Coconut Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Hiver 2020
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food and drink

BY: Lucy Waverman

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake is a classic dessert. Originally made with canned pineapple, the cake is elevated and improved when made with fresh. Buy the already cored pineapple in containers. Cut the slices in half for the best look. To give this a Hawaiian feel, I added coconut, coconut milk and macadamia nuts instead of the more traditional maraschino cherries. You can use cherries if preferred. Do not let the caramel get too brown or the cake will look brown, though it will still taste exceptional. Using the cast iron pan gives the caramel a better texture and helps to caramelize the pineapple. Coconut milk separates in the can. Shake can until it comes together. Store leftover coconut milk in an airtight container up to 1 week, then freeze. The cake is best eaten in one to two days.

TOPPING
3 tbsp (45 mL) butter
½ cup (125 mL) brown sugar
¼ tsp (1 mL) salt
5 slices pineapple, peeled and cored and sliced, scant ½ inch (1 cm) thick
Macadamia nuts to fill the holes

CAKE
½ cup (125 mL) unsalted butter at room temperature
¾ cup (175 mL) granulated sugar
3 eggs
1½ cups (375 mL) all-purpose flour
1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder
¾ tsp (4 mL) salt
½ tsp (2 mL) cardamom
½ tsp (2 mL) dried ginger
½ cup (125 mL) coconut milk, whisked until smooth
½ cup (125 mL) unsweetened shredded coconut

1 Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C).

2 Melt butter in 10-inch (25-cm) cast iron skillet on medium heat and sprinkle over sugar and salt to make the topping. Cook together, stirring occasionally, until bubbling and sugar just melts, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Pat pineapple slices dry and cut in half leaving 1 whole round. Carefully place whole round in centre of the pan, using a fork, and arrange remaining half-rounds on a curve around the middle. Decorate with macadamia nuts between slices. Reserve.

3 Beat butter and sugar together with an electric mixer in a large bowl on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom and ginger. Beat one-third of flour mixture into butter mixture on low speed, alternating with half of coconut milk. Repeat, finishing with flour. Stir in shredded coconut. Spoon into skillet over pineapple, smooth top, and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.

4 Cool for 15 minutes, then, wearing oven gloves to prevent a burn, invert onto a serving plate. If any pineapple sticks, gently ease it off and place on cake. Cool.

5 Cut into slices to serve.

Serves 8

COOKING WITH CAST IRON
Renowned for producing flavours and textures no other pans provide, cast iron merits this quick guide to mastering its secrets.

SEASONING
Cast iron pans must be seasoned. Most pans today come pre-treated, but do it again. Wash the pan with a little water and dry well. Soak a paper towel with vegetable oil and rub all over the pan. Keep swabbing until the pan has a sheen. Heat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Place the pan upside down on the middle oven rack (put some foil on the rack below to catch any drips) and bake for 1 hour. Turn off the heat and let the pan cool down inside the oven. It is now ready for cooking.

SIZE
If you buy only one pan then buy a 10-inch (25-cm) pan. A 12-inch (30-cm) pan is a good size for big steaks and vegetables.

SAFETY
Remember to cover the handle when you take it out of the oven to avoid burning your hand.

WASHING
Wash with warm soapy water and dry immediately. Coat with a little oil the first few times you use it.