27 March 2011

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

1 1/2 cups flour (REMOVE three TB of flour from the 1 1/2 cups)
3 TB cornstarch
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder

Combine in a measuring cup:
1 cup pineapple juice
1/3 cup canola, peanut, or corn oil
1 TB cider or distilled vinegar
1 TB vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract

20 oz can of pineapple chunks in pineapple juice (this is where the juice came from; if you don't have quite enough juice, feel free to augment it with water)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line your baking apparatus with parchment paper. Drain (but don't squeeze out excess juice from) the can of pineapple chunks, and reserve the juice. Sprinkle the pineapple evenly over the parchment paper in your baking dish.

Sift the flour, cornstarch, sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder together. Once you've sifted them into your mixing bowl, use a whisk to combine the ingredients together completely.

In a separate container, combine the pineapple juice (augmenting with water, as needed), oil, vinegar, vanilla, and almond extract. It's not going to form any kind of emulsion, but that's OK. When the oven is preheated (and not a minute sooner) combine the liquid ingredients with the dry ingredients, using a rubber spatula, so that you can quickly combine all the ingredients together. Do this in as few stirs as possible. If there are lumps in the batter, it's OK. They'll bake out. The important part is to combine everything quickly.

Then, using your rubber spatula to scrape down the bowl completely, pour the batter into the baking dish with the pineapples in. Get every last bit of batter into the dish, so that you don't miss anything.

Bake in the oven at 350F for 37 minutes. When the cake is finished baking, remove it from the oven, and invert it onto an oven safe dish. I used a baking sheet. Remove the parchment paper, and lightly sprinkle the pineapple chunks with a bit of brown sugar. If some of your pineapple pieces get stuck, don't worry. The sugar is going to cover up any ugly spots. Place the dish under the broiler for a few seconds at a time, until the sugar is melted and caramelised.

The brown sugar under the broiler step is optional, but I like it, because it makes such a nice crispy counterpoint to the moist cake.