I. LOVE. BUNDT. CAKES! It’s funny because growing up I used to think of them as ‘old lady’ cakes. Meaning those were the cakes the women (old ladies) made when they all got together for cards, tea or when the men were out hunting. They were never for a special occasion nor for a birthday. I have yet to ever meet a kid that said “No Mom I don’t want that cake that is full of frosting and awesomeness for a plain cake that has a hole in it.” To us kids, bundt cakes were the cakes you ate when there was nothing else good left. Normally it came down to a bundt cake and a fruit cake and no one ever ate the fruit cake.
I think the reason why we shied away from them was because they were plain. Plain in the sense that there wasn’t that thick layer of frosting, no roses, balloons. They were adult type cakes. Simple, plain. Dear God I was so wrong back then. Fortunately Mama taught me how to appreciate them as I got older. She taught me that mile high frostings don’t make the cake. That the prettiest doesn’t mean it’s always the best. The taught me that a simple drizzle glaze or a dusting of confectioners’ sugar is all a cake needs. She made me realize that an amazing cake should be able to stand on its own merits without all the bells and whistles (frostings, sprinkles and so forth).
Fortunately before she passed she taught me everything she knew about baking cakes and that bundt cakes are amazing. And one key thing about bundt pans, is you need an amazing pan. I only use my 10-15 cup Bundt pan from Nordicware. If you recall my discussion about how each of us kid got to pick our own birthday dinner and dessert. I always went for her chocolate cake and the youngest of my brothers, Dave, always ALWAYS went for her Pineapple Upside Down Cake.
Traditionally Pineapple Upside Down cake is made in a sheet pan. It’s a single layer cake that is cut into large squares or if you were my brother you just took a fork to the cake. Rarely was it a layered cake (though I’ve done it and it’s pretty cool to be honest) and never a bundt cake. That was just unheard of.
Bundt cakes are the New Sexy in the cake world. They are sleek and svelte. They are always round yet the design can change based on the pan. You’re putting the full responsibility on flavor where it belongs – in the cake and not on the toppings. The toppings should be there to augment the flavor. To enhance it and make it go from fantastic to fanfriggentastic. And this, this Nordicware 10-15 cup Bundt Pan is uber sexy! I LOVE this pan!
With this cake I had every intention on making just a simple pineapple upside down cake because one – I wanted pineapple; two – I wanted those damn cherries out of my fridge; and three – I wanted cake. However I had a few very, VERY ripe bananas on my counter that were softly weeping from being ignored. And since you all know how I hate to waste food I had to use those up. I was going to go with a simple banana cake but figured why not do a mashup of the two flavors and see where this took me.
I tweaked Mama’s recipe quite a bit just to accommodate the bananas and other ingredients. Now I know what you’re thinking “But TKW.. this has cherries in you and we all know you loaaaaaaaaaaaaathe those demon seeds!” You all would be 100% correct. I will not eat the cherry on this cake nor will I eat the cake around it. Furthermore I will literally take a knife and cut the circle around the cherry (where the pineapple is) bigger so I don’t get any of it. Yes I know the flavors do marry in it and I can taste the hint of it but the rest of the cake is so amazing I give some forgiveness for it.
And for heaven’s sake, don’t try and sneak them in by just adding the juice to the cake. It’s no longer a pineapple cake but rather a rancid demon cherry cake. LOL
For me pineapple upside down cake was a staple in our house. It was always for my brother’s birthday and for every single cookout/picnic we had or we went to. Mom was the one that always was asked to make it. I can remember one summer picnic of ours she didn’t make it and people at the food tables kept walking around and around asking where that cake was. When my Mom said she didn’t make it some people were actually mad and others were worried. They thought perhaps she was ill or mad at the guests. LOL I can remember one neighbor saying “Well if you give me your recipe I can make it next time that way you can concentrate on other things.” What’s funny is so many people behind that person were shaking their head vehemently in a ‘no’ fashion as this person was not known for their cooking skills.
Mama would always share but when it came to her coveted recipes, they stayed that way – coveted. She never did them for money though we always said she should have as she was an amazing baker. Mom did it for the love of baking and for the smiles she would receive when someone took a bite of her creations. That to me is where your truly ‘money’ is. To see that true appreciation on someone’s face when they take that first bite of something amazing.
