Fruit upside-down cakes are always a gamble. From batter to oven, you have absolutely no idea how your cake will turn out. And then, in one heart-stopping moment, you finally flip your cake out of its tin, hoping to see a beautiful, intact pattern of fruit. God forbid if anything gets stuck to the tin. But the rewards are well worth the risk, because upside-down cakes can look simply spectacular.
This particular upside-down cake is a simple one with pineapple rings, dotted with bright red cherries, and set in a very moist sponge cake. This recipe is a much lighter version of the classic Southern one cooked in a cast-iron skillet. And it’s almost foolproof too. (Almost.)
20g unsalted butter
20g brown sugar
7 pineapple rings (from a tin)
7 maraschino cherries
100g unsalted butter, softened
100g caster sugar
20g corn flour (finely ground cornmeal)
80g all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup milk
Makes one thin 9-inch cake.
Step 1: Microwave the 20g of butter and brown sugar for about 30 seconds. Stir to get a thick paste.
Step 2: Preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F). Grease and line one 9-inch round cake tin. Spread the butter-sugar paste evenly on the bottom of the tin using the back of a spoon. (It doesn’t look possible, but the paste is enough for the entire tin. Take your time to spread it around.)
Step 3: Arrange the pineapple rings on top of the paste and drop cherries inside the rings.
Step 4: Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Mix in the corn flour, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the flour, baking powder and milk.
Step 5: Carefully spoon the batter over the pineapple and cherries to avoid dislodging them. Bake for 35 minutes.
Step 6: Let the cake cool completely in the tin. Then (say a prayer and) tip it out onto your serving board.