On those towels that your grandma used to have, was it Wednesday or Thursday that was baking day? I can't recall, so I am going to proclaim today to be baking day.
But unlike the way they used to do it, I won't be kneading bread dough to make enough bread to last a week. Lately I have been craving one of my favorite cakes of all time, and feel compelled to whip it up today. I always asked for this cake for my birthday (since we got to choose). There is just something about the fluffy yellow cake, and the gooey brown sugar topping seeping into the golden rings of pineapple. And of course the dollop of whip cream on top. Always real whip cream. My mom was not a big fan of Cool Whip for cakes. She would have it on hand, to top our jello, or pudding, but you had to whip real cream for a cake. Especially a birthday cake. And Reddi Whip? There was never a can of it in our fridge growing up. Of course, that is something that is ALWAYS in my fridge, as times have changed, and you never know when you need a decorative squirt of whip cream on top of your hot cocoa, or your hot fudge sundae.
I am pretty sure my mom used a cake mix as the base for her cake. I found this version on the internet a few years ago, since I had lost my mom's recipe and couldn't find one in any of my recipe books. The internet is a godsend for finding recipes. There are times when I will literally just type in the main ingredients that I have on hand, and Google will find me any number of things I can make. I am guessing I could just get rid of all of my cookbooks, and just use the internet! (yeah, right, like that would ever happen). Cooking Light has a great site, and also Epicurian, and pretty much any major food magazine or tv show has recipes on their web site, and of course, there is Martha. I won't link them here, as you will just end up down the rabbit hole. But do surf sometime, it is a delightful food journey, and you may find a gem like this along the way:
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
1 lg can pineapple slices in juice (not syrup)
2 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c dried tart cherries
3/4 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
3 lg egg whites
2 lg egg yolks
1/3 c. milk
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp. vanilla
REAL whipped cream
Preheat oven to 350. Drain pineapple, reserve 5 Tbsp of juice. Set aside 1 whole pineapple slice, cut 4 slices in half. (use the rest for something else). Melt butter in a 9" cake pan with 2" high sides over low heat. Transfer 1 1/2 Tbsp butter to small bowl and save, leave the rest of the butter in the pan. Add brown sugar and 3 Tbsp of the pineapple juice to the pan, stir over med. heat. Heat until mixture boils and thickens slightly, about 45 seconds. Remove from heat. Place whole pineapple slice in center of pan atop sugar mixture. Surround with the halved slices, rounded side toward pan edge. Sprinkle cherries in hollows of pinapple slices.
Mix flour and baking powder in small bowl. Using electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt in large bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/4 c. sugar, beat until stiff peaks form-set aside. Using same beaters, beat yolks and 1/4 c. sugar in another large bowl until well blended. Into this mix, add milk, vanilla, and reserved butter, and mix. Beat in flour mixture until just blended, fold egg whites into batter in 3 additions. Spread batter over pineapple in pan. Bake cake until golder and tester inserted in center comes out clean-about 30 min. Cool in pan 5 min. Place platter over cake, then invert onto platter. Remove pan, rearrange any fruit that has become dislodged. Cool on platter 30 min, brush with last 2 Tbsp of pineapple juice. Cool completely-then crown with freshly whipped cream. Makes 8 servings. Or four, if you really like it.
I like this version, even though it seems rather involved, because it is really light, and makes a small pan. For my small family. You can surely use good old fashioned maraschino cherries out of a jar instead of the dried cherries, but I do like this variation. And the leftover pineapple is really good with cottage cheese.