It’s a funny thing, nostalgia. No sooner had I finally made the Pineapple Upside-Down Cake of Dreams, I had the urge to switch it up, change it around, play with it and make it even better. I actually came up with this idea a little while ago, but haven’t had the time to blog it until now. It’s good though – I couldn’t stop myself because I know it’s DAMN good.
As for how I got to this version, it was a bit of inspiration, a bit of experimentation. Poking around on the internet, I found this double-layer BBC Good Food version which riffed on the cherry topping and added more. I thought this was a good idea, but the thought struck me – what about more pineapple? Ruby Tandoh (PRAISE BE UPON HER NAME) is one of my baking idols, and her pretty-much foolproof recipe for pineapple curd appealed, being a) delicious, b) idiot-proof, and c) a fantastic way to use the whole of a can of pineapple rings as opposed to doing what I can be tempted to do with a PUDC. What is this? Well, it starts with my devouring most of the can, eating the rings over the sink, drinking the juice from the can, and avoiding the mirror for the rest of the day lest my self-loathing finally consume my heart. I then remember I’m meant to make something, and scavenge the remains for the cake I’d originally planned on baking. Don’t judge me, only God or Ruby Tandoh can do that.
This then, is a switched-up, evolved, thoroughly grownup and rather special way to use a large can of pineapple rings.
Pineapple Upside-Down Evolution Cake
Cuts into 12, best served with afternoon tea and a large cuppa
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp soft light brown sugar, demerara, or any brown sugar
4 eggs, weighed in their shells, and an equivalent weight of
golden caster sugar,
1 tsp baking powder
around 7-8 Pineapple rings from a large can (make sure you reserve the juice)
8-12 glace cherries
2 large egg yolks
1½ tbsp cornflour
40g caster sugar
100ml pineapple juice (reserved from the can)
Juice from 1 lemon
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 x small pot double cream (about 350ml)
- Preheat the oven to 180C and prepare two 20-cm cake pans. As for the first PUDC recipe I posted, you must must MUST line this sucker. Burning caramel is no picnic on your skin. Line both tins with butter and greaseproof, then in one of the tins (only one!), butter the paper liberally and sprinkle with plenty of brown sugar. You want it reasonably thick, so the quantities I’ve given here are a guide rather than the gospel. Go with what feels right.
- Take your buttered and sugared tin, and arrange the pineapple slices and cherries in it, to make a lovely pattern. Eat any leftover pineapple and cherries with glee.
- Make your sponges – personally, for this cake an all-in-one method is as good as any. So add in your butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, self-raising flour and baking powder with a spoon or two of pineapple juice. Top tips for AIO methods are: make sure your butter is super-soft and creamy, make sure everything’s mixed in and beat well for at least 3 minutes with an electric whisk, to get as much air in as you can. Split the sponge mix evenly between the two pans, and shake these to make sure any air bubbles are removed. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cakes comes out clean. Take out to cool thoroughly.
- While the cakes are cooking, make your curd. Take your two egg yolks*, and whisk in the cornflour and sugar in a small saucepan until thickened. Add the pineapple juice and lemon juice in a nice thin stream, while whisking all the time, to avoid curdling.
- When the ingredients are well-combined, put the pan over a medium heat and whisk constantly for about 5 minutes until the curd goes really thick and gorgeously silky-looking. Remember to keep whisking – you really don’t want to fill your cake with pineapple-flavoured scrambled egg. Take off the heat and add the butter, and allow to cool.
- To complete your MASTERPIECE, place the plain cake onto a stand, then top with the cooled curd and a layer of fluffy white whipped cream. Place the final cake on top, pineapple-upwards, and stand back in WONDERMENT.
*But before you say “wait, Lewishambles! What should I do with the leftover egg white?“, let me suggest putting them straight in the freezer in a small tupperware. Once you’ve made a few batches of curd, or custard, or whatever else, and added the whites on top as you go (making sure you mark how many egg whites are in there), you can take the whole lot out of the freezer, defrost overnight in the fridge and whisk into meringue. Old egg whites, and previously-frozen whites, make much much better meringue.