I am allergic to fresh pineapple. I break out in hives and the lining of my mouth and throat get all itchy and scratchy when I eat it. Just standing near a fresh pineapple being peeled gives me the sweats. Why, I do not know, and it was not always the case as I used to consume pineapple by the kilo as a kid. My favorite part was the tough central stem that was sweet, chewy, fibrous and crunchy all at the same time. I seem to be less allergic to canned or cooked pineapple but still get a physical reaction to it. So attempting an upside down cake from fresh Tagaytay pineapples was a bit of a stretchâ€¦and I am so glad that I did it. This is a modern updated version of the cake your mom/lola/tita used to make and it is absolutely deliciousâ€¦
I was browsing through the cookbook of Regan Daley called â€œin the sweet kitchen â€“ The Definitive Bakerâ€™s Companionâ€ that won some great book awards and ran across this intriguing recipe. It just sounded too good to pass up so here it is. I suggest you get the book for the full fledged instructions but here it is in shorthand. Recipe is Ms. Daleyâ€™sâ€¦ I baked the cake in the photo in a marathon baking session where I was showing a friend how to bake and we made 9 things in two daysâ€¦ Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F then grease a 10 inch springform cake pan and line with aluminum foil. Grease the foil and line the bottom with parchment paper which you grease again and sprinkle with sugar. First, make the topping using once large or two medium pineapples, 1/3 cup good butter and about 1 and Â¼ cups of white sugar. Cut pineapple into uniform sizes about Â½ inch thick and about 3/3 inches wide. Ms. Daley had detailed instructions for this but I wasnâ€™t too anal about it as long as the pieces were more or less uniform in size. Melt the butter in a heavy enamel pot and add the sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves and keep stirring until you get a nice medium dark syrup (this will take several minutes). Carefully add the sliced pineapple and stand back as it hisses and splatters like lava. The blob will eventually melt and the fruit and syrup will fuse. Cook until the pineapple is slightly brown on the edges and remove from heat. Ms. Daley then suggests that you take each piece of pineapple and carefully arrange it on the bottom of the pan, I just scooped it in and hoped for the best. I did even out the fruit so its thickness was uniform. Pour in all the caramel you can eek out of the pan.
Next, make the cake batter. You will need 1 and Â½ cups all purpose flour, 1 and Â½ teaspoons baking powder, Â¼ teaspoon salt, 3 large eggs, 5 large egg yolks, 1 and Â½ cups of white sugar, 3 tablespoons brandy, seeds of Â½ large vanilla bean (no hull) or 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and Â¾ cup good butter that is melted and cooled. In a small bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk the eggs and egg yolks to just break them up slightly. Whisk in sugar, then add brandy and vanilla. Add flour in two batches to the egg mixture and whisk. Stir in melted butter. Pour batter over pineapple base CAREFULLY so as not to disturb the layer of fruit. Set pan on a baking sheet and place in the center of pre-heated oven for about 70-80 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes, run a sharp knife around the edges and invert the cake onto a serving platter and remove or peel off the parchment paper. Excellent served warm or at room temperature. Nice with a strong cup of tea. Ms. Daleyâ€™s book is one of the best written cookbooks I have ever readâ€¦the instructions are so completeâ€¦ The resulting cake rich, buttery and delicious. The pineapple was worth the hives and caramel not too sickly sweet. Excellent.