You may remember that last month I made a snowball cake for my stepdad. Well, last weekend I was back in Lexington for Easter, and it just happened to be my dad’s birthday. Obviously, I needed to whip up another birthday cake!
Turns out, my dad has a fondness for pineapple upside down cake. I realized that not only had I never made one of these classic cakes, but I’m not sure I’d ever eaten one, either. So I decided to give it a shot. I wanted to try a nontraditional take on the cake, so I searched the blogosphere until I found Cook Like a Jamaican’s coconut pineapple upside down cake. And I remembered the bottle of coconut rum that Tim and I got in the Bahamas on our honeymoon. Perfect!
I actually made this cake three times because my mom decided that it would also make a good dessert for our Easter brunch. So I have few tips. First of all, the batter for this cake smells delicious and exactly like a pina colada. (You may want to have some coconut cream handy, so you can whip one up!) Second, a pineapple ring or two often sticks to the pan. Just use a fork to grab the ring and place it back on the cake – no one will notice. One of the rings on the cake in the picture stuck, and see, you can’t tell. Finally, flip the cake onto a flat plate so it doesn’t come out crooked. I used a curved plate for one of the earlier cakes, and it did not work well. The coconut pineapple upside down cake is also best eaten the day that it’s made, but it can be covered and stored for up to a day. The cake will be a bit soggy the next day, but still very tasty. Oh, and adding a scoop of vanilla ice cream doesn’t hurt either!
Coconut Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Slightly adapted from Cook Like a Jamaican
3/4 cup butter, divided (you will need the 1/2 cup to be at room temperature)
2/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
20 oz can pineapple slices
10-15 whole maraschino cherries
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup shredded coconut, preferably unsweetened. If you use sweetened, reduce the white sugar to about 1/3 cup)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup pineapple Juice (reserved from canned slices. If you don’t have enough juice, add a little water to equal 1 cup)
2 tbs. coconut rum (if you don’t have coconut rum, you can use regular rum)
- Preheat oven to 350 F. In small sauce pan, melt 1/4 cup butter on medium-low heat. Add brown sugar and stir for a minute or two until the sugar melts and blends with the butter.
- Pour the butter-sugar mixture into a 9-inch baking pan. Tilt the pan as needed until the entire bottom is coated.
- Arrange 7-8 pineapple slices into a single layer on top of the butter-sugar mixture in the pan. Put a maraschino cherry in the center of each slice. If you want, add a few extra cherries in between the slices or put 2 in each center (see pictures above). Set the pan aside.
- Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and coconut to a medium mixing bowl, and stir to combine.
- In another large mixing bowl, cream the sugar and 1/2 cup butter until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, and beat briefly to incorporate.
- Add the rum to the pineapple juice; stir.
- Add a small amount of the juice to the sugar mix. Beat briefly to incorporate, then add a small amount of the flour and beat briefly. Keep alternating the juice and flour until everything is incorporated. Do not overbeat – the mix will be slightly lumpy from the coconut.
- Carefully spread batter over the pineapples in the pan.
- Bake for about 45 min to an 1 hour. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.
- Cool on a rack for 5 minutes. Place a flat serving plate on top of the pan. Carefully, using potholders, flip the pan and the plate over. Let it sit for another 5 minutes.
- Gently remove the baking pan. The cake should come out in one piece. (As I said, I had a couple pineapple slices get stuck. I used a fork to carefully remove them and place them back in place on top of the cake.) Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream.