Monday, 29 August 2011

upside down pineapple and pecan cake (gluten free)

Upside down pineapple cake is one one of my families favourites!  The cake is baked with the pineapple on the underside, so that when it is flipped out of its tin the pineapple is revealed in all its gloriously citrus wonder.  And even though you know it is there, there is still the odd 'oooo' and 'ahhhh' and 'yipee' when the flip is a success.

This recipe is adapted to be gluten-free, however, you can use regular self-raising flour.  It will work just as well and will probably rise a lot better too.  The gluten-free flour blends, although decent, do not always result in a light and fluffy cake, however, for this particular recipe, dense and moist is just how it should be!  Alternatively, i think that a wholemeal flour could work well, especially as its two favourite companions - fruit and syrup - make an appearance.

The pecans and ground almonds are optional.  I just like the combination of pecans with fruit, and the almonds create that nutty flavour all the way through the cake.  A much simplified version of this recipe would be to make a 6oz sponge mixture (6oz butter / 6oz caster sugar / 3 eggs / 6oz s-r flour) and pour over the pineapple, as the recipe details below.

1 small tin of pineapple rings, in fruit juice
6oz / 170g self-raising flour
6oz / 170g golden caster sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
3 medium free-range eggs, lightly whisked
6oz / 170g gluten free self-raising flour blend (you can use regular self-raising if you prefer)
2 tsp baking powder
2oz / 55g ground almonds (optional)
1oz / 30g pecans, roughly chopped (optional)

for the glaze, when the cake is baked....
pineapple juice (from the tin of pineapple rings)
3oz / 80g of golden caster sugar

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 / 180 and line the base of a 23" clip cake tin.
Drain the tin of pineapple rings into a small bowl, making sure you keep the juice.
Arrange the rings on the bottom of the cake tin.  You can chop them into pieces if you prefer - be as artistic as you like with the arrangement, remembering that they will be on top of the cake once it is turned out from its tin.
Cream the butter in an electric mixer, if you have one, with a wooden spoon if not.
Add the golden caster sugar (6oz) and mix again until combined.
Add the golden syrup and mix again.
Whisk the eggs together in a separate bowl and then add them to the mixture, a little at a time, mixing in between until combined.
Sieve the flour, ground almonds and baking powder into a separate bowl.
Using a wooden spoon, gently fold the flour mixture into the cake mixture, a little at a time, until smooth and combined. 
Add the pecans and fold until they are through the mixture.
Pour the cake mixture over the pineapple pieces in the cake tin and place on the middle shelf of the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the skewer test is successful!

When a skewer, inserted into the middle of the cake, comes out clean the cake is done.
Leave the cake in its tin and place on a wire rack.
Mix together the pineapple juice and the golden caster sugar (3oz) in a small bowl, until thick(ish) and glaze-like.  You may need a little less or more sugar depending on how much juice was in the tin, just add a little at a time until you are satisfied.
Skewer the cake several times, whilst it is still warm in its tin.  Pour this sugary glaze over the cake.
Leave the cake to cool for and hour or so in the tin.  This will give the glaze a chance to harden as well.
Once cooled, unclip the cake tin and turn it out onto a cake stand or plate.  The method of completing this flip can be entirely your own, but i find the easiest way is to place the cake stand or plate, upside down on top of the cake, grab the two together and flip it towards myself.
Gently lift the base of the tin from the top of the cake and peal off the greaseproof / parchment lining.
Et voila!
Serve with warm custard, cream or ice cream depending on your mood and the weather.

Katie x

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