Thursday, April 4, 2013

Pineapple & Cream Cheese Upside Down Cake

First things first:  I love holiday meals desserts.  I always find myself planning out the dessert first . . .and then the meal afterwards.  And truth be told, it was my hubby who found this luscious recipe from Dole. He was perusing the Sunday paper circulars and in the coupon section - there it was.  A coupon, a recipe, and a fabulous picture . . .

And yes, the above picture is from the Dole website.  I would have totally taken a picture of the one I made, but my camera is on the fritz.  I think that it's time to buy a new camera (any recommendations?!?)  BUT - the recipe did truly turn out like the photo above.  I was skeptical at first . . really, are the layers going to look that great?  And yes, they really did.  

Man, now that I am blogging about this, I really could go for a piece of this cake.  Except, it's all gone.  :(  It was that good . . .it disappeared quickly.  

And now for the actual recipe (as printed by Dole):

Pineapple & Cream Cheese Upside Down Cake

1/4 Cup (Unsalted) Butter, melted
1/2 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1 Can (20 oz) of Dole Pineapple Slices, drained
7 or 8 Maraschino Cherries (stems removed)
1 pkg (9 oz) Yellow Cake - plus the ingredients to prepare it
2 pkgs (8 oz each) Cream Cheese, softened
1 pkg (3 oz) JELL-O Brand Lemon-Flavored Gelatin
2 Eggs

Step 1:  Preheat oven to 350°F.  Spray 9-inch cake pan or spring form pan with nonstick cooking spray.  If using a spring form pan, wrap foil around the bottom.

Step 2:  Stir together melted butter and brown sugar in pan.   Place 7 or 8 pineapple slices in sugar mixture.  Place cherry in center of each pineapple slice; cut remaining 2 slices of pineapple in half and place decoratively around slice in center of the pan.

Step 3:  Prepare cake mix according to the package directions (if using cake mix larger than 9 oz., a 10 or 12-inch pan is recommended).  Pour half cake batter evenly over pineapple.  Beat cream cheese, lemon gelatin and eggs in bowl of an electric mixer until smooth.  Spread cream cheese mixture gently over cake mix.  Pour remaining cake mix over cheese cake in pan.

Step 4:  Bake 65 to 75 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Step 5:  Cool 5 minutes.  Loosen edges and turn out onto serving platter.

Reflections:  I made this recipe exactly as it states above.  Reflecting back, there are a few things I would suggest doing differently:

* Prepare your cake batters first and then set them aside.  After that, proceed with the brown sugar/butter and pineapple step.In the time it took me to make the yellow cake batter, spread 1/2 in the pan and then prepare the cheesecake batter etc etc - my brown sugar/butter started to leak out of the pan.  I was a little disappointed in losing some of that caramelly goodness!  

* The recipe says to "cut remaining 2 slices of pineapple in half and place decoratively around slice in center of the pan".  With my spring-form pan, there was no extra space - so I didn't do that.  However, in hindsight, I realize that the pineapple shrinks up a bit  when baking.  So, if you can wedge those pieces in there - you won't regret it!

* I know my oven temp is off by about 3-5 degrees.  And my spring-form pan is dark-coated, but it took me almost 90 minutes to bake this cake.  Granted, it was well worth the wait!  Be sure to plan-in that extra time (don't be thinking this will be baked in 65 minutes and then run off to pick up the kiddo from hockey).  Be sure to "toothpick" check the doneness and keep baking as needed.

* Experiments to Try:  as my husband oooooooh'd and awwwwwwww'd eating this wonderful leftover cake on Easter Monday, we had a few thoughts.  That's us - always thinking of the next cake :)  

What if you . . .

- replaced the water in the cake mix ingredients with the pineapple juice

- Somehow added coconut to this recipe.  We are at a controversy here:  hubby says that using coconut extract in the cream cheese batter would be best.  I think that adding unsweetened, shredded coconut into the yellow cake batter would be awesome.   Or, could you somehow use coconut milk in the recipe?  There is definitely room for experimentation here! 

- And then, what if we experimented with different flavors altogether different?  Could this method be used for other cake combinations?  I was pondering the possibilities this week when I wandered over to Jo and Sue's blog - only to find they did a Carrot Cake Cheesecake Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting.   I wonder if this method combined with that carrot cake would work?  Oh the possibilities!

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