I borrowed this cake recipe from Gourmet Magazine circa 2000- adding a few twists of my own along the way. It is surprisingly simple to make yet the presentation is fun and elegant at the same time.
1 container of fresh pineapple - peeled and cored**
1 1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons of dark rum
1 maraschino cherry- optional
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 tablespoon of dark rum
1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice**
**Fresh pineapple is absolutely recommended for this. Instead of peeling and coring a whole one yourself (and buying extra juice)- look for the peeled and cored -whole piece of pineapple in the clear plastic container in the produce section of your grocery store. Slice the pineapple into 1/3 inch slices and then cut all but one of the slices into quarters. AND SAVE THE JUICE from the container to use in the cake.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
First Make the Topping: Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the brown sugar and simmer over medium heat for 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Next add the rum and cook for one more minute until incorporated. Pour half of the caramel mixture into a lightly greased 9 inch springform pan. (See the Gourmet recipe link for the cast iron skillet version.) Save the other half of the caramel sauce for serving. Next arrange the pineapple pieces over the caramel layer: I used a whole slice with a cherry in the middle and then the quarter slices in concentric circles. Some tiny pieces around the edges.
Lastly prepare the cake batter:
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Beat butter with an electric mixer until fluffy- gradually beat in the sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Next add the vanilla and the rum. Gently mix in half of the flour, then the pineapple juice, then the other half of the flour mixture Mixing slowly until just incorporated. Spoon the batter over the pineapple and caramel in the pan.
Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing the sides of the springform pan and inverting the cake onto a cake plate. If any of the pineapple pieces stick to the pan, just pluck them off and place them back on the cake.
The cake is fairly rich and serves 8-10 people easily. I put a little scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side and then drizzled it with the left over caramel rum sauce. (Reheat it gently before serving.)
Looking for more sweet treat ideas this week? Check out the collection growing on fellow blogger's site "Sweet as Sugar Cookies"