Thursday, September 3, 2009

Super good, and you can pretend it's healthy!

Ava's strawberry birthday cake turned out really nicely. So well, in fact, that Jace requested strawberry cake for his birthday in a couple weeks! He didn't seem to mind the pink color.
But today was my grandmother's birthday, not Jace's (Happy Birthday, Bobbie!), so we decided to run with the from scratch trend to make her a special cake. A Pineapple Upside Down Cake, to be exact!


It was actually really easy to make. It's a modified recipe from here, and it will definitely be an old standby from now on. We made a very light caramel sauce instead of one with brown sugar, and used crushed pinapple in place of rings. The rings look prettier, but the kids and I love having pineapple in every single bite.


It turned out with a very sweet topping, though not overwhelming, and a moderately dense, very flavorful cake with an almond flavor. The two different types of sweetness complimented eachother really well, and we had the pickiest judges imaginable.


Ava takes a bite and considers. She's thinking hard, analyzing the bouquet and trying to come up the the perfect adjective.


And she's a fan!


Jace is taking his job as a food critic very seriously, too.


His verdict? "It tastes way better than it smells!" (It smelled fine, I don't know what he was talking about. )

Both kids had seconds, and it was a hit with my Grandmother, Mom, and a friend they had over. I'm glad to have an option that is still a fun cake but feels like a lighter, more healthy choice. Even though it's probably not. Although, being made from scratch you have more control over what is in the ingredients you use. Plus, it's not super sensitive to amounts being perfectly measured, so it's safe to let the kids help. = )

Want to try it? Here's the recipe.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake


1/2 cup water
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 can pineapple, rings or crushed or about 20 oz. fresh pineapple.

This makes a very light tasting caramel versus the heavier brown sugar variety. It would probably be great both ways!

Combine sugar and water in a saucepan on medium heat until the sugar has dissolved, then turn up heat to medium high and boil until the mixture turns a light amber color (not more than 10 minutes). Add butter (careful, it will foam up!) and swirl, then pour into 10" nonstick cake pan.

Then add your pineapple, either crushed or rings. The rings look prettier, but I like the way the crushed pineapple guarantees you a bite of fruit in every bite.

Then set pan aside and continue the recipe.

*make sure to remove your caramel sauce from the heat before it begins to dry out and seize up. I missed the window the first time around and had to remake it. It can be hard to see the color in a dark pan, so I would watch the clock. You're looking for a liquid sauce.


1 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp All Purpose Flour
6 Tbsp ground almonds (about large handful thrown into a magic bullet or food processor. Grind until texture is fine)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
4 large eggs
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Start by wisking flour, almonds, baking powder, and salt in a med to large mixing bowl.

In another large bowl, mix sugar and butter together until fluffy, then add eggs one at a time, beating between each egg. Add vanilla and mix.

Add dry ingredients and sour cream by halves until completely mixed.

Pour batter on top of your topping mix in 10" pan.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, around an hour. I started checking at 50 minutes and it was finished at 1 hour 10 minutes, but that will depend on your pan and oven.

Let cool for ten minutes, then turn onto whatever you'll be serving the cake from. Serve warm or at room temperature.

It's even better the next day! Gives the caramel time to get really gooey and good.

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