When I was in my early teens, my mother would let me go visit my aunt in the San Francisco bay area during my summer vacations. It was from my aunt that I learned how to make some Filipino desserts — and how to make really moist cakes. Her secret: sour cream. When I would come home, I would bake up the desserts and cakes that my aunt taught me to make for my mother. Looking back, I sometimes think the baking lessons were the reason why my mom sent me to visit my aunt. My mom especially liked it when I would bake Pineapple Upside-Down cake. I think it’s because it reminded her of Hawaii, where she was born — and the fact that this recipe isn’t too sweet like many cakes can be. My mother enjoyed eating a slice of cake with her hot coffee. I like to serve pineapple upside-down cake ala mode with vanilla ice cream!
1 cup of firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
9 pineapple slices
9 marashino cherries, without stems
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
6 tablespoons cake flour
6 tablespoons of ground almonds
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups of sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
4 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Start by making the caramel topping. Take brown sugar and butter and combine and melt in a saucepan on medium heat until sugar dissolves and the mixture is bubbly. Pour mixture into a 10 inch diameter non-stick cake pan. Arrange pineapple slices in a single layer on top of the caramel mixture. Add cherries in center of pineapple slices. Set aside cake pan. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flours, almonds, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, beat sugar and butter together until light. Add egg one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Add dry ingredients alternately with sour cream, beating well after adding each ingredient. Pour cake batter over caramel and pineapple in pan. Bake cake about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes or until tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Turn cake out onto a platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.