Tag Archives: everyday cake

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Pineapple Upside-Down CakeThere’s just something about Pineapple Upside-Down Cake.Pineapple Upside-Down CakeI don’t know if it’s the buttery cake or the mosaic of canned fruit that I would otherwise never eat or the way the brown sugar glaze caramelizes perfectly during the 50 minute bake time.Pineapple Upside-Down CakePineapple Upside-Down CakePineapple Upside-Down CakePineapple Upside-Down CakePerhaps it’s the way that it somehow straddles the line between Everyday Cake and Celebration Cake.Pineapple Upside-Down CakePineapple Upside-Down CakeOr that it doesn’t need to cool much after baking and doesn’t need any sort of adornment to make it complete. A scoop of ice cream doesn’t hurt though.Pineapple Upside-Down CakePineapple Upside-Down CakeMaybe it’s that making one of these beauties lets me channel the TV ghost of June Cleaver. The undeniable retro-ness of this cake nearly has me reaching for my string of pearls.Pineapple Upside-Down Cake(That’s really something, considering that this blog could easily be sponsored by Lululemon, Birkenstock, and ten year old college t-shirts.)Pineapple Upside-Down CakeYep, if I were a cake, this would be the one.Pineapple Upside-Down CakeWhy all this Pineapple Upside-Down Cake love? Well, all the things listed above and because today is National Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Day. Yes, that’s a thing now. As far as I’m concerned, it’s as good a reason as any to stash a homemade cake in your fridge and snack on it all weekend.Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
makes one 9-inch round cake

Topping:
1 20-ounce can pineapple slices in juice
1 10-ounce jar maraschino cherries
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed

Cake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract (optional)
1/2 cup pineapple juice (reserved from topping)
1/2 cup milk (not skim or fat free), room temperature

For serving:
vanilla ice cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a deep 9-inch round cake pan (or a springform). Set aside.

Make the topping. Open the can of pineapple rings and drain the juice into a small bowl. Drain maraschino cherries (or just fish them out of the jar).

In a small saucepan, combine butter and light brown sugar. Place over medium-low heat and stir constantly until butter and sugar are melted, 3-5 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Transfer mixture into prepared pan, using a silicone spatula to spread it over the entire bottom of the pan. Top the brown sugar mixture with a single layer or pineapple and cherries. Set aside.

Make the cake batter. In a small-medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in granulated and light brown sugars. Add eggs one at a time, mixing completely after each addition. Combine pineapple juice, milk, vanilla and almond extracts (if using) in a measuring cup. With the mixer on low, alternate adding dry ingredients and the pineapple juice mixture in two installments. Mix just until combined.

Pour batter over pineapple and cherry layer, and spread with a silicone spatula to even out the top. Tap pan on the counter two or three times to release any large air bubbles. Depending on the depth of your pan, you may want to place it on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any light overflow of caramel.

Bake cake 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Tent loosely with a layer of foil if anything begins to brown too quickly.

Let cake cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Run a small, thin knife around the edge of the pan a couple of times before inverting onto a cake stand or large serving plate. If any fruit sticks to the pan, just nudge it back onto the cake with your fingers.

Serve cake warm, room temperature, or cold, with ice cream, if desired.

Cake is best the day it’s baked, but will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

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Plum Cake

Plum CakeHello! How was your Labor Day weekend? Did you go on a vacation? Did you have a cookout? Please tell me you did something fun, because all I did was work. Thank goodness I have friends who know how to save me from myself by taking me out to dinner! Mark my words, I’m not doing anything on Columbus Day weekend.

But enough about my personal life. This is a baking blog and my day-to-day simply is not as interesting as this Plum Cake.Plum CakeI’ve never been much for cooked stone fruit (peaches, apricots, etc.) in my desserts, but I make an exception for this cake. I mean, how could I possibly resist a buttery, brown sugary cake full of soft, jammy late-summer plums?!

This is my favorite kind of cake–the “everyday” variety. There’s no layering, no frosting, no need for a special occasion. This rustic dessert is one that can be whipped up anytime the need for cake arises.

Plum CakePlum Cake has the same base as my Mango Upside-Down Cake. The cake itself is super soft and full of brown sugar flavor. I added the tiniest bit of cinnamon and a little almond extract here, just to help the plums “pop.” The batter is a breeze to whip up, and only takes a few minutes to put together. Once you’ve got the batter in the pan, lay halved plums over the top and slide it into the oven.

Plum CakePlum CakeAs the cake bakes, the plums collapse into the batter, leaving divots in the top of the finished product. The cake can be served as-is, but I like to sift confectioner’s sugar over the top. I love the contrast between the browned edges and the white top. And of course, when the cake is sliced, there are gorgeous purplish-red cross-sections of plum all the way through!

