Pineapple Upside Down Cake with Dark Rum Sauce

This recipe is a tribute to my Grandma Martha, who left this world 3 years ago. I was very close to my grandma and it only seems fitting to dedicate this cake to her,  considering we are living in her home and cooking in her kitchen. When I was little, Sundays were the days I spent with her, playing in the yard, watching movies and learning how to make things like meatloaf, pot roast, and mashed potatoes. One of her favorite desserts was the pineapple upside down cake, I remember how sweet and sticky the topping was and how the maraschino cherries dyed the pineapple a pinkish color. She used the classic recipe from Betty Crocker which included cardamon and was topped off with a sprinkling of dark rum. I switched it up a bit to make it more contemporary and to suit my taste buds since I hate those candy red maraschino cherries anyway. 

This cake has no cardamon, no cherries, and instead of a sprinkling of rum, I paired it with a good helping of dark rum sauce!  Lastly I used fresh pineapple juice from the same pineapple rather than the canned juice the recipe calls for.  YUMMY!! The result was a moist and caramelly, sweet cake with large chucks of tender pineapple.  Delicious and worth trying!

I cooked the whole cake (except the rum sauce!) in Grandma Martha’s cast iron skillet, which is the pan I highly recommend. The skillet will let you prepare the brown sugar right where its needed, instead of in a separate pan. You get more caramelized sugar on top of your cake because the same pan can go straight from the stovetop to the oven!

Pictures and Recipe after the break

Pineapple Sugar Topping 
What You Will Need:

1 medium pineapple, peeled, cut, and cored
3/4 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar

In a well-seasoned cast iron skillet, melt the butter and add the brown sugar, stirring for about 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and arrange the pineapple pieces on top of the sugar mixture.  Set aside.

Cake Batter:
What You Will Need:

1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp dark rum
1/2 cup fresh pineapple juice (juice the leftover pineapple from the sugar topping)

Preheat oven to 350*

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl

In a large mixing bowl beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy and add eggs one by one.  Next beat in the vanilla, rum and 1/4 cup of the pineapple juice.  Slowly add the flour mixture, about half, mix well.  Add the rest of the pineapple juice, then the rest of the flour and mix until combined. 

Pour gently over the pineapple and sugar topping, making sure not to disturb the placement of the pineapple pieces.  Even out and  bake for about 45 minutes until golden brown and set in the middle.

Let cool 10 minutes before inverting a plate on top of the skillet and flipping.  Replace any pineapple pieces that may have stuck to the skillet.

Serve warm or at room temperature with a spoonful of Dark Rum Sauce

Dark Rum Sauce
What You Will Need:

1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp corn syrup
2 Tbsp of dark rum
a dash of cinnamon
1/2 cup of cream

Bring the butter, sugar, corn syrup, and cinnamon to boil.  Add the rum and flambe until all the alcohol burns off.  Slowly whisk in cream and plate with a slice of pineapple upside down cake on top. 

Adapted from Betty Crocker and Grandma Martha