The classic upside down cake is pineapple. Everybody loves a good pineapple upside down cake.
I love fresh pineapple, but it is so much cheaper and useful to use pineapple rings in a tin, because I found there is always enough to completely fill a 23cm springform tin, which is my most useful cake tin. In the tins I buy, there are 8 rings; 7 rings will fit in whole and the last one is cut up into 6 pieces to surround the rings. But don’t throw away the juice. The juice is very rich in pineapple flavour and will intensify the flavour of what is a very basic sponge cake. It also makes the sponge incredibly moist.
This upside down cake has a brown sugar caramel on the bottom (or the top) and this prevents any moisture in the pineapple rings from inhibiting the sponge’s bake. Before I start the recipe, I put some kitchen roll on top of the pineapple to absorb as much moisture as possible. Here is a picture of an upside down cake without a caramel. In my opinion, it doesn’t have the same aesthetics as one with a caramel but tastes just as good.
8 pineapple rings
100g soft light brown sugar
7 glace cherries
225g soft light brown sugar
225g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
50ml pineapple juice from the tin
Icing sugar, to serve
- Open the tin of pineapple. Lift out each ring, being careful not to break the ring. Sandwich the rings between two sheets of kitchen roll to absorb as much of the moisture. Cut one of the rings up into 6 equal sized pieces.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease the base and sides of a 23cm springform tin.
- Make a cartouche out of greaseproof paper. Take a large square of greaseproof paper and fold into quarters thus creating a smaller square. Fold over one corner of the square to the other making a triangle. Keep folding the long side over to the short side until you cannot fold it any more (i.e. the long side folds up to meet with the shorter side – like making a paper plane). Line the point where they all meet up slightly before the centre of the tin. Take a pair of scissors and cut off the excess that does not cover the base. Unfold the greaseproof paper and it should be a circle. Place this into the bottom of the tin. Very often, I prefer leaving a lot of excess around the outside especially in an upside down cake. This prevents the caramel and the sponge sticking to the sides of the tin and prevents any leakage.
- Take a large pan. Over a medium heat, add the brown sugar and the Stork. A good tip is to cut the Stork up into smaller pieces so it melts quicker. Once melted, do not stir the sugar and Stork with a spoon. Every so often, give the pan a swirl so it distributes evenly until it starts to boil. Leave it to boil on a medium heat – too high a heat and the caramel will burn more readily.
- I don’t have a sugar thermometer at home. I usually do caramels by sight. The brown sugar makes it harder to see when it is ready. You know when the caramel is ready when you dip a spoon in and it is a steady drip – remember, as it sets, it becomes hard and the acid in the pineapple will set the caramel further – or alternatively, when you swirl the pan, it looks very viscous but still quite liquid.
- Pour into the cake tin, and quickly put the drained pineapple into the tin so that 6 rings go around the outside and one goes in the middle. Take the six pieces, and place in the gaps between each of the 6 rings. Take a glace cherry and place one in each ring.
- Now for the sponge. The sponge uses the creaming method, so beat together the Stork and brown sugar together until light. This can be done by hand, but an electric hand whisk is much easier. This is a simple recipe and it doesn’t need 5 minutes beating. 2 minutes will suffice.
- In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs and 1 tbsp milk. Gradually pour this into the Stork and sugar mix in 4 batches, beating well between each addition. You may find that the eggs have made your light mixture now look split, or curdled.
- There isn’t anything wrong with a curdled cake mixture. It simply means that the eggs were not the same temperature as the fat. It won’t make a difference to the final product – when I made this, my cake mix split but the cake was still very moist. If you really do not want a curdled mixture, you can add 1 tbsp of the flour. But do not add it on the first batch as you’ll overbeat the flour, developing the gluten making a tough cake.
- Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Mix the remaining milk and pineapple juice in a jug or cup. Beat these into the cake mixture, alternating between them, starting and finishing with the dry ingredients, being careful to not overbeat the dry ingredients, only until just incorporated. (1/3 of dry — 1/2 of liquid — 1/3 of dry — 1/2 of liquid — 1/3 of dry)
- Take a large spoon and dollop large spoonfuls of the cake mix into the tin. Do not directly pour over the cake mix otherwise you risk mixing the caramel and sponge, which will become liquid and moisten the sponge preventing it from cooking. Use a palette knife to level off the cake mix.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. The cake is done when you insert a skewer and it comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes.
- Take a palette knife and run it around the outside of the cake, if your sponge has risen above the greaseproof paper cartouche. Release the tin. Take off the paper to expose the sponge. Rest your cake stand or serving plate on the sponge. Use a tea towel to grip the tin base and flip over the cake. Lift off the base and then take off the greaseproof paper. Dust with icing sugar and cut into slices.