I know that some of my recipes can be complicated: a lot of steps, exotic ingredients, or both. However, you don’t always need something to be complex in order to be delicious. More importantly, making something vegan, or even just egg-free, doesn’t always require any extra thought. I’m sharing a recipe that’s easy and even a bit fun to make, and will be received with excitement. I created the cake recipe so than you can make it with basic grocery-store ingredients, but nobody will know how basic it is!
Pineapple upside-down cake is a retro staple, moist and tasty, not needing a layer of icing. If you’re allergic to pineapple or cherries, sub out for another canned or candied fruit. I’m allergic to pineapple, so I made a small cake with canned mandarin orange segments.
The recipe makes a lot of cake: one large 9×13-inch (lasagna sized) pan, two square 8×8-inch pans, or three (slightly thin) round 8-inch pans. This is a perfect big cake to bring to a potluck, and is equally good eaten right away or after sitting on the counter overnight.
Once the cake comes out of the oven, you’ll need to let it set a few minutes before you flip it, and may still have some fruit and sugar stick to the pan. This is no big deal! Just use a fork to pick up the stuck fruit, arrange it back on the cake. Scrape up the remaining sugar-goo and use it to fill in any cracks in the surface. After it cools down, no one will be the wiser!
An Agent Minty original recipe
- 1 can of pineapple rings
- 1/2 cup glace or maraschino cherries
- 1/4 cup margarine + 1/4 cup + tsp table margarine (becel vegan or similar) divided
- 1 1/2 cups, packed, brown sugar
- 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp vegetable shortening
- 2 cups superfine sugar (buy “berry sugar” or “instant dissolving sugar” but not “icing sugar” or “powdered sugar”. Alternatively, take regular white sugar and pulse in a blender for 20 seconds)
- 2 Tbsp corn starch
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tsp + 4 tsp baking powder, divided
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups almond or other milk
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Drain fruit and place on paper towels to further dry during the next step.
- Spread 1/4 cup of margarine on sides and bottom of large 9×13 pan or two smaller pans.
- Sprinkle brown sugar over bottom of pan over margarine.
- Arrange drained fruit in an attractive pattern, leaving a few spaces for the cake batter to peek through.
- Cream remaining margarine with shortening and white sugar.
- In a small cup, combine corn starch, water, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and 1 tsp baking powder.
- Pour into margarine mixture and beat until white and opaque.
- In a bowl, combine flour, remaining baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add 1/3 of dry mix to bowl, beat until mostly mixed.
- Add half of the milk and mix, then repeat steps 10 and 11 until everything has been incorporated. The finished batter will be a little stiff – not runny like from a cake mix.
- Scoop into pan(s) and smooth the surface of the batter evenly.
- Bake in the centre of the oven until a toothpick inserted in comes out clean. Small pans: ~26 minutes, large pans, ~35 minutes.
- Let pan sit for 3 or 4 minutes on a cooling rack. Place a cooling rack or platoon top of cake, and flip together to unfold cake.
- Pick out and arrange any fruit or caramel that stuck to the pan.