While I wait for my neighborhood farmers market to open, I’ve been noticing an abundance of certain fruits and vegetables at my local grocery store. One of them happens to be pineapple. These juicy golden-yellow fruits satisfy my sweet tooth and brighten my day. Nothing reminds me of summer more than a warm fruit dessert, especially a caramelized fruit dessert.
The pineapple is a symbol of hospitality. It expresses a sense of welcome, good cheer, human warmth and family affection. To welcome a new spring season, I was inspired to make mini pineapple upside down cakes this morning. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have. Invite a neighbor over, share them with your best friend, or surprise a loved one with these delicious treats.
Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes
*Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis
- 1 (3 1/2-pound) pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons pineapple juice plus 2/3 cup
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 egg whites
- 2/3 cup water
- 2/3 cup canola oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
- 1 (19 ounce) box white cake mix
Place an oven rack in the lower 1/3 of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a pan (mini loaf, mini muffin, or mini bundt pan) with cooking spray.
For the Cakes: Coarsely chop the fresh pineapple. In a 10-inch nonstick skillet, combine the chopped pineapple, 2 tablespoons pineapple juice, sugar, and butter over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cook until the liquid evaporates and the mixture begins to brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Spoon the pineapple mixture into the prepared pan.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the egg whites, water, vegetable oil, almond extract, cake mix, and 2/3 cup pineapple juice. Using a stand mixer, beat the mixture on medium speed until mixed. Pour the batter over the cooked pineapple. Bake for 28 to 30 minutes until the cakes begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and the tops are golden. Allow the cakes to cool for 15 minutes. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the cakes. Put a baking sheet, upside-down, on top of the parchment paper. Flip both pans over and allow the cakes to cool completely while still in the pan, about 1 hour. Unmold the cakes and place on individual serving plates.
Welcome to Seasonal Sweets!
It’s March and it’s almost time to start posting regularly. We’re finally seeing more sunny days and warmer temperatures. By warmer, I mean 50 degrees. It’s ironic that when spring starts to show it’s face, 50 degrees feels warm. But when autumn breezes in with 50 degrees, a chill is felt in the air. We can blame it on changing seasons and the effect that the “winter hibernation” (as I call it) has on us all.
The Farmer’s Markets will open in May. I love to create treats revolving around what is in season. There’s nothing better than fresh fruit from the farm. I feel privileged to live in a city that strongly supports local farmers and produce. To get a head start on my trips to the market, I’m organizing my recipes with a helpful resource I found at Epicurious. Sometimes it can be challenging to use seasonal ingredients, especially in the early spring.
To guide you, Epicurious has created a Peak-Season Ingredient Map. You select the present month, click on your state, and it will then give you a list of ingredients that are currently in season in your area. Once you find the ingredient you have purchased (or plan on purchasing), you can click on it and Epicurious will present you with an abundance of recipes. I hope you find this as helpful as I did. See you in May!