Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake ~ A Husband's Redemption

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I'm feeling a little bad about my last post and rubbing in my "Pork Tenderloin Throwdown" victory against my husband.

My husband is in fact an excellent cook ~ one who spends a lot of his spare time fine-tuning technique in the kitchen.  For instance... his knife skills are superb and his pies from scratch - spectacular!  His sauces at times resemble those of a 'Master Saucier' and when he grills outside...it's a perfectly choreographed show!

So WHAT pray tell went wrong the other day? There's a perfectly good explanation...

You know in Bravo's Top Chef when one of the contestants gets overzealous and decides (though not expected to) they're going to make TWO dishes as oppose to ONE. The contestant thinks that by offering two plates to the judges, they're exhibiting an unmatched courage and confidence in the kitchen that will certainly seal their win!

What usually happens? You guessed it...one...if not not both dishes....leave something to be desired...creating the exact opposite reaction than what the contestant intended...

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I can hear the Top Chef  judges now (in all their distinct voices)...

Padma: "Why two dishes?"
Tom: "He was clearly trying to bring it tonight...but his plan...backfired."
Gail: "I want to give him credit for attempting two dishes, but tonight, it just didn't work."
Eric: "You do one dish and you do it right, no excuse."
Anthony: "What the hell is this crap?! I've eaten better food off the underside of a snake's testicles!"

So that explains it. While I concentrated on one dish (the Pork Satay Skewers) my husband prepared two - his "throwdown dish" AND this Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. Clearly his pork succumbed to the mercy of this delectable dessert that is baked in a cast iron skillet and calls for cardamom  - a pricey somewhat unexpected ingredient.

Had my husband challenged me to a "Cake Throwdown"...this Pineapple Upside-Down Cake clearly would have taken home the blue ribbon!

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Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
Gourmet, February 2000

For topping:
1/2 medium pineapple, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cored
3/4 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

For batter:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 to 3 teaspoons ground cardamom (see cooks' note below. He did 1 tsp cardamom and 1 tsp cinnamon -perfect!)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon dark rum
1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
2 tablespoons dark rum for sprinkling over cake

Special equipment:
a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet

Preparation:
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 on top of sugar mixture in concentric circles, overlapping pieces slightly.

Make batter:
Sift together flour, cardamom, 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 stuck to bottom of skillet. Sprinkle rum over cake and cool on plate on a rack.

Serve cake just warm or at room temperature.

Cooks' notes:
•Some of the food editors found 3 teaspoons of cardamom to be too much, but others loved the intense flavor.
•Cake may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before serving.

12 comments:

Courtney said...

Oh jeez - this looks fabulous! What a wonderful baker, than husband of yours.

By the way, this post cracked me up. You are just too darn funny, and your posts are so fun to read. :)

The Food Hound said...

Underside of a snake's testicle!! LOVE IT!! Way to go giving the hubs some props for the cake :) The BH does not bake-- wish he did so I could come home to something warm from the oven!

Simply Life said...

that cake looks perfect and so lovely with the flowers!

Joanne said...

You are spot on with your top chef imitations...and that snake testicle line had me REELING. Love it.

Definitely a super sweet post though! And the upside down pineapple cake sounds amazing...especially with the surprise cardamom addition!

Jenn said...

LOL.. That sounded exactly like something Anthony would say!! lol The cake looks wonderful.. your husband did a fantastic job with it! I wish I could get Chris in the kitchen to do more than heat up pizza rolls!!

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

You totally nailed the Top Chef judges :) This cake looks amazing, I adore the staging you've done in the photo. Looks like a great bed & breakfast brochure. Are you accepting reservations for 2???? I promise I'll help you cook :)

Katerina said...

I think your husband has a most devoted fan among family members and that ahows how much you love him and appreciate him. Keep these two forever in your heart. The pineapple cake indeed looks fabulous!

Mary said...

This sounds wonderful. I've never made the cake using fresh pineapple and it now sounds like a must try. I wonder if you could sell that line to Bourdain? Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Stephanie Savors the Moment said...

YUUUMMM! I love Pineapple Upside Down Cake - how fabulous you have a husband who can make it - I am jealous! It's always fun to be a little competitive in the kitchen - keeps things interesting:) Cheers!

Ashley @ the fit academic said...

Yum! Pineapple is one of my all-time favorite foods ever! Any way shape or form!

Magic of Spice said...

Wow, your husband sure made up for it with this one. Looks fantastic :)

Jessica said...

It looks like he redeemed himself. Yum!