It's been a while since we had cake.
And since we've been eating pretty healthy the last few days, I think we're entitled to a little dessert.
Yes, a salad with bacon and bleu cheese is still a salad in my books.
We've had pineapple upside down cake together once before, and I don't want you to feel like I am playing mind games with you by offering a second one. The methods are completely different, save the upside down part, with one cake cooking the fruit in a brown sugar syrup before topping it with a runny, pourable cake batter, then the other cake I am giving you today. The latter of the two is far superior - a schmear of honeyed sugar goo slicks the bottom of the pan, followed by fresh pineapple in it's raw state and a thick, creamy cake batter to fill in the nooks and crannies.
While cooking the fruit first will guarantee you a syrupy topping, it makes the cake too sweet and soggy after a few hours out of the pan. Keeping the fruit uncooked before baking ensures it maintains its texture, tangy bite, and gentle tug against each bite.This version comes from TK's Ad Hoc, a book that makes me drool, laugh, and roll my eyes at the fact it's supposed to be for home cooks yet he requires you to have a $600 blender.
This cake is a good introduction, and once my confidence builds up, I'll try something else. But not the brioche. I made that last week and I'm certain the Hebrews used something similar when the Egyptians took away their straw. It wasn't pleasant.
I used a square cake pan for this recipe, and you can, too. As long as it's nine inches, you'll do just fine. Before I forget - the rum. I used coconut flavored rum in lieu of the dark rum, partly because I have a burned-in memory of dark rum involving my twenty-first birthday and a Denny's parking lot, but mostly because I was hoping to replicate the slight twinge of coconut that comes with the Duncan Hines version of upside down cake. I am not ashamed.
Unfortunately, my efforts proved unsuccessful. The rum flavored evaporated completely, and with only 1/2 a teaspoon, I can see why. So if you've got dark rum, give it a go. Please report back.
Adapted from Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc.