Cake Of The Week: Pineapple Upside-Down Cake With Vanilla Bean Sauce


Have you made your Thanksgiving Dessert Menu?  I hope not.  If you have, hopefully you did it in pencil.  Get your eraser NOW!

I have a weakness for cakes that contain fruit.  I give some blame of this softness to the ‘fruit is healthy’ mantra I chant to myself as I cram slice after slice of fruity cake in my face.  And cram I did, again and again and again.

I’ve had pineapple upside-down cake before.  I’m not new to eating this cake.  BUT… this cake, this is different.  Susan Branch is obviously onto something here.  I wish you could see this in person, because my photography skills are still lacking when it comes to food.  I should have taken a picture in its sliced form, sitting in a little lake of vanilla bean magic … but sadly, every time I sliced this delicious gift from the baked good gods … I crammed it in my face.  I wasn’t kidding with that paragraph above.


That’s it… I’m making another one and eating the whole thing for breakfast!

The cake:  I love that this recipe does not have the maraschino cherries.  I’m not totally dissing the cherries, but I feel that it takes this cake from its silly name to a sophisticated food.  Susan Branch was able to place the pineapple rings better than I did.  I’m not sure if her pan was wider than mine, or if my pineapple rings were on steroids.  I can tell you that it doesn’t matter after you take the first bite.  You could care less what it looks like when you pass Go.  I will mention that I may have fudged up a little when I pulled this out of the oven.  I think Susan’s recipe may assume that the reader is a seasoned cook, not a crazy writer trying to become a back-alley baker.  I took the instructions literally, which made it sound like the minute I pulled the cake out of the oven, I should flip it on my serving plate.  I did and the warm brown sugar glaze ran everywhere!  You can see some spots in the picture, which was a huge improvement considering that I spent 10 minutes spooning the wayward glaze back on top of the cake.  I encouraged the glaze by saying, “dammit, dammit, dammit!”  The glaze was saved, all was well.  I’ve looked over some recipes since the Dammit, Glaze incident and what I found is that you should let the pan sit for about ten minutes post-oven before flipping it.

The Vanilla Bean Sauce:  I have never in my life bought a vanilla bean from the spice section.  The one vanilla bean costs about six dollars, which makes me have a whole new respect for the price of vanilla extract.  It sits lonely in a jar that made me feel like I was holding a specimen from the Jurassic Park lab.


I had some difficulty opening the bean to scrape out the inside, but it was well worth it.   The sauce was another kicker into Sophisticated Dessert land.

The beau gave it an 8 out of 10.

I’m so glad I found you Susan Branch and your kick-ass pineapple upside-down cake!


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