The Cake to Make
August 19, 2008
Listened to the show Saturday and it was not bad. I was mixing up this summer's pineapple upside-down cake—one of those recipes I make once a summer—and this week seemed to be the right week for it, mainly because I had a craving. Funny isn't it, how you get a hankering and your mind won't rest until you do something about it. The big craving lately has been for sugar snap peas, and it took nearly an ice cream pail full from the Farmer's Market in town before I had my fill. It's been so hot and humid out there lately and there's something so perfectly refreshing about eating fresh peas as you swing to and fro on the porch in the early afternoon. My mother got me going on garden peas. Often times she doesn't bother shelling the peas; she just pops the whole thing in her mouth. Which, if you've tried it, is mighty tasty, and which I'd recommend you do try if you haven't. Life is far too short and fresh peas come around only once a year.
The other reason pineapple upside-down cake was the cake to make was its symbolic nature. I don't know whether it was the heat or the humidity, or the both of them combined with the full moon, but let me tell you, everyone and his mother was clumsy as all getout over the weekend. Mr. Sundberg ran into a parked car while out riding his bike, the kids each got some sort of head wound while playing outside, the neighbor backed into his garage door, some farmer dumped a load of hay out on the county road, and I, well, I would say I, personally, took the cake. I got up at 4:07 Sunday morning to get a glass of water and caught my poor little toe on the chest in the hallway. Always said if you're going to do something do it well, and I did. I left stubbing behind and went for the break. Sounded just like a wooden spoon snapping in two. Not a major problem in the big scheme of things, but for the love of Henry, it's a nuisance, if I may file a complaint.
I won't be dancing for a while now, and there goes any chance of a good game of tag in the grass. Won't be able to wear those new cream-colored pumps I bought for church for a month or two, and I imagine I'll have to take a rest now and then at the art fair come September. Happens when you're a bit older and you snap your toe. I've been told I must elevate my foot a few hours each day, at least for the rest of the week. I now have dibs on the porch swing, just right for such a purpose. I've put a few pillows out there, and a fan, and a TV tray filled with a few good books and a notepad, and room enough for a glass of lemonade and plate of pineapple upside-down cake. Just in case I get a craving for little something. You never do know.
This recipe takes the road more traveled by using a cake mix, but by golly, it's a delicious dessert, and if you're using real butter, no one's going to ask any questions except for one: "More, please?"
Simple Pineapple Upside-down Cake
1 pkg. yellow cake mix (with pudding in the mix is best)
1 stick butter
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 (20 oz.) can pineapple slices
Maraschino cherries cut in half
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt stick of butter in 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the butter. Drain pineapple slices and arrange over the sugar/butter mixture. Place cherry halves, rounded side down, in center of pineapple slices (and tuck 'em in the corners, too). Prepare cake mixture according to package instructions. Pour batter over the fruit and bake at 375 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes for topping to set. Turn upside-down onto serving platter and gently lift away the pan.
1 c. pineapple juice
2 tbsp. cornstarch in 1/4 c. cold water
1/4 c. sugar
4 squirts lemon juice
Dash of salt
Boil until thick and pour over warm cake.
Serve with a blob of Cool Whip or vanilla ice cream.