Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Upside-down Pineapple Cake

There is something about retro cakes that is so appealing. Victoria sponges, Battenberg Cakes, little Butterfly Cakes with their delicate sponge wings, Black Forest Gateau; the list goes on and on.

Without a doubt, one of my favourite cakes is pineapple upside-down sponge where tinned pineapple and glacé cherries are placed in a buttered and sugared cake tin, a light sponge is spooned on top and after baking the cake is upturned so that the pineapple and cherries are on the top of the cake. It just looks so kitsch and almost a little obvious and vulgar, but it tastes so delicious.
I recommend serving this cake as a dessert, warm from the oven with loads of thick pouring custard. You could serve it with cream, but this is one time when I really believe it should be custard and nothing else.
I just love the look of impossibly red glacé cherries sitting in the middle of a perfectly round pineapple ring sitting atop a light and fluffy sponge. You could of course use natural un-dyed natural glacé cherries and fresh pineapple which you prepare yourself, but to be honest, I feel that this would be missing the whole point of this cake cum pudding.
The recipe I give below is based on one which I have been using for years and which originally came from BBC Good Food Magazine. It is incredibly simple to make and relatively quick to bake. As a variation, and something that I am quite fond of doing, you can add a couple of tablespoons of desiccated coconut to the cake batter prior to spooning on top of the pineapple before baking.


Sugar topping:
50g butter, softened
50g light muscovado sugar
7 pineapple rings in syrup, drained
7 glacé cherries
Cake batter:
100g butter, softened
100g caster sugar
100g self-raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
1tsp vanilla paste or extract
2 large eggs
2 tblsp milk 


1. Preheat oven to 180C/Fan Oven 160C/Gas Mark 4.
2. Using a hand-held electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Spread this mixture over the bottom of a 20cm round cake tin (do not use one with a removable base).
3. Arrange the pineapple rings on top and place a glacé cherry in the centre of each pineapple ring.
Cake batter:
4. Using a hand-held electric beater, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, add in the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla paste/extract.
5. Sieve the flour and baking powder together and fold into the creamed mixture. Mix in the milk – the batter should have a soft dropping consistency.
6. Spoon into the tin on top of the pineapple and smooth it out with a palette knife or the back of a spoon to level the surface. Bake for approximately 35 minutes until the sponge is golden and springy to the touch. Remove from oven and leave to cool for five minutes before turning out on to a plate. Serve warm with custard.
Serves 6.