Monday, July 2, 2012

Pineapple Cake and Independence Day

Who loves Pineapple Upside Down Cake?

This iconic treat has always been one of my favorites. Truly, I love the little maraschino cherry and candied pineapple more than the cake.  And we all know how much I prefer to make tiny portable cakes over big fork-n-knifers.  I also prefer to have my cakes in handy dandy paper wrappers.

This is my version. Another classic combination, gone bleu...

Pineapple Right-side Up Cupcakes...

Full of all that you love (yep, that's a candied pineapple center) and topped with my newest favorite Swiss meringue buttercream (and a maraschino cherry of course).

This cake combined a traditional butter cake with my great-grandmother's Pineapple Cake recipe. Granny's cake used a box mix, this filling and her 7 Minute Frosting. I really, really wanted to put a 7 Minute Frosting on these cakes, but I wasn't even going to whisk it up by hand (for real, I don't own a hand held mixer). I repeat that I'm a sugar addict. Seven Minute Frosting is SWEET. But delicious. But sweet, sweet, sweet... So as much as I want to try it that way, I think we should stick with the Swiss meringue buttercream.

This was also the first time I've ever baked a cake that used margarine. I've used margarine in cookies and things, but never cake. I'm such a huge fan of eating creamed butter and sugar straight out of the mixer that I try to find ways to make food with those two ingredients. (Wait... did I really just admit that to all of you? Meh. You already know I'm an addict...) I want to try this cake with butter, but know that even with margarine, this cake was super moist, had a gentle crumb, and was really flavorful.

So, enough with the chit-chat... On with the cake!

Pineapple Right-side Up Cupcakes
adapted from my great-grandmother, Atha Taylor's personal collection of recipes

For the cake:
2 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 20 ounce can crushed pineapple in juice (*directions below)
1 cup milk (slightly less)
2/3 cup margarine
1 2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs

1. Prepare canned pineapple. Drain and reserve the juice. Remove 1 cup of drained pineapple for cake. Keep the remaining pineapple with 1/2 cup juice for the filling. Put the remaining juice  in a 2 cup measuring cup and add milk to total 1 1/4 cup.
2. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
3. Cream margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well between additions. Add flour in three additions, alternating with milk, starting and ending with flour.
4. Scrape bowl well and add pineapple.
5. Fill paper liners about half full and if you're lucky, pop 'em into one of these:
(this was one of my Christmas presents... CupCake Genius) Bake at 350 F for 20-23 minutes. Allow to cool completely before filling.

For the filling:
Reserved crushed pineapple and juice
3/4 cup brown sugar 

1. In a small sauce pan, combine pineapple and sugar. Cook over medium heat until pineapple is "candied" -- thick sauce, clear fruit. 

2. Remove from heat. Allow to cool before using.

To assemble:
 Create a hole in the center of each cupcake using a paring knife or apple corer. Fill with about 1/2 teaspoon of the candied pineapple. Top with a swirl of brown sugar Swiss meringue buttercream, a maraschino cherry and a bit of pineapple.

Enjoy this retro favorite!

And Happy Fourth of July!!