There has not been much baking going on chez nous the last few weeks. My time has been devoted to crossing the channel there and back again in order to manage the care of my dad. Sadly, a spell in our local hospital sent him spiraling into decline and he passed away on 2nd July.
One of the sad things about all this is that my brother missed out on his 60th birthday. He was supposed to be spending it chez nous in France where we were intending to have a party. Instead he spent it on his own, apart from visiting our dad in hospital.
For his 60th my brother had requested a pineapple upside down cake. I make my cheat's version of an upside down cake which you can see here quite often and it's good. However, the day before his Big Birthday, by which time all our plans had already gone awry, I spotted this recipe on Marie Rayner's blog and thought to myself "now there's a thing" and vowed to make it at the first opportunity.
The last few weeks have passed in a blur of activity and official rigmarole but by last weekend we had the chance to draw breath and the opportunity to finally celebrate my brother's 60th.
This is a wonderful cake. Easy to make and a delight to eat. We enjoyed it following a bbq lunch in the glorious July sunshine.
I didn't use my Nordic Ware Bundt tin as it's ginormous. Instead I used a similar design, less sharp in profile of course, but it was perfect for the job. Slices of tinned pineapple are cut in half and arranged in the bottom of the tin curved side down as in the picture above. The finished cake then slipped out of the tin with barely a crumb left behind thanks to my usual cake release mixture (see here). Magic !!
I didn't use all the liquid stated in the original ingredients because to me the mixture already looked the right consistency and even with the reduced amount it took quite a bit longer to cook. It was plenty moist enough. I have shown my amendments in the recipe below but please do refer to the original if you decide to make this fabulous cake.
For the topping
100g soft light brown sugar
60g butter, melted
8 tinned pineapple slices in juice, drained and reserve the juice
8 glacé cherries, rinsed
For the cake
350g plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
240g caster sugar
175g butter, softened (I used Sainsbury's Buttersoft spread)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 medium eggs
75ml pineapple juice reserved from the can
Grease a medium sized Bundt tin using your favourite method, making sure you reach into all the nooks and crannies.
Preheat the oven to 180°C / 160° fan / gas mk 4.
Mix together the brown sugar and butter for the topping and pour it evenly into the bottom of the tin.
Drain the pineapple slices and reserve the juice. Cut each slice in half and place two halves rounded side down in the tin as shown in the picture above. Place a rinsed glacé cherry in each of the spaces between.
Using a stand mixer or hand held beater, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding the vanilla extract.
Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together and blend one third into the mixture, alternating with the milk and pineapple juice. I used only about half the quantity of liquid stated in the original recipe so add a little more to loosen the mixture if it seems too stiff.
Spoon the mixture into the tin carefully so as not to disturb the arrangement of the fruit. Tap the tin on the worktop a few times to settle the mixture and dispel any air pockets.
Bake for 50-60 minutes until done. This is about twenty minutes longer than stated in the original recipe so check after 40 just in case.
Leave the cooked cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
Cuts into at least 12 generous slices.
(Woe betide that my brother's 60th birthday should forever be defined by a hospital visit on the day it was discovered that the staff had lost my poor dear father's dental plate, making it almost impossible for him to talk or even drink through a straw, therefore contributing to his rapid demise. Let it be noted here that my respect for the medical and nursing professions are not what they were before they had him in their care for three weeks. The level of neglect and indifference for someone who was elderly, frail, vulnerable, confused and completely dependent on them was callous to say the least.)