Almost Time [Pineapple Upside Down Cake]

I have an update on my niece, baby Olivia.

She could be here as early as Thursday, May 3 or Friday, May 4!

Her early arrival would be the result of an induced labour. There are two reasons why this might happen. One, my sister’s blood pressure is high. This is a common end of pregnancy issue, but still undesirable. Two, baby Olivia is apparently gigantic. She’s the size of a baby one and a half weeks older than she is. My sister’s doctor is concerned about letting her get any bigger pre-delivery.

So my sister might be a mum in time for Mother’s Day. It’s almost time.

Lucky Peach, a professional cooking magazine with a hipster edge, ran a spotlight on mother-loved recipes for Mother’s Day.

Pineapple upside down cake was contributed by Christina Tosi, the pastry chef at Momofuku milk bar in NYC.

The sweet and acidic cake has a meringue-like quality to it because the egg-laden batter is beaten at high speed for around 10 minutes.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake
*recipe by Christina Tosi, as published in issue 3 of Lucky Peach 

For the poached pineapple:

1 pineapple, cut into 1/2″-thick rings
1/2 bottle white wine
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
3 whole green cardamom
2 Indian long peppers, or 1/2 tsp black peppercorns

Heat the oven to 350F. place all ingredients except the pineapple in a tall pot with a lid. Bring them to a simmer, dissolve the sugar and add the pineapple. Put the lid on the pot and stick it in the oven for at least 1 hour and up to 3. Flip the fruit halfway through cooking. Let the poached pineapple cool in the liquid, then fish the fruit out (make sure the fruit is fully cooled because warm fruit is more delicate and might break).

For the pineapple cake batter:

1/2 cup butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup tightly packed light brown sugar
3 eggs
1/3 cup neutral oil
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt

Heat the oven to 350F. Cream teh butter and sugars until fluffy and pale — 2-3 minutes on medium-high in a mixer with a paddle attachment. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula. Stir in the ggs, then paddle the mixtur eon medium-high for 3 minutes until its homogenous and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again.

At low speed, stream in the oil, pineapple juice, buttermilk and vanilla extract. Increase the speed back to medium-high and paddle for 4-6 minutes, until the mixture is practically white and twice the size of the original mixture. Don’t rush the process — you’re basically forcing too much liquid into a fatty mixture that doesn’t want to make room for the liquid. If you don’t diligently make sure the batter is completely homogenous (no streaks or other signs of separation), it could mean disaster in the oven. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

At very low speed, stir in the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until the batter comes together. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. If you spot any lumps of cake flour, mix for another 45 seconds.

Line a 9-inch cake pan with parchment. Arrange the poached pineapple and some glazed cherries in the bottom of the pan. Top with batter. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes (NOTE: This recipe must have been developed using a convection oven because it took this cake 55 minutes to bake in my regular oven. I suggest setting a timer for 30 minutes. If its not done, check on the cake after every additional 5-10 minutes.)


7 thoughts on “Almost Time [Pineapple Upside Down Cake]

  1. thanks for the pics and description! i tried making this cake last night, and could not get the batter to come together, even after beating it for more like 15 minutes.. i eventually gave up and cooked it, expecting disaster, but the taste was pretty amazing. it didn’t raise anywhere near as much as yours did.. i’m wondering two things–how did you incorporate the oil/buttermilk/pineapple juice/vanilla and did you have enough pineapple for two cakes? i was definitely short..

    • Hi Mary. Thanks for stopping by. I only had enough stewed pineapple for one cake. As for the other ingredients, I streamed them in one at a time and in the order the recipe advised. Key is to do it slowly, I think.

  2. thanks! i’ll definitely try this cake again.. i think the model might be almost making a mayonnaise–combining the fats into the batter slowly enough to have it emulsify.. also, the leftover poaching liquid, when mixed with cold white wine, makes a pretty excellent on-the-fly white sangria.

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