Friday, August 7, 2009

Upside Down Cake in a Cast Iron Skillet on top of the Stove

d0dd9a9a.jpg Pineapple upside down cake image by soopersuzie

Do remember your Mom or Grandma doing this? I do. It has been a very long time, but I have a taste for a pie or something with these fresh peaches, and its just too hot to turn the oven on. and its too hot for me to be outside cooking it in a dutch oven over the fire too-lol which I do enjoy doing, but not when it is this hot.

So I got to thinking about this, I remember my mom always made pineapple upside down cake this way-so I am thinking why not peaches?

I found a recipe too-yeh!

Culinary experts claim that the pineapple upside-down cake originated in the United States. This suspicion has been confirmed by food historian since pineapples were readily available and a very popular ingredient in the 1920s US. It can be crudely described as a round cake with six slices of pineapple, candied red cherries, and a brown sugar glaze

Earlier recipes of this cake include making it in skillets, probably cast iron, and cooking it on top of the stove, since ovens had not been invented. They were also known as skillet cakes. The Hawaiian Pineapple Company ran an advertisement in several women's magazines for creative and original recipes using pineapple. This gave the cake widespread publicity.

The oldest recipe for a pineapple upside-down cake was printed in a U.S. government document in 1931. It is:

Pineapple upside down skillet Cake

Pineapple mixture

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons pineapple juice

3 slices pineapple

Melt the sugar in a skillet over moderate heat, allow it to brown slightly, and stir constantly. Add the butter and pineapple juice and cook until a fairly thick syrup is formed. Place the sections of pineapple in the syrup and cook a few minutes, or until they are light brown, and turn occasionally. Have ready a well-greased heavy baking pan or dish, place the pineapple on the bottom, and pour the syrup over it. Allow this to cool so it will form a semisolid surface, then pour in the following

Cake batter

1/4 cup butter or other fat

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups sifted soft-wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

Cream the fat, add the sugar, well-beaten egg, and

vanilla. Sift the dry ingredients together and add alternately with the milk to the first mixture. Pour this over the pineapple. The batter is rather thick and may need to be smoothed on top with a knife. Bake in a very moderate stove (300-325 degrees F.) for 45 minutes. Loosen the sides of the cake, turn it out carefully, upside down. If the fruit sticks to the pan, lift it out and place it on the cake. Serve with whipped cream or hard sauce.

It's a classical all-American dessert. Food History Professor, Burt Gordon, Ph.D. explained that, research shows1870 would be the time when upside-down cakes came about. The term upside-down cake wasn't used much before the late Nineteenth Century, but that style of baking could date as far back as the middle Ages."

Until 1870 the term cakes was hardly used. Pies and tarts were more common then. Some very early cookbooks printed at the turn of the century have recipes for fruit upside down cakes made with other types of fruits - apples and cherries and the like but no mention of pineapple is made. Dr. Gordon explains that Jim Dole who invented canned pineapples might have applied his product to a recipe that already existed. It was traditionally made with apples, cherries and other seasonal fruit upside down cakes in cast-iron skillets on top of the stove. The use of pineapple (and an oven) was just the newest most novel twist by Mr. Dole, an ode to twentieth century technologies and notions of convenience.

The recipe of the modern day version of the Pineapple upside down cake is:

Ingredients

Pineapple Topping

9 canned pineapple rings

4 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons maple syrup

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

9 canned pitted cherries, or a handful of dried, sweetened cranberries

Cake

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

2/3 cup sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2/3 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

Heat oven to 350F

In a small saucepan, heat the butter and maple syrup over medium-low heat. Stir in the brown sugar. Increase heat slightly and stir the mixture until it comes to a gentle boil, cook for 30 seconds longer. Immediately scrape the mixture into buttered 9 square cake pan to evenly coat the bottom. Place the nine pineapple rings in the pan, place a cherry or a few dried, sweetened cranberries in the center of each ring.

In a mixing bowl, beat the butter until fluffy. Gradually beat in the sugar. Add eggs, beating well after each addition. Combine liquids and pour half of the liquid mixture into creamed butter and sugar and beat well for 30 seconds.

Sift together dry ingredients and stir half into the creamed ingredients. Beat briefly, until smooth. Stir in the remaining liquids. Add the rest of the dry mixture, beating on medium speed until the batter is evenly combined.

Drop heaping spoonfuls of batter over the pineapple, then smooth with the back of the spoon until evenly spread.

Bake on center oven rack for approximately 35 minutes, until cake is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and let it cool in the pan for 15 minutes.

Run a spatula or a butter knife down the sides of cake then invert on a serving dish in one quick motion. Tap pan on bottom if cake doesn't drop right out. Slowly lift pan from the cake. Cool cake for at least 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

When compared the second recipe seems to be an updated version for a cake pan in place of a cast-iron skillet. The modern recipe is more detailed and specific in its measures. However, the older one is simpler and more suited for American housewives of the 20th century.

Interestingly, in modern times there are special pans, called the pineapple upside down cake pans, available. These special aluminum pans have cups for the pineapple or fruits to fit in. Their non-stick coating enables easy release of the fruit and quick clean up after the baking. Their design allows precise placing of the pineapple rings and cherries. Mini upside down cakes have become a major hit. Once prepared, they resemble tarts and can also be made in specific pans available in US markets.

This cake also finds a reference in Perry and Croft British sitcom called Dad's Army. A character called, Private Godfrey makes frequent reference to my sister Dolly's upside-down cake. Also, a mention in the Brak song "I Like Hubcaps" from the Brak Album starring Brak can be found. In the song, Brak says: "I like pineapple upside-down cake, why's it upside-down why's it upside-down" I guess that explains the extent of the popularity of this classical American delight.

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