Pineapple RightSide-Up Cake (you can turn it upside-down too!)

Have you ever made a pineapple upside-down cake and had all the goodies stick to the bottom of the pan? I have. I hold my breath as I invert the pan and then sigh with either frustration or relief as I unveil the cake. Granted, it is easily remedied by prying the caramelized fruit from the pan and carefully put back in its rightful spot on the cake, but it is a touch disappointing. Baking the cakes in a jar and leaving them right-side up solves that and if you really want to serve them upside-down, just flip the jar over onto the plate.

Trading the maraschino cherries for fresh thyme leaves gives this classic pineapple dessert a more exciting and summery taste and a little plain yogurt cuts some of the sweetness.  (more…)

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Pineapple Polenta Upside-Down Cake!

Recently I participated in a benefit auction for one of my favorite charities, the Children’s Heartlink.  We auctioned off a “celebrity” chef bake-off to be held at General Mills test kitchen. Assembled were a team of my favorite pastry chefs in the Twin Cities as the coaches and some heavy hitting celebrity judges. Dr. Jim Rice bought the event and invited 20 of his friends to join him for a great evening. The pastry chef coaches came up with recipes, were allowed to talk the team through the process, but weren’t allowed to touch anything. My team was a blast, they had a great time and produced a gorgeous dessert, which got them second prize!

My friend and exquisite pastry chef, Michelle Gayer’s dessert won the gold! She is the chef/owner of the Salty Tart in Minneapolis (co-author of Charlie Trotter’s Desserts) and her dessert kicked A–! It was a pineapple polenta upside-down cake with caramelized macadamia nuts. I meant to ask her for the recipe, but she was off to Disney World with her family.  Well, great minds think alike and it turns out that Johnny Iuzzini has a dessert that is just like it in his new book Dessert FourPlay. While I wait to get Michelle’s recipe I decided to give Johnny’s a go. Two world class pastry chefs’ version of a classic!


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