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Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

When Barbara "B." Smith was little, she says, she loved to help her mother make this dessert. "I especially liked the part when the cake came out of the oven and was expertly flipped over to reveal the rings of pineapple -- intact and cherry-centered. It looked like a work of art. It still does!" What better time than Kwanzaa to celebrate the success of this native Western Pennsylvanian by baking this delicious dessert.

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
7 slices canned pineapple (reserve 1/2 cup juice for the cake)
13 candied cherries

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup reserved pineapple juice
Whipped cream, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the sides of a 9-by-3-inch round baking pan with nonstick cooking spray or melted butter.

For the topping: Beat the melted butter and the brown sugar together in a small bowl. Spread this over the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Arrange 6 pineapple slices around the edge of the pan and one slice in the middle. Place a cherry in the center of each pineapple slice, and the rest between the slices around the edge.

To make the cake: Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger and cloves in a large bowl. In another large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Using a spatula, alternately fold in the flour mixture and the heavy cream and pineapple juice until blended. Spread the batter over the pineapple slices, and bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Then run a metal spatula around the edge to loosen the cake, invert a serving plate over the cake pan, and turn the cake and plate over together. Remove the cake pan. Serve warm, with whipped cream. Makes one 9-inch cake that serves 8 to 10.

"B. Smith's Entertaining and Cooking for Friends"

Sunday, December 26, 1999

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