I have a confession. I have never made a pineapple upside down cake. Well until the other day.
I remember eating this cake in my grandmother's kitchen and tasting it at church homecomings. Moist cake with a decadent topping of pecans, pineapple and cherries. YUM!
Not sure why I never prepared one.Maybe I was afraid Old Betsy (the iron skillet) would fail me? Now I have renewed faith in Old Betsy. She "turned out" the prettiest cake.
I tweaked an Alton Brown recipe. Pineapple Upside Down Cornmeal Cake (wow long title) Have I mentioned I am a huge fan of his? I enjoy all the scientific explanations and such. I'm such nerd. HaHaHa. There hasn't been one of his recipes to fail me yet.
The recipe called for coarse ground cornmeal. I live in the sticks,hill, boondocks and the stores here do not have plain,coarse, ground cornmeal. I adapted and used cornmeal mix and only added 1 tsp of baking powder.
The original recipe did not call for buttermilk.I added 1/2 cup and added to the cornmeal mix along with the whole milk to soak. I allowed the mixture to soak for 45 minutes and kept stirring it to ensure good absorption.
I was amazed that there wasn't any hint of cornmeal taste or grit in this cake!
I did not chop the pecans. I wish I had. The whole pecans kind of just disappeared throughout the cake. Next time, more nuts throughout the cake!
Pineapple Upside Down Cornmeal Cake (adapted from Alton Brown)
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup buttermilk (at room temp)
1 cup white cornmeal mix
1 stick of unsalted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
6 slices canned pineapple in heavy syrup
6 maraschino cherries
1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
3 tablespoons juice from canned pineapple
3 whole eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a microwave-proof dish, bring the whole milk to a boil. Remove the milk from the microwave and add the cornmeal mix and buttermilk. Stir and let soak at room temperature for 45 minutes. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the brown sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and carefully place 1 slice of pineapple in the center of the pan. Place the other 5 slices around the center slice in a circle. Place the cherries in the centers of the pineapple slices and sprinkle the nuts evenly over the fruit. Drizzle pineapple juice over top.
Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the sugar to the eggs and whisk to combine. Add the canola oil and whisk. Add the cornmeal mix and milk mixture to the egg mixture and whisk to combine. Add this to the flour and stir just until combined. Pour the batter over the fruit in the skillet and bake for 40 to 45 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes in the skillet. Set a platter on top of the skillet and carefully invert the cake. Serve.
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