Friday, October 19, 2012

Pineapple Rum Upside-Down Cakes

Today I'm re-visiting Pineapple Upside Down Cake, that old stand-by and household favorite originating in the 20s and popularized in the 50s.  It appeared on many a dessert and pot-luck table all across America for decades.  It was an easy cake baked in a skillet that, once inverted, impressed everyone with its glistening sweet pineapple and bright red cherries.

This isn't your mom's Pineapple Upside Down Cake.  I thought I'd do something a little different and fun with it so I used fresh pineapple, skipped the cherries, added some booze and made individual servings.  The cake is very tender and moist with a touch of rum to liven up the party.  The topping is the usual brown sugar and butter blend but with a splash of rum, a 1/2 vanilla bean and a pinch of salt.  The tart acidic fruit is bathed in the traditional caramel flavor just as before but with a bit of depth and a little contrast added.  The aroma is big and inviting.

Next time you'd like a little flashback to another era but with a modern twist, have a slice of this rum version.  It's an especially good treat to warm your spirits on a chilly night.

Bench notes:
- You'll need a medium-sized fresh pineapple or about 20 oz if you prefer to use canned.
- I use a large ice cream scoop to portion the batter.
- The recipe could just as easily be made into one 9" cake to serve 8 people.  Bake for about 45 - 50 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
- This cake would also be great topped with fresh pear or apples.

Pineapple Rum Upside-Down Cakes
Serves 6

2 oz (4 T) butter
1/2 vanilla bean
3/4 C brown sugar, packed
2 T rum
pinch salt
2 C chopped pineapple

1 1/2 C flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
4 oz (8T) butter @ room temperature
3/4 C granulated sugar
2 eggs @ room temperature
2 T rum
1 1/2 t vanilla
1/2 C milk @ room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease the sides of six 4 1/2" diameter ramekins.

To make the topping, place 2 oz of butter in a saucepan.  Split and scrape the seeds from vanilla bean and add to the butter along with the casing.  Melt the butter over low heat.  Add brown sugar and cook, whisking to combine, for about 2 - 3 minutes.  Whisk in rum and a pinch of salt and remove from heat.  Distribute evenly to each of the ramekins.  Arrange chopped pineapple on top of the sugar mixture.  Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and set aside.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt.  Combine rum and vanilla with the milk.

Beat the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition.   Add a third of the flour mixture alternately with half the milk, beginning and ending with the flour.  Mix just until blended, scraping down the bowl and incorporating everything together.  Portion batter over pineapple and brown sugar topping and spread to the edges.  Bake until golden and a test comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

Place on a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes.  Invert the cakes onto serving dishes and cool.  Serve warm or at room temperature.


Elly McCausland said...

I love pineapple upside down cake! But these individual versions are just wonderful. Love the addition of rum too. Those pictures really make me want to grab a spoon and a scoop of vanilla ice cream... said...

Wow! I love pineapple upside down cake! Great post. I wonder if I could use a cupcake tin instead?

pastry studio said...

Elly, I think you've got the right idea!

pastry studio said...

Sandie, you could use a cupcake tin. It would make quite a few, though, and you probably want to be careful getting them out of the pan! Watch the baking time closely. I would start checking after about 14 minutes or so. Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

Can you tell me the height of your ramekins? I have 4 1/2" diameter ramekins, but I know there are taller ones than I have. What did you use?

pastry studio said...

Thanks for your question, Anonymous! My ramekins are 4 1/2" x 2". But you can use what you have because the portioning will be the same.

For others, just remember that if the diameter of your ramekin is smaller, the cake is denser and will take a couple minutes longer to bake.