Pineapple-Almond Upside Down Cake
Herr Schultz won Fraulein Schneider over with the pineapple; she returned the favor with this cake, with tips from Bonnie Bottoms.
Yield: 8-10 servings
1 medium-sized ripe pineapple (4#, about 4 c. prepared fruit)
1 c. packed light brown sugar 2 T. unsalted butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 c. all-purpose flour
2/3 c. finely ground almonds
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 large eggs, plus 1 egg white, room temperature 1/3 c. whole milk, room temperature
Prepare pineapple: slice 1″ off top and bottom. Stand it on end and cut strips of skin off.
Quarter it lengthwise, then cut out the core. Slice lengthwise into 3/4″ strips, then cut crosswise into 1/2″ chunks.
Spray a 9″ round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. Combine pineapple and brown sugar in a 10″ skillet. Cook over medium heat until pineapple is light brown, 15-18 minutes, stirring occasionally. Empty fruit into metal strainer set over bowl. Strain, then return juices to skillet and simmer over medium heat until thickened and it begins to darken, adding any more juice that the pineapple has released after about 4 minutes. Watch carefully so it does not burn.
Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla; pour this caramel mixture into prepared cake pan. Set aside. (Pineapple will continue to release juices, but do not add these.) Heat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk flour, almonds, baking powder and salt; set aside. Cream butter and sugar at medium speed until fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add vanilla and beat. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well, and scraping mixture down sides of bowl. On low speed, add about 1/3 of flour mixture and beat until well-blended. Add half of milk, and beat until incorporated. Repeat with another 1/3 of flour and remaining milk, then finish with last 1/3 of flour. Batter will be thick; give a final stir with a rubber spatula to make sure all ingredients are incorporated from bottom and sides of bowl.
Working quickly, distribute the pieces of pineapple evenly, pressing them into the caramel mixture. Drop mounds of batter over fruit with rubber spatula, then carefully spread batter to side of pan, covering all of the fruit. Tap pan against counter to release air bubbles. Bake until golden brown and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean,
Cool 10 minutes on wire rack, then place inverted serving platter over cake pan. Flip upside down together, lift off cake pan, and let cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Serves 8-10. Also works great with apples or pears!