Monday, August 15, 2011

Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes

I’m addicted to food related television programming and more specifically food competition shows. I watch Chopped, Top Chef and everything in between including Hell’s Kitchen, Iron Chef and Throwdown! with Bobby Flay. It was on this last one that I was first introduced to the Brass Sisters. Not only are these two ladies hilarious, but they made the best Pineapple Upside Down Cake I’ve ever seen. If you’ve never seen Throwdown, it’s a program in which Bobby Flay challenges cooks that are known for creating the best of the best of a specific dish or type of cooking to a cook-off of their signature dish. He practices the dish to perfect his version before surprising the target chef with a surprise throwdown. Both chefs prepare their version of the meal and then a panel of local judges decides the winner. I’d say that at least ½ the time Bobby loses, but he’s such a good sport and seems to have such a good time that who really cares.

Pineapple Upside Down Cupcake!

Anyway – back to this Pineapple Upside Down Cake. During the throwdown, the Brass Sisters seemed to have such fun and enjoy the baking process so much that I had to look them up. And I haven’t been able to stop thinking about their cake since the episode first aired. I finally got a copy of the recipe (and both of their cookbooks) and altered their delicious cake into very delicious cupcakes. Oh - did I mention that Pineapple Upside Down  is my Dad's favorite cake? No?! Well it is, and he approves of these cupcakes. And this weekend I’ll be making the actual cake for my dear friend Dennis since he demanded so nicely for me to make one for him, since I had the apparent audicity to make these when I wasn't in Houston. It's a good think I like him! ; )

Cupcake before turning upside down. Just couldn't help
but feature these super awesome plates of my mom's. 
P.S. I love these two cookbooks from the Brass Sisters that if I had more spare time on my hands I’d start cooking my way through them recipe by recipe and blogging about it. Unfortunately I don’t have that much time, but I will be trying a bunch of their recipes soon and I guess I’ll just have to share the experiences with you here. Yay!

Pineapple Upside Down Cake
½ cup butter, melted
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
20oz can pineapple chunks, drained and patted dry with a paper towel (reserve pineapple juice)
9 Maraschino cherries cut in half
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
3 eggs, separated
1 cup white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Recipe makes approximately 18 cupcakes.

Line a standard cupcake pan with aluminum liners (paper won’t work so well for this cupcake). Add 1 ½ teaspoons melted butter and 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar to the bottom of each liner. Then place ½ of a maraschino cherry (cut side down) and a few pieces of pineapple on top of the sugar/butter mixture.

Cupcakes Before Cake Batter

Sift together cake flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl stir egg yolks just to break them up. Add sugar, vanilla and 5 Tablespoons of reserved pineapple juice. Mix well and stir in flour mixture until combined. Set aside.

Place egg whites in bowl of electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment and beat until just stiff but not dry.

Fold egg whites into the batter already in the large bowl until fully combined.

Spoon the batter into the paper liners until they’re ¾ full (about a ¼ cup each).

Bake for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the tops bounce back when touched. 

Cool cupcakes on a rack for about 5 minutes, then remove from pans. To serve, place cupcake upside down onto a plate and unwrap. Sit back and enjoy!

Altered from the Pineapple Upside Down Cake recipe found in Heirloom Baking with the Brass Sisters, Marilyn & Sheila Brass.

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