside-down cake – good for dessert, better for breakfast!