Virtual 40's-70's Party: Pineapple Upside-down Cake

Oh! My first food blogging event! How exciting (ok and I'm a little nervous too!)! I am quite new to the food-blog-o-sphere, and was really not planning to join any events in the near future (just watch and learn, that was my plan), but when I heard that Megan of and Deepfry of Yum! were planning a Virtual 40's-70's Party I just couldn't resist. How fun and peachy-keen is that, right?

Another reason I wanted to join is because of this. This dish you see here, that I have made maybe a trillion times in my life. Pineapple Upside-down Cake. Just the name alone bring to mind a 50's housewife in an apron and a beehive. This is my family's bar-none favorite thing. Their's, not mine. I mean it's yummy and all, but I wanted to make things great and exotic! But no, it was always: "Can't you just make the Pineapple Upside-down Cake?" Phooey. Well, now it's payback time and this cake is going to be my ticket to virtual 50's fun!

The recipe I use, and have been using (much altered over time), is from none other than another 50's pillar of Stepfordian baking...the Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook! In fact, I have the 1950 First edition (9th printing though). Not discovered in a second-hand bookshop or book market, but handed down from a great aunt. As you can see in the picture below, it's not the newer ring-bound version. The book binding in the side has actually been worn away already, by many greasy kitchen hands no doubt. In any case, it's so kitschy it's cool. Check out the funky graphics of women in wide skirts and cinched waists, singing as they cook. Ok, nevermind that, check out the quick breads flying out of the oven! Now that was a domestic goddess!

Ok, now for the recipe. As I mentioned, over time (I have been making this since grade school, I am now 30), I have made a number of changes in the recipe. For one Betty doesn't have any butter in the cake itself. Probably to make up for the sugar and butter topping. Well, I wanted the cake more moist and buttery so adding some butter in the batter (yes! I'm down with the lingo now) did the trick. I also added more butter to the topping. You see, my family likes this cake super rich and wet and soaking with butter-y pineapple sweetness. Also, I have tried doing it with the "separating the yolks and whites bit", where you fold in the "stifly beaten egg whites" in the end (Betty doesn't do this) to make it a little lighter. Oh yeah, and I don't cook it in a skillet.

Anyhoo, enough chit-chat. Here's the recipe:

Pineapple Upside-down Cake
(adapted from Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook)

For the topping:
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup brown sugar
- Pineapple slices
- Maraschino cherries

Melt the butter (I use the microwave, maybe 20-25 seconds). Spread/pour melt-y butter on the bottom of a 9 inch pan. Sprinkle with the brown sugar, make sure it’s even. Arrange pineapples slices and cherries in “an attractive pattern” atop the butter-sugar coating.

For the cake:
- 2 eggs (separated)
- 2/3 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup butter (this may be too butter-y for regular people so you can decrease this to 1/8 cup)
- 6 tablespoon juice from the pineapple
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup sifted all purpose flour
- 1/3 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Cream butter and sugar together. Gradually beat in the egg yolks. Add the juice from the pineapple and the vanilla and beat, in all at once. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together, and beat in all at once. Do not over mix. Beat egg whites until stiff. Fold egg whites into the batter. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and stick it in the oven. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick “thrust into the center of the cake” comes out clean. Turn upside down onto a nice serving plate. Don’t remove the pan for a few minutes so all the sugar-y topping runs down over your cake (an does not stay stuck to your pan).

You may be wondering what that crazy looking picture is on the upper left hand corner on the collage above. Well, as a spin-off to this virtual party, Kevin of Seriously Good has come up with a clever little contest and that is my entry. My my, first a food blogging event, and now a food blogging contest? I'm getting quite ambitious!

So there you have it. The ubiquitous Pineapple Upside-down cake. It's always been around, though much ignored for some time, what with the advent of the elegant "supermodel" desserts. In truth, I actually love this edible 50's stereotype. It's definitely stuck by me, and gotten me things I would never have gotten just on my charm alone. So here's to you Mrs. Crocker, and to the millions of Pineapple Upside-down Cakes who are, as we speak, planning their comeback.