My brother has been staying with us in France for a holiday and while he was here he said he would like to do some baking and get more confident with making cakes from scratch instead of using packet mixes. I was delighted to show him the ropes but surprised that he said he would really like to bake a pineapple upside down cake.
I had never made one before myself! I know they were popular in the 70’s but would have been far too posh or complicated for my mum to consider baking. Her ideas naturally rubbed off on me so I never made one either. Then they went totally out of fashion.
Lately they have become popular again but somehow I still never got round to baking one, so I was pleased to have an excuse to give it a try.
Curiously, as I started to browse through my collection of recipe books only two recipes for this cake turned up and both had something a bit quirky about them. I really wanted a dead easy recipe to start my brother off, something simple and uncomplicated that was likely to turn out perfect and boost his confidence, having a few basic techniques. I then resorted to Google and instantly came up with this recipe on the BBC Good Food website and decided to go with that.
He went shopping for a tin of pineapple rings but couldn’t find any and came back with pineapple chunks instead. They worked fine and looked great, arranged on the cake in an irregular fashion with a few glacé cherries randomly dotted in between.
It was a good cake for a baking lesson, principally an all-in-one method but with creaming of the butter and sugar for the topping as well. I showed him how to grease and line the tin, weigh ingredients accurately – “what, as accurately as that – crumbs!” - check for doneness, release the cake and so on. I also explained the difference between the creaming and all-in-one methods of cake making as there was a bit of both in this cake.
The cake was a great success. I liked the random effect of the pineapple instead of the traditional rings. The flavour and texture were excellent and we were all very pleased. In fact my brother was extremely chuffed and is planning to make it again for his daughter this weekend. I wrote out the recipe for him in my own words so that he could take it home with him.
I will certainly make it again myself.
For the topping
50g softened butter, Lurpak Spreadable or Flora Buttery
50g light soft brown sugar
1 small can of pineapple chunks in syrup
A few glacé cherries
For the cake
100g softened butter, Lurpak Spreadable or Flora Buttery
100g golden caster sugar
100g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbslp of the pineapple syrup from the can
Preheat the oven to 180°C / 160° fan / gas mk 4. Grease the base and sides of a 20cm springform or ordinary round cake tin and line the base with a circle of baking paper.
Using an electric whisk (or by hand), beat together the butter and sugar for the topping until smooth and spread over the base of the cake tin and a quarter of the way up the sides.
Drain the pineapple chunks using a sieve or colander over a bowl so that you reserve the syrup. Arrange the pineapple pieces over the butter and sugar topping and dot a few cherries in between.
To make the cake, put all the cake ingredients including 2 tblsp of the pineapple syrup from the can. Beat with an electric whisk or by hand until well combined.
Spoon the mixture carefully over the pineapple chunks so as not to disturb the arrangement and level the top.
Bake for 35 minutes or until done. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before carefully turning out, upside down, onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
Cuts into 8 slices.