Christmas Cake

Pineapple Upside-down Cake


1. Melt three quarters of a stick of unsalted butter in a cast iron skillet. If you only have half a stick, use that plus a quarter of a stick of salted butter. No one needs know and this is not a sign that things are going to go badly.


2. While the butter is melting get the brown sugar out of the pantry. When reaching for the sugar, knock the chia seeds on the floor. Since you didn’t close the container all the way last time you used it, you will need to sweep up the chia that’s now all over the floor. Which is about as easy as sweeping up feathers. Also yell at the dog because she is playing in the chia on the floor. Kick the uncooperative chia under a counter or stove. Add the brown sugar to the butter and do not burn it. Trust me. It’s bad.


3.  Arrange the pineapple pieces on the butter-sugar concoction. Bear in mind that this will be the top of the cake and you may want it to look “nice” and not at all like a crazy-quilt.


4. Sift together the dry ingredients. Wonder why you have to sift anything ever. Wonder about the freshness of the baking powder. Dismiss that thought. It can’t be that important.


5. Beat three quarters of a stick of unsalted softened butter until light and fluffy. Revisit item number one regarding the unsalted butter. Since you probably neglected to set the butter on the counter to soften, you may want to employ the  microwave. Remember the idea is to soften it though, not to melt it. Good luck with that.


6. Gradually add granulated white sugar. Remember that you used the last of the white sugar the last time you baked. Consider the options: honey or raw sugar. Go with the raw sugar. How different can it be?


7. Add room temperature eggs one at a time. No, you didn’t put the eggs out either, but you did have the foresight to put them in warm water when you started this. So you’re good to go.


8. Add vanilla and rum. When measuring them assume that the cap to the vanilla is half a teaspoon and the cap to the rum is one teaspoon. Let someone else prove otherwise. Taste the rum for freshness. This is much more important than the baking powder. Oh and speaking of baking powder, never substitute baking soda for baking powder or vice versa. Just trust me on this one.


9. Mix in half the dry ingredients. Since you didn’t get out the big mixer (too much trouble) and the hand mixer only operates at fast and very fast, you will now have flour pretty much everywhere. Still easier than getting out the big mixer. 


10. Mix in pineapple juice. Since it comes in a six ounce can and you only need four ounces, you now have something to add to your test rum.


11. Mix in the rest of the dry ingredients. You will once again be misted with flour. But you don’t have to clean the big mixer. 


12. Pour the batter over the pineapple topping and bake. Every dish in your kitchen is now dirty so if you don’t have a dishwasher, now may be a good time to run out and get one. Or just enjoy your rum and pineapple juice. And the fact that your kitchen smells like a tropical heaven.


Also, you might want fortify yourself since you still have to flip that sucker out of a hot cast iron skillet onto an appropriately festive, and probably delicate, plate. You’ll be fine. Oh and any of the pineapple that sticks to the pan will have it’s place handily outlined on the top of the cake, but remember you’re dealing with hot butter and sugar so use a utensil for goodness sake.


Later, when you think what’s that smell, and not in the good way, it may be the clean iron skillet that you set on a hot burner to dry. Take it off immediately.


The recipe I use is from Smitten Kitchen and really is delicious.


No dogs were harmed in the baking of this cake.