One of the most popular desserts of the 1960s was Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. The way I remember it, there rarely seemed to be a gathering where someone didn’t bring one, and church suppers often featured two or three. At home, my mom sometimes made one when it was her turn to host her weekly bridge group or monthly League of Women Voters meeting.Upside-Down Cake is easy to make. It was one of the first desserts my mom and I made together, although I doubt I did much more than lick the spoon, or arrange pineapple slices into a pretty pattern. The very idea that the cake is flipped after it’s baked, with the bottom becoming the top, made the process quite exciting to a five-year-old.
Because my “Miss Dreamsville” novels are historical fiction set in the 1960s, one of my characters in the new one (to be released Sept. 8) mentions making the familiar cake, which, in a round-about sort of fashion seemed to give me the perfect excuse to make one. After all, this was research, right?
My husband, who grew up in Collier County, Florida where my novels are set, found it amusing that I was planning to make an Upside-Down Cake, just for old times sake. But to my delight he suddenly remembered the way they were made in Collier County, with orange slices as well as pineapple. (Note that they must be Florida oranges! Never from California. If the produce manager at Winn-Dixie was foolish enough to try to sell California oranges, he got an earful!)
Here’s the recipe:
Collier County Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Two tablespoons butter (unsalted, preferably)
One-third cup packed brown sugar
Three pineapple slices, each cut in half (drain if from a can)
One medium-sized Florida orange, peeled and cut into small sections. Remove seeds and segment walls where fibrous
4 maraschino cherries (cut into halves)
One and one-third cups of flour
Two-thirds cup of white sugar
Two tablespoons baking powder
Two-third cup of milk
One-quarter cup butter (soften by leaving on counter)
One teaspoon of vanilla
Step 1. Melt the two tablespoons butter in a small fry pan. Add brown sugar and one teaspoon water. Stir. Pour mixture into a nine by one and one-half inch cake pan (round). Place pineapple and oranges in any design you choose. Add cherries to decorate. Put on side burner.
Step 2. Using a medium-sized mixing bowl, stir flour, white sugar, and baking powder. Then add one-quarter cup of butter, one egg, vanilla, and milk. Combine by hand. Beat with electric mixer for at least one minute on medium speed. Using a spoon, carefully spread batter on top of the fruit in the pan that was prepared in Step 1.
Step 3. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes or until a fork inserted near center comes out clean. Remove from oven and leave on wire rack for five minutes. Use a knife to loosen cake. Flip upside down onto a flat serving plate.
Best if served warm with vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!
P.S. I’ll be posting more recipes on my website, http://www.amyhillhearth.com