Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Bundt #4 of BCS5: Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Baked November 10, 2012

You may recall that one of the few bundt cakes that I baked last season was the Strawberry Champagne Celebration Cake for my friend's birthday/ housewarming party.  What I found out that evening was that her favorite kind of cake is Pineapple Upside Down Cake.  I made a mental note to make her that kind of cake for her next birthday.

As November rolled around, I actually remembered my mental note from the previous year, and made plans to make Becky a bundt Pineapple Upside Down Cake.  Part of the reason I was excited for this cake was that I knew my Kiss My Bundt cookbook actually had a Pineapple Upside Down Cake recipe, which meant I had access to what I expected to be a really good cake recipe.

Although Chrysta Wilson recommends ditching the traditional maraschino cherries in favor of dark fresh or frozen cherries, I decided that when you are taking on someone's favorite type of cake, you stick with tradition.

After making the batter, the first step is to line the bottom of the pan with pineapple rings and then place a cherry in the center of each ring.  I didn't think that would be enough pineapple, so I placed the pineapple so that they were along the sides of the pan as well.  I'm sorry I don't have a picture to show you--I was quite proud of my handiwork.

Next you make a caramel, which goes, still warm, into the pan.  From this you can get and idea how I arranged the pineapples and cherries.

Mmm, caramel.
On top of all this goes the batter.  And then it's into the oven.  Ms. Wilson recommends lining the oven rack with aluminum foil, because the caramel can bubble over, which I did.  I think I was glad I did so, but it's been long enough that I don't really remember if it bubbled over or not.

I do remember two things quite clearly.  One, this cake took much longer to bake than the recipe called for.  And two, when I turned the cake out onto my cake plate, the caramel, which was quite thin, since it was so hot, went everywhere!  So, for that last part, when you turn the cake out, make sure you do so on an easy to clean surface, like your kitchen counter.  And make sure the space is cleared of items you don't want caramel to hit.

As for the cooking time issue, perhaps this is a good time to discuss how often this happens to me.  I think once, in all the times I've baked a bundt cake (a full size one), has the time been accurate.  I don't think it's that my oven is too cool, because I bought an oven thermometer, and that indicated that the temperature was accurate.  No, I'm 95% sure that it's due to the fact that I use a 10-cup bundt pan, rather than the 12-cup that is the standard size pan, which means that the pan is more full, and the batter is deeper than it would be in a bigger pan.  To the best of my knowledge, all of the "fancy" bundt pans (the ones that aren't in the basic bundt shape) are 10-cup pans.  So, for those of you who also have 10-cup pans, count on your cakes taking *at least* 15 more minutes than the latest time of the recipe.  This one?  I think it was at least 30 more minutes.  I just remember that I was on the phone with a friend, and that I set the time for 10-15 more minutes at least three times!  I mention this for planning purposes.

The cake itself was a hit.  And Becky had never seen one in bundt form before, so score one for me.

Here's the recipe:

Ready to go into the oven.
Batter Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter (softened)
1 3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup whole milk (I used 1%)
1 can pineapple rings, drained
5 cherries, sliced in half

Caramel Ingredients:
3/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 cup brown sugar, packed


  1. Line oven rack with aluminum foil, in case the caramel bubbles up over the sides of the pan.  (Alternately, you could put a cookie sheet in the oven to catch any caramel spillage.)  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sift flour and baking powder and salt together.  Set aside.
  3. Beat butter with an electric mixer at medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.
  4. Slowly add the sugar. Beat on medium speed until mixture is fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  5. Crack eggs into a separate bowl and add to batter one at a time.  Then beat on medium speed for an additional 2 minutes.
  6. Add vanilla to milk.
  7. Beginning and ending with the flour mixture, mix 1/3 of the flour into the wet mixture, then 1/2 of the milk, alternating until all ingredients are mixed.
  8. Coat pan with a baker's cooking spray that includes flour.
  9. Line the bottom of the pan with pineapple rings (6 - 12 rings--if, like me, you put the pineapple so that it goes up the sides as well, then you will use the whole can of pineapple rings).  
  10. Put half a cherry in the center of each pineapple ring.
  11. Make the caramel by combining the butter, corn syrup, and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the mixture is smooth.
  12. Pour the warm caramel over the pineapple and cherries at the bottom of the pan.  (Use care in handling the caramel, so you don't burn yourself.)
  13. Transfer the batter to the cake pan. 
  14. Bake cake until an inserted toothpick or cake tester comes out clean.  About 40 minutes (as I mentioned, this cake took much longer than 40 minutes to bake.  I think it was closer to an hour and 15 minutes.  So keep that in mind for planning purposes.)
  15. Invert cake onto a cake plate.  You might want to let it cool for 10 minutes--I turned mine out right away and the caramel went every where, because it was so hot.  You also don't want to leave the cake in the pan for too long, or else I don't know if you'll have any problems getting it to turn out.

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