My boys love the KitKat Cake I described in another post, but my oldest daughter prefers the fruity sweetness of my tropical pineapple upside down cake. This is also very simple to make and looks pretty. A friend recently suggested you might even make it with pears instead of pineapples, and I agree, that could be quite tasty, too - I'll have to try it soon and let you know.
I make my pineapple upside down cake in a large skillet. I like to soak the fruit in spiced rum. Usually, I make it with crushed pecans, but here in Germany those are harder to find, so I recently substituted chopped hazelnuts and they were great. I also like to add shredded coconut to the topping, but had to skip that on this latest version.
The recipe below is converted into metric for my European readers*. I am happy to provide the American recipe using good old-fashioned cups and teaspoon measures to anyone who comments that they want it :)
Here's the basic recipe - as always, feel free to improvise!
Ooey-Goey Super Yummy Topping:
150 g. butter
250 g. brown sugar (if you can find the moist, dark brown kind available in the US - that's best!)
a few dashes of cinnamon
dash of clove
dash of nutmeg
200 g. chopped nuts (pecans, hazelnuts, or almonds)
50 g. shredded, sweetened coconut (optional)
Large can of pineapple in juice (you can use sliced or diced - different looks but both taste great)
cocktail cherries (optional)
raisins or dried currents (optional)
Dark Rum (optional, but so good!!)
Drain and save the pineapple juice. Soak the fruit in about 100 ml of rum (spiced rum is my favorite). Take a sip for yourself. Melt the butter in the bottom of a large, round saucepan. Sprinkle in the brown sugar and spices. Layer in the pineapple, then any other fruit and the coconut (if using). Some people like to layer whole rings of pineapple. I often prefer crushed pineapple for maximum flavor. On this occasion I spiraled half rings around the pan. Please, do play with your food - decorate your upside down cake any way you like!
Moist and Delicious Pineapple Rum Cake:
60 ml dark rum (you can use what's left from soaking the fruit, if you didn't drink that already)
60 ml pineapple juice (reserved from the can)
75 ml buttermilk
250 g flour
2 TL baking powder (10 ml)
1 TL cinnamon (5 ml)
1/4 TL nutmeg (1.2 ml)
1/4 TL salt (1.2 ml)
dash of clove
100 g butter, softened
200 g light brown sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 EL (15 ml) vanilla extract (liquid) or 2 packs vanilla sugar
In a small bowl, combine the rum, pineapple juice, and buttermilk. Whisk flour, baking powder, and spices in another bowl. Cream the butter and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour mixture with the sugar mixture in thirds, alternating with the liquids.
Slowly pour the batter over the fruit topping in the skillet. Bake in a 175 C or 350 F preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.
Place a large serving plate over the skillet and invert the pan. Let the pan rest upside down on the platter for at least 5-10 minutes, so all the warm gooey topping can settle onto the cake. When you remove the skillet, if there is still topping stuck to the pan, then gently remove it with a rubber spatula and either replace on the cake or lick the spatula clean :)
*BTW: I found a wonderful cooking measures conversions page online, that can convert from all sorts of American measures of volume to European measures of weight by ingredients like butter, flour, sugar, and oats. I have this bookmarked and reference it all the time!