Pineapple Macadamia Nut Upside-Down Cake
- 3/4 C. (shelled roasted macadamia nuts
- 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 3/4 C. firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 C. fresh cored pineapple chunks (5 or 6 slices), or 1 C. drained canned pineapple chunks
- 1/4 C. shelled roasted macadamia nuts
- 1 1/4 C. all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 4 oz. unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 C. granulated sugar
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 C. milk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 1/2- or 10-inch round cake pan with cooking spray. First, prepare the topping. Put the 3/4-C. of macadamia nuts in a food processor with the stainless-steel blade. Pulse just a few times, until the nuts break up into coarse chunks. Set aside. Put the 3 Tbs. butter in the cake pan and place over low heat just until the butter melts. Holding the pan with a potholder, swirl until the butter is evenly spread over the bottom. Sprinkle in the brown sugar and press it down in an even layer. Arrange the pineapple and chopped macadamia nuts in an even layer on top, breaking up the pineapple chunks if necessary.
For the cake, put the 1/4-C. of macadamia nuts in the food processor. Pulse just until the nuts are finely ground. In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt three times. Add the ground nuts. Set aside.
Put the room-temperature butter in another mixing bowl. With a handheld electric mixer on high speed, beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. With a rubber spatula, scrape down the side of the bowl. Still beating at high speed, gradually sprinkle in the granulated sugar. Then beat in one egg at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low. In three batches, slowly sprinkle in the dry ingredients, beating in a third of the milk after each addition. Continue beating until the batter is smooth.
Pour and spread the batter evenly over the pineapple and nuts. Bake the cake in the preheated oven until a wooden toothpick inserted into its center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and leave it to cool on a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes. Invert a serving plate over the top of the cake pan. Put oven mitts on both hands. Holding the plate and pan firmly together with your hands, turn the cake upside down. Lift off the pan. Dislodge and replace any bits of the topping stuck to the pan. Let the cake cool at least briefly before cutting it into wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Yield: 10 servings
(Chef Wolfgang Puck's TV series, "Wolfgang Puck's Cooking Class," airs Sundays and Wednesdays on the Food Network. Also, chef Wolfgang Puck's latest cookbook, Wolfgang Puck Makes It Easy, is now available in bookstores. Write Wolfgang Puck in care of Tribune Media Services Inc., 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, NY. 14207.)
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