Plum CakeThis Plum Cake is a fantastic way to use some of that good end-of-summer fruit. The sweet-tart plums really shine in this simple almond-scented brown sugar cake. As we move into fall, this cake is a great way to enjoy the last of what summer has to offer.Plum Cake

Plum Cake
makes one 9-inch round cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
4-6 plums,* halved and pitted (I used empress plums)
1/4-1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar, for topping

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan.* Set aside.

In a small-medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in dark brown and granulated sugars. Add eggs one at a time, mixing completely after each addition. With the mixer on low, mix in vanilla and buttermilk. Add dry ingredients in two installments, scraping down the bowl as necessary.

Pour batter into prepared pan, and spread with a silicone spatula to even out the top. Tap pan on the counter two or three times to release any large air bubbles. Lay halved plums cut-side down over the top of the batter. Bake 32-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean.

Let cake cool completely in the pan on a rack. Place a separate rack over a sheet of wax paper. Release the cake from the pan and place over prepared rack. Sift confectioner’s sugar over the top. Slice and serve. 

Notes:

1.  Use any plums you like. This cake works well with black, red, empress, or Italian prune plums. If the plums are small, you will need more to cover the top of the batter.

2.  If you do not have a springform pan, this cake may be made in a deep dish pie plate, or a deep cake pan. If using one of these alternatives, serve the cake directly from the pan. This cake does not invert well.

Vanilla Bean Ricotta Cake

 Everyone has their go-to dessert–that thing they make when a friend has a baby or they’re asked to bring dessert for a dinner party. For my mom, it’s angel food cake with fresh blueberries and whipped cream. For my grandmother, Mame, it was a cherry-pineapple dump cake, which she called “Simply Delicious,” because who wants to eat something called dump cake?! 

My go-to? This Vanilla Bean Ricotta Cake. Now, the words “vanilla bean” and “ricotta” make it sound fancy, but it’s not–it’s basically pound cake. There’s no frosting or layering because this cake simply doesn’t need that kind of adornment. It’s easy to put together and bakes up super dense and moist, with tons of vanilla bean flavor.

For those of you who aren’t much for ricotta in other applications, you should know that I’m not either. Ricotta cheese doesn’t belong in my lasagna, on my toast, or anywhere else…except this cake. The milky flavor and grainy texture that turn me off in savory foods are what make this cake so insanely moist and delicious. The cheese melds so well into the simple batter, it’ll turn even the staunchest of ricotta-haters. If you really don’t want to use the stuff, you may substitute an equal volume of full-fat sour cream.
 This recipe makes a small loaf cake. It will not rise above the top of the pan. But what it lacks in size, it makes up for in versatility. Vanilla Bean Ricotta Cake is buttery and moist with a distinct vanilla flavor. It’s the kind of cake that’s fantastic by itself with a cup of coffee or tea, but it is a wonderful base for pretty much any toppings you can think of! Mix up a quick vanilla glaze (like the one used here) and drizzle it over the top of the cooled cake before slicing. Top slices with fresh strawberries and whipped cream for a sort of makeshift strawberry shortcake. Use it in trifles or ice cream cakes. Seriously, this cake is good with just about anything. 

This weekend, I’m going to serve Vanilla Bean Ricotta Cake with Blueberry Compote. I just love the look of the berries on the sliced cake, and the blueberry-lemon flavor goes so well with the vanilla bean! Make it this Memorial Day Weekend and enjoy it with your family and friends. Maybe it’ll become your go-to dessert, too 😊 

 Vanilla Bean Ricotta Cake
makes one 9×5″ loaf, about 8-12 servings

For the pan:
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon neutral-flavored oil (I like canola)

Cake:
1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste**
4 ounces (1/2 cup) full-fat ricotta cheese, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease the pan. Mix together flour and neutral-flavored oil. Use a pastry brush to paint mixture over the entire inside of the pan. Pour out any excess. Set aside.

Make the batter. In a small-medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy. Beat in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Beat in vanilla bean paste, followed by ricotta. Add dry ingredients in two installments, combining completely after each addition.

Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Tap full pan on the counter five times to release any air bubbles. Bake 35-40 minutes, tenting with foil if it starts to brown too quickly. Cake is done when it’s golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or with only a few moist crumbs.

Let cake cool in the pan for ten minutes. Run a small, thin knife around the edge of the pan to release the cake. Invert it onto a cooling rack, and then revert. Let cool completely.

Cake will keep at room temperature for up to three days, and in the refrigerator for up to five.

Notes:


1. I use Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste.
2. If you don’t have or don’t want to use vanilla bean paste, you may use an equal volume of pure vanilla extract, or the scraped seeds of one vanilla bean + 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.