Wednesday, June 29, 2011

pineapple-coconut upside-down cake

An entire post not centered around my shenanigans in Spain?! I thought I'd never see this day. Though I have to say, it's nice not having to sift through hundreds upon hundreds of photos of specific cathedrals, landmarks, or meals. Enjoyable, but time-consuming nonetheless.

Mom's birthday was last Friday, the day before I left for home. I was planning on baking this cake earlier in the week, but after some dramarama at JFK [unsurprising, since it's JFK] that left me in NY a day longer than expected, coupled with lingering jetlag that has me taking siestas every few hours like it's my job, I wasn't fully mentally competent enough to be handling an oven until this afternoon.

I prefer to peel my pineapple off the top and eat them like a side. But the normal individual usually leaves it on the top of the cake. It's your prerogative, really.

Still, any day is a good day for birthday cake, even if it is a bit belated. And when mom loves it despite the tardiness, it's all good in the neighborhood.

[It helps that she enjoyed my travel presents of a ceramic salt jar, fleur de sel, and hot paprika, but nuances.]

Pineapple-Coconut Upside-Down Cake
Adapted from My Recipes

You'll need:
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 12 oz sliced pineapple [preferably fresh, but canned works as well]
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup mashed banana [about 1 whole banana]
  • 2 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and grease the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Pour the melted butter onto the bottom of the pan and tilt pan so the butter spreads evenly over the base. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the butter. Layer the sliced pineapple over the brown sugar, covering as much of the surface as possible. Sprinkle coconut flakes over the pineapple and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine banana, oil, egg, and pineapple juice and mix until blended. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and whisk until fully incorporated. Spoon the batter evenly over the top of the coconut flakes and spread gently, trying not to pull up any of the coconut flakes.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until top is golden-brown. Let cake cool in pan for at least 20 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. Serve warm or at room temperature.

This cake was, initially, somewhat of a struggle. I'm not talking about the actual baking, that itself was easy. The problem was with mom's desire for a chocolate cake. But after having spent many an art class battling with unreliable WiFi to search for the perfect birthday cake, there was no way I was going to give in. So I stuck by my principles, assured her that she would fall head-over-heels in love with it, and baked it.

And, in the end, the look of sheer bliss on her face when she took a bite said it all.

In other news, I'm pretty happy to be back home. Not that I don't miss Valencia terribly, but it's rather luxurious having AC again. Nevertheless, I'll be heading back to Cville this Sunday for the remainder of the summer, and since I'll be living alone for the next 6-odd weeks, I'm not sure that I'll have many reasons to be baking.

[Knowing me, though, I won't need any.]

In other, other news, I'm really enjoying being back in the land of video games. Not that I didn't test out a bit of AC on Zach's host-brothers' PS3 on occasion [once], but Ezio is pretty hard to take seriously when speaking in Spanish [though he provided some much-needed amusement, at the time]. But I must say, sucking epically at Portal 2 has been one of the highlights of my week so far.

Not that, you know, I'm bad at video games [because I'm not]. It's just that I can't seem to wrap my head around a game whose end goal it is to defy the laws of space. Making portals left and right, opening up pathways from the ceiling to the adjacent wall, maneuvering across hundreds of feet by use of otherwise-impossible feats of momentum... My semester of astronomy refuses to let me see past the implausibility.



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