Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

I used to love cocktails garnished with a pink maraschino cherry, though I rather shudder at the memory now. The cherries are bleached, colored with artificial dyes, and loaded up with high fructose corn syrup. No thank you! But I confess I did miss the taste of these sugary bites, so was delighted to learn Tillen Farms' organic maraschino cherries are vegan.  Making this cake was a nice way to celebrate the discovery.

  • 9 canned pineapple slices (such as Native Forest)*
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/3 cup caramel sundae syrup (such as Fun Fresh Foods)
  • 9 maraschino cherries (such as Tillen Farms)
  • 5 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 2/3 cup vegan sugar
  • 2 Ener-G eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegan buttermilk**
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1. Press the pineapple slices between paper towels until barely moist, and set aside.  Reserve any remaining pineapple slices for another use.

2. Drizzle the caramel topping in the bottom of a 9-inch square metal baking pan coated with cooking spray.  Arrange the pineapple slices in a single layer over the caramel.  Place 1 cherry in the center of each pineapple slice.

3. Place the butter in a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until melted.  Add the sugar, whisking until blended.  Add the Ener-G eggs, then add the buttermilk, baking powder, vanilla extract, salt, and baking soda.

4. Lightly spoon the flour into dry measuring cups and level with a knife.  Add the flour to the sugar mixture, stirring just until blended.  Pour the batter over the pineapple slices in the prepared pan.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes - a wooden pick inserted in the center should come out clean.  Cool for 1 minute in the pan on a wire rack.  Place a plate over the cake, and invert the cake onto the plate.  Cool completely.

Mmm, vegan goodies:

*A 15-ounce can of pineapple slices from Native Forest will contain slightly more pineapple than you need for this recipe. Just save the rest for snacking!

**To prepare the buttermilk, place 1 and 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup.  Fill with non-dairy milk to equal 1/2 cup and let stand for 5 minutes to clabber (sour) the mixture.

Nutrition Info:
9 servings (1 square), Calories 264

Tasting Notes:
Wonderfully moist, and the cherry and pineapple slice on each square of cake are a delight. A lightly-sweetened batter, with nice hints of vanilla. My only complaint is that this was not the best use of the caramel sauce, since it seemed to lose some of its flavor during baking. Definitely let the cake cool all the way - I know, it's hard to be that patient! - since the flavors taste best once cooled, rather than when warm.


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