Sunday, December 7, 2014

Pineapple Upside Down Pumpkin Gingerbread

I think that one of the more difficult things in creating your own recipe is balancing the flavors.  I have posted and have seen other bloggers post comments regarding "subtle flavor" or that a certain flavor takes over the whole dessert which is not what is intended.  I think the worst I have seen is a recipe review stating "and after that dessert we all went to bed with upset stomachs".  It was not a blogger recipe but an actual comment regarding a recipe in a published cookbook.

This cake recipe, in reading the name itself, makes you think there is too much going on here. However, I give kudos to the collaboration of Gold Medal Flour and the Hawaiian Pineapple company in creating this recipe.  It came out back in the 1960's and proves that both knew a thing or two about balance of flavor.

This recipe is spot on when it comes to texture as well as flavor. As you can see by the above picture, this cake was moist and tender.  The cake brings all those wonderful winter flavors together, pumpkin, gingerbread and cinnamon.  Great as a stand alone, but even better with the pineapple caramel topping with an occasional bite of fresh pineapple on top.

This one does not require a lot of time or effort.  The biggest effort was only cutting out the circles of pineapple and most of the time used was in the baking of the cake.  The size of this cake is not real big.  Perhaps you and one of your loved ones should take some time out from all the holiday stress.  Time to crank up the fireplace, put on some Christmas music and kick back with a warm a cup of hot tea or coffee and a slice of this cake. Ahhh, I just feel better thinking about it...

Pineapple Upside-Down Pumpkin Gingerbread
adapted from Bon Appetit/ Oct 2008

1 ripe pineapple/ peeled
2/3 cup light brown sugar (packed)
1 tsp light or mild molasses
2 tbs frozen pineapple juice concentrate, thawed
1/2 cup or 1 stick of butter
Nonstick pan spray

1/2 cup light molasses
2 eggs
1/2 cup or 1 stick softened butter
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup boiling water
1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
Whipped cream (optional)

Start by cutting 1/3 inch round from the pineapple and core it.  Then stand the pineapple on end and cut 1/3 inch thick lengthwise slices, avoiding the core.  Take a small biscuit cutter (I used a 1 inch) and cut the slices into circles. 15-20 circles will be enough.  Place the slices in a bowl, cover and refrigerate.  Reserve the rest of the pineapple in the fridge for another use.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 inch square or round cake pan with non-stick spray.

The topping will be prepared first. Place a saucepan on medium high heat and fill with butter, sugar and pineapple juice concentrate.  Stir and let butter melt and sugar dissolve until smooth.  Then stop stirring and let mixture boil for about 1-2 minutes. It should have the consistency of warm caramel. Remove and pour into prepared pan and swirl a little, to make sure it is even on the bottom.

Place the pineapple slices on top of the caramel mixture in a decorative design, making sure there is no overlap. For the cake, sift together the ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt and flour. Set the filled cake pan as well as the bowl with sifted ingredients aside.

In another bowl, beat butter until smooth.  Pour in the sugar and beat on medium speed until all is incorporated.  Add one egg and beat for 30 seconds.  Repeat with the additional egg.  Continue to beat mixture and pour in molasses and spoon in the pumpkin.  Remove beater blades and if using a stand mixer, remove bowl from stand when all is blended together. Using a spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the batter until no dry streaks remain.  Lastly, pour the boiling water into the batter and mix until blended.

Empty batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface, so it is even.  Place in oven and bake until tester comes out clean.  Bake time is approximately 50 minutes. Remove cake pan from oven and place over cooling rack.  Cake should cool in pan for about 45 minutes. Then invert pan over platter or cake board.  Let rest in place for 5 minutes, then remove pan. 

For serving, cake can be warm or room temperature.  Also, if you prefer, you can add a dollup of whipped cream on the side with each slice.

Tips and Notes:
1. Fresh pineapple on top does beat canned, for cutting the canned is way too mushy.  As noted above, you will have some left over.  I did not have an issue since fresh fruit is always eaten in this house.

2. Be aware that the cake bakes up very dark, so do not think it is burnt.  The above noted baking time was perfect for my oven 
                                        **LAST YEAR: Czech Nut Bars*