When I visit a restaurant, typically the first thing I do upon receiving the menu is scan down to desserts. Occasionally, I even browse the desserts online before agreeing to visit. Recently I visited a well-known pub chain in the Brighton area (not naming any names) and was severely disappointed when my pricey pineapple ‘upside down’ cake turned out to be a bland slice of sponge with a few chunks of pineapple flicked on top. Despite the momentary humour of my boyfriend seriously justifying it as a deconstructed dessert, this pudding dissatisfaction has haunted me for weeks. Here, I have had a proper go at a pineapple upside-down cake, determined to do it justice, and let me tell you it is delicious.
For the caramel
150g caster sugar
5 tablespoons water
For the cake
180g unsalted butter
180g light brown sugar
200g plain flour
2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
zest of 3 limes
juice of 1 lime
3 tablespoons natural yoghurt
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1 red chilli
250g tinned pineapple (drained weight)(cut in rings if possible)
- As this cake is an upside-down cake, you will need to arrange the pineapple on the base of the cake tin before spooning in the mix on top. Therefore it is necessary to line the base of your tin with a circle of baking parchment as this will help the cake come out in one piece, and the parchment will peel off easily to reveal the pattern underneath. Grease and flour the sides of the tin as normal.
- Preheat the oven to 180•C
- Start by preparing the cake mix. Cream the sugar and the butter together until smooth and no lumps of butter or sugar remain.
- Measure out the flour and mix in the baking powder. If you would prefer to use self-raising flour for this recipe that is also fine, and in that case you would not need the baking powder.
- Alternate between adding an egg and a quarter of the flour at a time, mixing thoroughly, until all 4 eggs and all 200g of flour has been added. Beat to a smooth batter.
- Add the zest of 3 limes, and the juice of one and stir to incorporate. Next add 2 tablespoons of natural yoghurt and one tablespoon of golden syrup. This will add to the real treacly moistness of the cake. The cake mix is now ready to go and can be put to one side until needed.
- Deseed the chilli (I did a bad job of this) and chop into small chunks. Drain off the pineapple and have the rings ready to go for once you have made your caramel.
- Now you are ready to make the caramel. Caramel is every baker’s worse fear in that it only takes a few seconds to go from pure deliciousness to burnt, black mess which smells horrible and is really bloody hard to get of a pan. So I suggest you pay attention and remove any nuisances from the kitchen at this stage.
- Heat a pan on a mid-high heat. Measure out the water, before adding the sugar and stirring to help it dissolve. Once it has dissolved, stop stirring and wait for it to start bubbling. As it bubbles, it will turn from clear to a golden honey colour. At this point remove from the heat and pour into the base of your tin.
- Quickly arrange the pineapple in the caramel, being careful not to burn your fingers. I lay mine in a circle around the outside, then chopped the remaining rings into smaller chunks to fill in any gaps. Add the chilli.
- Leave the caramel to firm up slightly for a few minutes before spooning the cake mixture on top.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes. You will probably need to make a tin foil hat for your cake at some point as the high sugar content will cause it to brown quickly.
- Once the cake is cooked, leave it in its tin too cool slightly before tipping out upside down. Peel of the baking parchment and hope for the best.