The traditional version of the luscious upside-down cake is with pineapple, hence the slightly modified name. I’d suggest first making it with pineapple and then, once you’re comfortable and know what it’s supposed to look and taste like, spread your culinary wings and try a different fruit. Apricots, plums, peaches, strawberries and cherries would all go wonderfully with the moist vanilla cake part of the recipe, so go nuts and try new things! You could even try it with apples (after adding a touch of cinnamon to the batter), though I suspect you’d have to up the moisture content to really get that melt-in-your-mouth topping that just makes this cake. I’d suggest a little Feist for this one – your choice of album! It’s all about experimenting and figuring out what you like best, both in and out of the kitchen *grin*. Thanks to Sinfully Vegan for the recipe.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Rub some vegan butter around a 9-inch round cake pan or one of those rectangular glass dishes that measure something like 7×11 inches. 8×8 is too small for this sucker, so don’t even try it. Your oven will thank you. Actually, I spent an hour cleaning the bottom of my oven the first time I made this cake, and have since learned that a baking sheet neatly tucked under the baking dish is a must, because this cake drips and oozes all over the place. Ok, let’s make the top of the cake – mix the following three ingredients together in a small bowl, then spread it across the bottom of your baking dish:
- 1 can of crushed pineapple (I got curious once and tried 2 large cans of pineapple tid-bits and it worked very well, though there was more topping than cake, which was fine with me – Oh, and don’t forget to save the juice because you’ll need it later)
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup canola oil (I’m always tempted to use only half of that and I think it would work if you’re using a particularly wet fruit, but not with the drier ones)
Try not the pick too much at the topping while you’re making the batter…
- 1.5 cups sugar cane
- 2 cups unbleached white flour (I’ve used whole wheat flour and it wasn’t too heavy at all, so feel free)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening (EarthBalance makes a nice one that’s usually pretty easy to find)
- 1 tsp egg replacer like Kingsmill Food, or another type of egg replacer
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 and 1/4 cups pineapple juice (or whatever juice you were able to sieve from the can, topped up with water or apple juice)
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour and baking powder. Cut the shortening in using forks or, even better, a dough blender, until the pieces are pea-sized. In a different bowl, stir together the egg replacer and warm water, then add the pineapple juice and vanilla. Mix this into the dry ingredients you mixed together earlier to create a nice, smooth batter. Carefully pour or spoon the batter over the fruit topping. Toss the baking dish into the oven (don’t forget the baking sheet underneath!) for about 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Bear in mind when you’re doing this that if you go too deep (i.e. into the topping), your toothpick will come out sticky even if the cake is done!
Now for the exciting part. Ask your friends and family to gather ‘round and ask for a drum roll. Put a plate over the cake (making sure the plate is larger than your pan) and flip the whole thing in one fell swoop. Don’t hesitate, because that’s a recipe for disaster (i.e. cake all over the floor). Carefully remove the pan once you’re sure that the top has loosened and voilà, you’re done! Let it cool and serve.