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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Pineapple Upside Down Cake: The cake The Monsoon romances with…

A Monsoon Romance Story between the Pineapple n the Cake; Pineapple Upside Down Cake n they did exist happily ever after until we ate it

Monsoon is a huge thing in India, the season of rain showers and almost the whole country it getting wet now, the greenery is at its bloom, the crops are finding their voice, the frogs are planning for the future, the peacocks are totally showing off, the drowned human being are looking for a dry shelter because the shower played a bit too much at some places, wild mushrooms are coming to life in several forests n they are the best, pineapples are popping out of the soil, the hilsa fish is finally meeting their destiny: getting steamed with coconut n mustard, the  mature sugar-palm fruits are oozing out deep orange sap out of their rough n tough fibers-life is full of contrast I tell you, fritters are getting crispy in the hot oil in the evenings  n sauces are being churned in blenders.

I love the sight of pineapples all arranged in rows after rows in the local market as the monsoon comes, I totally love their flavor…there is something about pineapples that makes me salivate. As you cut across a pineapple- the sharp knife goes through the soft flesh of the pineapple, the tough exterior gives off as you slice them off one by one, the fresh juice oozes out n the aroma hits you- this whole experience is satisfying n provocative.

This cake is decadent; it looks totally impressive, tastes even better and truly very satisfying. The first time I baked this humble cake I fell in love with it, the cake is soft n moist like a dream, the pineapple slices all dark, full of depth n caramelized with the sugar n the butter and the soft cake sits on  that absolutely delicious pineapple layer .

First the butter n sugar are taken to a dark caramel color n poured in the cake tin, the fresh pineapple pieces sit on that, then the cake batter goes on top of that, as the cake bakes, moisture from the pineapple penetrates through the cake batter upwards making it rise n keeping it moist, the same moisture from the pineapple doesn’t let itself burn in the caramel, the baking powder also helps in giving the cake the lift n lightness.  Finally when the cake is done and you flip it over, the mere sight of it makes you smile and the air in the room gets heavy n hungry with the dissolving aroma.

The first time I made this cake when I was watching the video of Stephanie Jaworski on her site joyofbaking.com, it is a wonderful video n there was a fresh pineapple on my lunch table and I thought I will give it a try, and in that evening I was holding the beautiful cake in my hands n everyone in my home were happy. I really like her recipe, so give her a watch if you want. In my recipe I have not used the cream of tartar and I have also omitted the cherries, also I have used more butter in the cake batter, the amount is not a big number but it certainly makes a slight difference. So I know by now you are getting impatient for the recipe, so let’s bake this damn good cake and trust me it will be a staple cake in your house.

For The Recipe:  You will need

For the Cake Batter:
All purpose flour- 200 gm, sifted
Butter-120 gm (I used 150) at room temp
Sugar-200 gm, powdered
Baking powder- 2 tsp
Salt-a pinch (skip if butter is salted)
Vanilla extract-1 tsp
Egg-2 large, separated
Milk full-fat- 120 ml
Lime juice- a few drops for whisking the egg-whites

For the Pineapple Layer:
Butter- 55 gm/4 tbsp
White sugar/light brown sugar- 160 gm
Fresh/tinned pineapple slices- 25 pieces app., cut into ½ inch pieces

Pre-heat your oven to 180 C/350 F, butter an 8 inch cake tin.

1. Start by making the caramel mixture, place the butter n sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, let the sugar dissolve and let the whole thing get brown to dark brown which will take just few minutes, shake the pan to even out the caramelization, then pour the whole thing carefully into the buttered cake tin. After that take the pineapple pieces n arrange in a circular pattern over the caramel, pack the small gaps with small pieces of pineapple, and keep aside.

2. For the cake batter, first in a clean non-oily wide bowl pour the egg-white and squeeze a few drops of fresh lime/lemon juice over them, then with a clean whisk start whisking them, when they reach the ribbon stage add 2 tsp of powdered sugar as you whisk and take them to firm peak, not stiff peak, just firm.

3. In another bowl cream the butter n sugar until pale n fluffy, then add the vanilla extract, mix well, then add the egg yolks one by one, whisking after each addition until well mixed, then first add 1/3 rd flour n baking powder mixture, mix briskly, then ½ milk n mix, then another 1/3 flour n mix, then rest of the milk n mix, lastly the rest of flour. Finally take ½ of the egg white and mix with big strokes, its okay if at this stage you can still see the egg-whites at places, and then fold the rest of the egg-whites carefully. Finally pour the batter slowly over the pineapple, place it in the oven for about 45-55 minutes until the cake has started to shrink from the sides of the pan, a toothpick inserted into the cake comes clean. Place it over a wire rack n rest it for 10 minutes, then carefully run a knife around the edges and flip it open in one quick move over a cake stand or plate n tap softly on the back n lift it up slowly.

There you are! What do you see as you just lift the pan off! isn’t that just amazing and I know there is a smile all over your face, share this view with everyone at home before you cut the first slice and when you do you will fall in love with this cake again. This cake needs nothing else but you. Bon appétit.

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