This cake is definitely a great fusion cake. The infusion of the bananas lends such a creamy texture to cake while the crumb is still ever so tender. You get that pineapple tropical flavor in every bite but it’s immediately followed up with that sweet banana creamy flavor which seriously marries PERFECTLY with the tartness of the pineapple. There is just something magical about when the brown sugar and the butter bake in this dish. It’s turns into this caramel-like glaze that covers the fruit and permeates the first layer of the cake. It adds that sweetness that the cake needs to help offset the tartness of the pineapple (and in my cake the cuckiness of the demon seeds aka cherries). Yes folks I really hate them that much. BUT 99% of you are used to a pineapple upside down cake with cherries and I believe in tradition.
Plus okay fine, I’ve made this cake without the cherries and while it tastes amazing it just misses that nostalgic look. You need the demon seeds not only for appearance but for most of you, taste.
The only time I get nervous with bundt cakes is when it comes to turning them out. If you’ve ever had one, or part of one stick, you always have that fear. Well okay maybe it’s just me. See these pans are the only pans where you really can’t line them with parchment paper. You know someone really needs to invent a can of spray-able parchment paper (SHOTGUN ON THE RIGHTS!)… lol I get commission for the idea at least. You invent it and I’ll share the crap out of it.
My best advice to you when making a bundt cake is to ensure you prepare the pan well. This is to be done before baking, even before you start beating the butter and sugar. Grease the pan properly. Use a pastry brush or spray or a mister and make sure every nook and corner has been well-greased. Two areas you need to focus on are the bottom of the pan which has the curves or design and where the tube meets the bottom.
The next bit of advice is to wait 15-20 minutes BEFORE flipping it over. Patience is key. The cake should be pulled away from the sides of the pan BEFORE you go to flip it over. If it’s not, use a thin knife or spatula to loosen it.
The moment of truth came as I put the cake platter over the bundt and did the flip. I held my breath and waited… almost scared to lift up the pan. Carefully I lifted it and as I did that smell of warm pineapple with that hint of brown sugar caramel hit me and I was in LOVE. Off came the pan and there she sat. GORGEOUS and just glistening. I literally stood there beaming from ear to ear as this is a cake that my Mom would be proud of.
It’s a beautiful cake and no longer deemed one for ‘old ladies’. Then again I am in my 40’s so I guess I am one of those ‘old ladies’. If that’s the case so be it cause my old butt gets to eat THIS cake and you don’t ya young whippersnapper… well unless you’re an old bitty like me! LOL
- 2 cups flour
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 XL eggs
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1/3 cup pineapple juice
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2/3 cup sour cream or plain greek yogurt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 ripe mashed bananas (about 2/3 cups)
- 3 Tbl melted butter, unsalted
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 6-7 pineapple rings, any remaining rings chop up into small pieces
- 6-12 maraschino cherries
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease your 10-15 cup Bundt Pan! well.
- Sift flour, baking powder, salt and sugar (or you can just use 1 boxed yellow cake mix in lieu of the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar) into a small bowl to remove any lumps and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine eggs, butter, pineapple juice, bananas, milk, sour cream and vanilla extract until smooth.
- Add flour mixture and stir well.
- Gently fold in the chopped pineapple chopped pieces
- In another small bowl mix the 3 Tbl melted butter with brown sugar and stir until smooth.
- Spread your brown sugar mixture into the bottom of your Bundt pan.
- Place pineapple rings over the brown sugar mixture and arrange them to be as flat as possible in the pan.
- Place a cherry in the center of each pineapple ring.
- If you want extra you can place extra cherries on the outside of the rings.
- Pour cake batter over pineapple rings and spread out evenly.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes or until an inserted comes out clean.
- Let cool in pan. ~20 minutes.
- Place a serving platter bigger than your Bundt pan on top of the pan and grasping both the platter and the pan, flip over in one motion.
- Slowly remove the pan from the cake.
- Allow to cool completely before cutting.
Hands down my FAVORITE Bundt Pan!
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