Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Becomes Cocktail Hour

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I had a major disaster in the kitchen. I’m still not sure what happened.

Ever since I started dabbling in mid-century recipes, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of making a pineapple upside-down cake. I’ve never had one before, but they look delicious, and my parents assure me that the ones their grandmothers made were always scrumptious.

I found a recipe that suggested I bake the upside down cake in an iron skillet. This, apparently was my first mistake. I know this because my mother mentioned it several times. “I’ve never heard of anyone baking a cake in an iron skillet.” “Maybe you should take it out of the iron skillet.” “Do you want me to ask your aunt if she ever bakes in an iron skillet?” Helpful.

So, there was the iron skillet part.

Looks delicious so far

Looks delicious so far

But I also had a difficult time with the eggs. The recipe requires that you separate the egg whites and yolks. Okay, that’s fine. But then I had to whip the egg whites, adding sugar, until stiff peaks form. I’ve done this many times before. I’ve made meringue. I’m patient enough in the kitchen. But I stood there with the mixer on full blast, willing those stiff peaks to form, to no avail. I eventually settled for soft peaks and hoped for the best.

In the end, the cake had a really stiff upper (bottom?) layer that looked like this…

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that when cracked, revealed a globby, buttery, eggy mess underneath.

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Unfortunately, I attempted this recipe while my parents were visiting so I was bombarded with suggestions. “Put it back in!” says my Dad. “Scrape the hard part off and try again!” says my Mom. Once they came over for a closer look, they both agreed that the cake was a lost cause.

So I did what any failed baker would do, when left with delicious drink ingredients. I put the leftover pineapple juice, cherries, and rum to good use.

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I’m determined to make a pineapple upside-down cake successfully someday. I’ll lick my wounds, regroup, find a new recipe, and (hopefully) be back with a photo of a beautiful cake and a tale of triumph.

And if not, I’ll have a really good drink.

Addendum:

I managed to successfully make a pineapple upside-down cake a few days later, using this recipe.

This is what it looked like upside-down

This is what it looked like upside-down

I still had some minor mishaps. The cake pan I used was too shallow, so some (a lot, actually) of the buttery topping bubbled out. I was afraid I was going to set off the fire alarm at one point. But in the end, it turned out. Finally!

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