a mom, her mom, and their cake

i got to take a night a day and a night on the island with my parents last week. which is always Exactly What i Need. my mother and i made a cake. naturally. and we chose a cake that my mom hadn't eaten since her mother, jane, used to bake it when she was a little girl. pineapple upside down cake. which we both agreed sounded pretty gross. especially since the original recipe calls for maraschino cherries to fill in the middle of the pineapples. WHICH on second thought would have added a nice spot of color. BUT on the first thought we decided to do without. 

and...it was shockingly delicious. perhaps not so shockingly when you pour the butter and brown sugar into the pan and then plop the batter on top. no, it should be obvious then that such confectionery combinations will be, in fact, delicious. the pineapple was actually a pleasant tangy cut through all the sugar. 

and so without further ado 

the golden sponge pineapple upside down cake  

from the antoinette pope school cookbook 
adopted by my grandmother jane lee jones
italicized comments by me

the batter:
6 egg yolks {save those whites!!}
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 t vanilla
1/3 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups sifted flour
1/4 t salt
1 1/4 t baking powder 

beat yolks till thick and lemon-color. add sugar a little at a time and continue beating till very light (about a minute). add vanilla. then slowly add boiling water. last, pour in flour, baking powder & salt all at once. stir till smooth

the topping:
1/4 c butter
1/2 c brown sugar
5 slices pineapple rings {preferably canned if you want to go true 1950s on the cake}

melt butter and combine with brown sugar. pour into bottom of round cake pan. place pineapple rings over the sugar-butter mixture. make this into as pleasant of a design as you are able. pour cake batter over it all.
bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.
when done, allow cake to cool for 5 minutes then invert onto a cake plate. allow to cool. 
serve with a whipped cream topping

**save those egg whites!! to make meringue. whip the meringue for thirty minutes (or as long as you can stand) with a healthy amount of confectioners sugar until you form Stiff Peaks. once this has occurred drop TINY dollops of the white fluff onto a greased cookie sheet and bake until golden brown. be sure they are tiny so that they cook all the way through. 

i cannot bare the thought of throwing out Half the Egg when my hens have worked so hard to get them to us. so do find some use for the whites if you don't want to make meringues. 


  1. I keep meaning to tell you about this fantastic bake book (it's not really a cook book if it's all baking, right?). I found it at a used book store when I lived in Charlottesville VA, and I think it would be just your style. Old fashioned recipes, AND stories to go along with them.

    Anyway, without further ado: Jim Fobel's Old-Fashioned Baking Book. Highly recommended, especially the Harvest Moon Cake (which has the most romantic name ever), and the Mystery Cake of 1932 "in keeping with the rather desperate circumstances of that time, it contains no eggs and very little butter". I don't know how tasty that one is, but I just love the idea of people making cakes during the Depression, with what they could scrounge together.

    1. Oh I love those ideas too! Thank you, vanessa

  2. What a cute photo? Is that your mom and her mother?

    1. Yes, it is, don't you love my mom's dress?

  3. I need to try this one. How fun!

  4. This sounds yummy and I've actually been looking for a good pineapple upside down cake. Glad to hear you got to spend time with your family!

  5. That picture is absolutely adorable!
    The recipe sounds so yummy, I have to try it someday. :)

  6. Since I feed my daughter egg yolks everyday, I save my egg whites by cracking them into a clean ice cube tray and keeping them in the freezer. That way they don't go to waste and I can use them next time a make angel food cake. You can fit about 8-10 eggs in a 12 cube tray. :)

  7. Tried this cake, along with the other one you posted, and my family can't get enough of these delicious recipes! My mother is Italian and has a delicious Tiramisu Cake recipe, If you're interested I could try to scrounge it up from my recipe box and share it with you!

    1. -Miriam Grover (sorry didn't realized I published as Anonymous.)

    2. Hi Miriam! I would love your tiramisu cake recipe. please do send me an email at kathryn.maclean@gmail.com.

  8. There is nothing quite so therapeutic as baking a cake. :)

  9. I've always wanted to try a pineapple upside down cake. Perhaps now is the time. :)

  10. I love old fashioned baking and particularly love my mother's mother's old Betty Crocker cookbook, which always calls for canned fruit etc...
    Also a few tips on meringues: There are a few things to keep in mind when making meringue cookies. The standard ratio when making hard meringues is 1/4 cup (50 grams) of granulated white sugar for every egg white. This amount of sugar is needed to give the meringue its crispness. Adding the sugar gradually to the egg whites ensures that the sugar completely dissolves and does not produce a gritty meringue. Cream of tartar is used in the whipping of egg whites to stabilize them and allows them to reach maximum volume. Also, it is a good idea to use parchment paper or aluminum foil to line your baking sheets, not wax paper, as the meringue will sometimes stick to wax paper.

    Baking the meringues in a slow oven allows for gradual evaporation of the moisture from the meringues. If the oven temperature is too high, the outside of the meringue will dry and set too quickly. You will also notice that the outside of the meringue separates from the inside. Another indicator that your oven is too high is when the meringue starts to brown which causes the sugar to caramelize. If this happens, lower the temperature about 25 degrees F. If you decide to make meringues on a rainy or humid day, you will probably have to bake the meringues longer (could be up to 30 minutes more) than on a dry day. Lastly, to prevent cracking of the meringues, do not open the oven door during the first half of the baking time.

    Read more: http://www.joyofbaking.com/MeringueCookies.html#ixzz1n1QUKg6C


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