Nostalgia and food

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake (resurrected out of failing brain cells)
The only really good thing that ever came out of those bridge-party, white-gloving, women’s magazine reading recipes of the fifties and sixties…
• 1-1/3 cups butter, softened
• 1 cup packed brown sugar
• 1 can pineapple rings, drained
• maraschino cherries (I halve them, but lots of people use whole ones)
• 1/2 cup chopped pecans
• 1-1/2 cups sugar
• 2 eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1 cup buttermilk (Or 2/3 cup regular milk and 1/3 cup plain yogurt, yeah, I’ve done that. Just not the fat-free kind, though)
Melt 2/3 cup of butter; stir in brown sugar.Spread in the bottom of an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. (or thereabouts) baking pan.
Be artistic! Arrange the pineapple rings in a single layer over sugar mixture; place a cherry in the center of each slice. Sprinkle evenly with pecans and set aside. (This is kind of crucial: there needs to be that exquisite sort of symmetrical patterning to really get the full Women’s Weekly effect.)
Cream sugar and remaining butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg; add alternately to batter with buttermilk, beating all of it completely in after each addition.
Carefully pour this out over the pineapple. Again: the effect is best when it looks as if you deployed the entire cake batter with your pinkies pointing out, while not grubbing up the ruffle-y apron you are assumed to be wearing.
Bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Immediately invert onto a serving platter. (It helps to have an assistant for this.) You can serve it warm (as the original recipe insisted, as I recall) but it also doubles as a terrific breakfast the next day.
This goes really, really, really well as a dessert after Chicken Tikka, rice and dal with garlic naan…sort of a white-folks Gulab Jamun.


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