Pineapples are, in my opinion, one of the best short-term investments you can make. Just pick one up during an otherwise unassuming trip to the grocery store (come on, how many weeks in a row can avocados be your exciting tropical fruit?!), and you're already having fun, shimmy-shimmy-shimmying around the rest of your trip with that puppy in your basket. You wink at the cashier as he scans your eggs and wonders whether you're from some tropical island since you have such exotic taste in produce, he can't help but notice. Then, for the next week while you ponder whether you'll cut it up and devour it in one sitting or maybe make a pizza just to put the chunks on, you can practically hear the waves crashing outside your apartment window every time someone walks in your kitchen and gasps: "A pineapple?! How fun!!"
Well I got lucky. You see, as the aroma of that fated pineapple began filling my apartment with the smell of golden Hawaiian sunrises, it brought with it the call of work in the morning and a worthy cause for which to slice open that prickly exterior. Next thing I knew it was both the make-or-break point in pineapple town and the eve of my mom's birthday--an occasion to celebrate a long-time lover of pineapple upside down cake, and a fancy schmancy ripe fruit to make it with! Who could ask for more? I know it's a little old fashioned, but I know you're hip enough to pull it off, Lush Scouts. I know it!
So I set to work! I hunted down a recipe, and decided that Betty Crocker has never steered me (nor my mom, for that matter!) wrong. This short-and-sweet recipe, with fresh pineapple replacing the canned rings, KILLED IT. Amazing crunchy sugary top, perfectly tart/sweet fruit, and a nice moist cake that took on some tropical flavor of its own. I sliced the pineapple in quarters with the intention of arranging a beautiful sunburst design on the cake proper, but wound up with a much more homemade-looking (read: ugly) result. I tossed some smaller chunks in a cupcake mold so that I could have some leftovers to share with friends and still have an untouched cake to give my mom on the big day, and those came out very fun and festive!
The Recipe, Courtesy of Betty Crocker
1/4 cup melted butter/margarine (I used olive oil because I didn't have time to go to the store... ssh!)
2/3 cup brown sugar
9 maraschino cherries, if you're into that
1 and 1/3 cup flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup shortening (I used olive oil again)
1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 9-inch pan/cupcake tins/what have you, drizzle your melted butter and sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over that. Slice the pineapple thinly, and arrange in your desired design on top of the brown sugar. Jauntily place your maraschino cherries throughout, you wild folk including them!
In a medium bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients. I'd say I stirred for a good few minutes before pouring the mixture over the pineapple in the pans. Some chunks might float up into the cake itself, but that's just bonus flavor! Pat yourself on the back for already making your cake extra-delish.
Bake 50-55 minutes (less time for cupcakes) or until a knife/toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Right off the bat flip the pan onto a heat-proof dish to let the cake flip and get all that amazing brown sugar drizzling onto your cake. Remove pan after a few minutes, and serve that baby warm.
Life's a beach,