It’s time to go retro! It’s nearly Spring in the Southern Hemisphere which naturally calls for a fruity cake. I use my basic vanilla cake recipe for this upside down cake and I always use buttermilk as it ensures the cake is moist and fluffy.
Let me give you a rundown of my most recent attempt. Off I go to the supermarket, taking a leisurely stroll and enjoying the warmer weather. I get there and start cruising the aisles for ingredients. For some reason I’m in a bit of a daze so I’m standing at the tinned food section, see a large tin of pineapples and grab it without reading the label properly. Perfect. Right next to the pineapples is tinned cherries. Again, I grab a tin and carry on with my shopping. I get home, filled with excitement (it doesn’t take much, baking does that to me), and open the tins. Crap. I’ve bought chunks of pineapples instead of rings. Oh bother. Not to worry, we’ll carry on as usual. I open the cherries and I’m like, these aren’t glacé cherries. Really? Double crap, double bother. Now, I’m so excited to bake this cake so I soldier ahead, cut the cherries in half, remove the pips and make the batter. The reason I’m telling you this is because traditionally, pineapple rings are used, be they tinned or fresh, as are glacé cherries. But no, I had to complicate things. You can use pineapple chunks, they work beautifully, as do regular tinned red cherries, just remove the pips. However, you can substitute the chunks with rings and red cherries with glacé (I recommend this to avoid the schlep).
Upside Down Cake with Pineapples and Cherries
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup brown sugar
- Pineapple rings or chunks
- Glacé cherries
- For the cake:
- ¼ cup pecans, crushed in your hand
- 1¾ cups cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup white sugar
- 1 cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup melted butter
- 2 large eggs, lightly whisked
- 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
Making it happen:
1. Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). Melt ½ cup of butter in a heavy-based saucepan on medium. Once it’s melted, add ½ cup of brown sugar and stir with a whisk until it starts bubbling. Remove from the heat immediately and pour into a 25cm (10″) cake tin.
2. Layer the pineapple pieces and cherries in the melted butter syrup and sprinkle the hand-crushed pecans over them (give them a decent hearty squeeze to crush them).
3. Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl. Pour in the buttermilk and stir/whisk until well-blended. Whisk in the eggs, melted butter and vanilla, stirring until thoroughly mixed.
4. Pour the batter over the fruit and bake at 180 for 40 minutes, until a toothpick instered in the middle comes our clear. If the toothpick is still wet, back for another 5 minutes until the toothpick passes the test.
5. Allow to cool for 20 minutes. Hold a plate or cakestand upside down over the cake tin, pressing down firmly. Flip over, tap the cake tin gently and slowly remove. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
It’s Fried-day! Sorry, I couldn’t resist! You know when your guests think something took you hours but it didn’t? Yep. This recipe. There are two parts to it and each took me ten minutes. I made the caramel sauce the day before for convenience but you can make it first and while it’s cooling make the fried bananas. It’s the perfect summer dessert. Sweet, buttery bananas with gooey caramel sauce and creamy ice cream – sign me up! I added mixed seeds and nuts but you can add almonds, pecans, walnuts – whatever calls your name!
Prep time: 5 minutes Cooking time for bananas and caramel: 20 minutes total Serves: 4
Make the caramel sauce and set aside to cool.
4 bananas, peeled and sliced lengthways, then cut in half
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Nuts for topping
On medium-low heat, add bananas to the melted butter, sliced-way down, and gently fry, turning as needed, until golden brown on both sides. Sprinkle the sugar over the bananas at the five-minute mark and continue to gently fry. The whole frying process takes a total of ten minutes.
Scoop some ice cream into a bowl, lay the fried bananas over it, drizzle with salted caramel sauce and sprinkle the seeds and nuts if you’re using them. That’s it! Really. That is it!
I don’t believe in wasting, so when I ended up with two overripe bananas and half a bottle of buttermilk, I decided to make muffins. Because I don’t like wasting. Possibly also because I can’t resist them! This recipe is easy and so versatile. You can add cinnamon, pecans or walnuts and adjust it to your liking.
Prep time: <10 minutes Cook time: 15 – 20 minutes Yields: 12 medium muffins
2 large eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed
100g softened butter
1½ cups flour
½ cup white sugar
½ cup buttermilk
½ teaspoon vanilla paste (or 1 teaspoon vanilla essence/extract)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ baking soda
Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F).
I never sieve sugar unless it’s lumpy so pour the sugar into a mixing bowl and add the softened butter. Beat, using an electric mixer on low, for 20 seconds. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until fully mixed into the rest of the batter. Add the mashed bananas beat until thoroughly combined. Remember to occasionally scrape down the sides throughout the preparation.
Sieve the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda into the bowl, add the vanilla and mix well. If you’re adding cinnamon, sprinkle it in now.
Pour in the buttermilk and mix on low until fully combined and smooth. If you’re adding nuts, now is the time to do so and remember to scrape down the sides.
Pour the batter into greased muffin cups and bake for 15 – 20 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clear. You can freeze the muffins, serve them at room temperature or heat them up in the microwave for about 10 seconds, cut them in half lengthways and spread some butter over them. Oooooh!