Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Pineapple Upside Down Cake-Fireside Warmth-Jan/Feb 2011

I often approach the Cooking Challenge as a chance/challenge to make something I’ve never made before. If that doesn’t work then I go for whimsy. If THAT doesn’t work I use it as an excuse to buy a new kitchen gadget. Lucky me this month’s challenge fit the bill on all three counts.

I have been wanting a dutch oven for quite some time now. This month’s challenge gave me a great excuse to buy a brand new cast-iron dutch oven. I also remembered that Pineapple Upside Down Cake (PUDC) was traditionally made in a cast iron skillet. Surely this could be adapted to a dutch oven cooked over an open fire. A very little research revealed that this concept was definitely NOT new. So, we had some friends over for dinner and as the pièce de résistance I made a PUDC over an open fire. Unfortunately, it was more of a coup de grâce to the meal.
Mmm. Mmm. Charlicious.

But it’s all a learning experience. What did I learn? Don’t preheat the dutch oven.

This is what happens if you preheat the dutch oven.
Dowsing the preheated fire with some pinapple jus.
Pretty simple. Oh yeah, and if you place coals on the lid you brush those off BEFORE you check on the PUDC status. Unless you’re into eating smoking hot embers. 
Some of the brave souls who ate the original PUDC.
They LIKED the burnt flavor.

I hope you noticed the fiery flare-up and the charred goodness that happens when you do things the wrong way.

Now for the right way.
1 1/3 C. flour
1/3 C. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/3 C milk
1/3 C reserved pineapple juice
1/4 C butter, softened
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
3 tbsp. butter
1/2 C. brown sugar
1 can pineapple slices, drained & halved (Reserve the liquid)
Maraschino cherries

Mix all the ingredients for the batter. Have your pineapple rings and cherries ready. Put your dutch oven on the coals. Melt butter and stir in the brown sugar. Arrange your pineapple rings and maraschino cherries in the melted butter/sugar mixture. Pour the batter onto the pineapple. Cover and let cook about 20 mins.

 In the meantime, you can make a caramel sauce by melting some more butter and brown sugar and adding some pineapple juice. Let that reduce while the cake is baking. You’ll probably want to check frequently to make sure that the cake is cooking evenly. You can help that out by placing coals on the top of the dutch oven. Just remember to brush them off BEFORE you take a peek inside.

Once it’s done, let it cool for a few minutes. Turn it out onto an appropriate platter.

 Serve with some ice cream and extra caramel sauce if you like. Now, I’m not one to brag, but one of our dinner guests (upon seeing this lovely creation) exclaimed, “I’m hungry with THAT!”

I'm hungry with THAT!


  1. This is more food I'd punch people for.

  2. Lovely! I, too, would be hungry for that! :)

  3. Urg. I misread your posting. I thought the new challenge was pineapple upside down rather than that is what you made for fireside warmth. Cake looks good though.

  4. Ohman, that non-burnt one looks even better than the one I tried. :)