Wednesday, October 20, 2010

One Layer Tropical Upside Down Cake

It's a rainy, cold day here at Chez Green.  Something cozy seemed in order, something to serve with hot tea.  I started out with a simple yellow cake from Mark Bittman's wonderful book How To Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food, but Jim started yelling ideas in from the den, and then I added to those.  The cake is still based on "Golden Layer Cake" from Bittman's book, and was limited by what I had in the pantry (if I had planned the cake, I would have added coconut, used pecans instead of walnuts, and mixed the pineapple into the batter and frosted it with a cream cheese frosting).  I only made one layer because there's only 2 of us in the house, and my layer cakes always look tired and a little drunk.  It's not out of the oven yet, so I'll give you taste details and a picture then.  If it looks awful, it will probably become a trifle!

  •  5 T softened butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling on the pineapple (I always find cake recipes come out too sweet.  If you don't find that, add up to another 1/3 cup sugar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t baking soda
  • 1/8 t salt
  • 1/4 c milk (I use half and half because that's all we had in the house)
  • 1/4 cup passion fruit juice
  • 1/2-1 c walnuts
  • most of a 20-oz can of pineapple tidbits (if I'd had rings, I would have used them)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter a 9-in cake pan, then put a piece of waxed paper on it and butter that as well.  Too late, I realized Bittman's recipe also said to flour said pan, so you might want to do that also.  Drain the pineapple, and arrange the pineapple on the bottom of the cake pan.  Sprinkle a tiny amount of sugar on the pineapple in hopes of making it caramelize real pretty.

Beat the butter, then add the sugar and mix until creamy.  Add the eggs.  In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together.  Don't do what I did in my enthusiasm and add the walnuts now.  Save them until the end.  Add to the egg mixture alternating first with the passion fruit juice, then with the milk, until blended.  Don't mix the juice and the milk together, or the juice will curdle the milk.  Add them to the batter separately.  Add the walnuts and stir everything just until mixed.

Gently pour the cake batter into the cake pan.  If by some weird chance you have batter leftover, pour into a small loaf pan or cupcake pan, or give it to an enthusiastic spoon licker.  Tap the cake on the counter a little to settle it, and bake it for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

I'll pop pictures in, no matter how terrifying, when it's out of the oven.  The batter tasted great.

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