In our childhood home we had a long narrow walk-in pantry lined with shelves on both sides. At the end of the pantry was a little window with a shelf attached to the sill. The window was very crudely made when the house was built many years before we moved in. There was a simple wooden latch that would keep it closed. A heavy screen covered the outside opening. That "cooling shelf" held more pies and cakes over the years than we can remember.
One cake that got us kids more excited than any other, was the pineapple upside-down cake. It took every ounce of strength for us to not sneak a piece or even pinch off a little corner of it. It was always one of Mama's masterpiece desserts and we did not dare touch it till we were served a piece after supper. Oh .... the agony of waiting all day for that cake was sheer torture.
Just before Mama would set the cake on the table after supper, she heated it up in the oven till the syrup of brown sugar and butter would just barely start to drip over the sides.
I got out my Folks From Down Home Recipe Box and dug out Mama's old recipe for you. I hope you like it as much as we did, and still do.
Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
In large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add shortening, milk and vanilla and beat 300 strokes with a large wooden spoon (I use my electric mixer and beat for about two minutes). Add egg and beat another 300 strokes (or two minutes with mixer). Refrigerate while preparing topping for cake.
Grease a 13"x9" cake pan.
Pineapple and Syrup Topping Ingredients:
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
6 - 10 drained pineapple slices
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
6 - 10 ripe cherries, pitted (or maraschino cherries)
Melt butter in cake pan and sprinkle the brown sugar and chopped walnuts evenly in pan. Arrange pineapple slices two across and 3 down. Slice extra pineapple slices in half and arrange around the edges. Place a cherry in the center of each pineapple slice.
Stir cake batter a little then pour gently over the pineapple - syrup mix.
Bake cake at 350 degrees for about 40 - 45 minutes. Check for to see if cake is done by poking a toothpick in the center. If toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done.
When cake is done, turn immediately upside-down onto a platter. Leave the pan in place for a few minutes then remove it. Serve cake warm with whipped cream or softened vanilla ice cream.
With today's tight and busy schedules, a box of yellow cake mix can be used rather then making the cake from scratch.
This makes a lovely dessert for a holiday buffet table.