Who thinks grilling is just for meat? Not me – especially after an adventure in grilled dessert. How does one embark on such an adventure you might ask? A little bit of bravery, a wee bit of grill skill, and a whole lot of gumption to make something unique and yummy with fire.
In our usual fashion my good friend Yama and I had a plan to make extremely enjoyable food on a random weeknight and push the envelope a little. With mama of Yama in town we didn't actually plan to step it up a notch – but I wanted oysters and happened to have purchased a pineapple for a purpose – so we kind of ended up going super foodie on her and our other friends and loved ones. No one complained.
Usually if you are going to embark on a food adventure such as grilling a cake it is probably not recommended that you also get Penn Cove Oysters and a Copper River Sockeye Salmon…but since we are trained professionals of the land of yum it worked out with no casualties. Yama manned the grill and I dealt with the cake and vegetation preparation.
First step of the pineapple cake is cutting the fruit. You chop the bottom and top of the pineapple off first to give you a good grip to shave off the prickly skin. After the skin is gone (along with all the pricklies) turn it on its side and slice even rounds.
Grill the little lovelies only until there are grill marks on each side (roughly two minutes if your grill is hot – up to four if you have lowish heat going). Set the grilled pineapple aside while you prepare the cake mixture and build a medium heat fire in your BBQ.
Then get your 12 inch cast iron pan out and start preparing the updside down portion of the cake. This is sugar, spice, butter and heavy whipping cream – did I mention the half a cow that goes into this cake? It is not friendly to the vegan or lactos intolerant – I'm sorry.
Once you have melted the sugar, spices and cream together arrange your grilled pineapple in the cast iron pan by placing a whole donut in the center and then flay the other pineapple pieces as a happy sun of grilled pineapple around it.
Add buttermilk and then the flour mixture and mix until smooth. When you have a nice thick consistency of milky, sugary, buttery goo its time to pour it over your pineapple and sugar funness in the cast iron pan.
Now you are ready to place it on the grill. It is important that the grill is at medium heat or else what happened to Yama and I will happen to you. Your cake's upside down layer will burn – which will not affect the overall flavor of the cake – but will make you very very sad and ruin your photos. So don't have overhot coals like us. Our next cake will be perfect – but I wanted to tell you about this before BBQ day aka July 4 just in case you feel extra special adventurous or want to impress your friends.
Grilled Pineapple Upside Down Cake
adapted from Weber's Way to Grill cookbook by Jamie Purviance
Part 1: Pineapple Topping
Slice and Grilled Pineapple (roughly 6 1/2 inch thick grilled slices)
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tsp cinnamon
Place all ingredients (accept the grilled pineapple) in a 12 inch cast iron pan on the stove on medium heat. Mix until blended and bubbling. Turn off the heat and let cool before arranging the pineapple slices. Put a pineapple circle in the middle and then surround with other slices.
Part 2: Prepare the Batter
1 cup flour
1 Tsp baking powder
1/2 Tsp salt
1/4 Tsp baking soda
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
2 Tsp vanilla extract
1 stick butter (1/4 lb)
3/4 cup sugar
Step 1: In a large bowl mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Step 2: In a seperate smaller bowl whisk vanilla, buttermilk and eggs.
Step 3: In a third larger bowl cream the butter and sugar (you can use an electric mixer – it will probably help – but it is not required).
Step 4: Add the buttermilk mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Blend together manually or with a mixer until smooth or smoothish.
Step 5: Slowly mix in the flour mixture until everything is blended. Pour the completed mixture into the cast iron pan over the pineapple and goo.
Step 6: Place the cast iron pan on the medium heat grill and cover baking for up to 40 minutes.
NOTE: the weber cookbook says you cannot make this recipe using real fire – that a gas grill is required – Yama and I disagree but have yet to prove them wrong. We are working on this challenge – but if you happen to try said recipe using a coal fire grill and get a pretty cake we'd love to hear about it. In the meantime…you will get a tasty cake even if it doesn't come out of the pan all perfect and pretty.