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...
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!
Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
Gourmet, February 2000
1/2 medium pineapple, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cored
3/4 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
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
a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet
Preheat oven to 350°F.
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.
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.
•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.