candy corn upside down cake

The internet is a beautiful thing.

It introduces us to wonderful things like adorable animals, outrageous comics, useless knick-knacks, and amazing recipes that, without the internet, I would never know existed.

I wouldn’t know they were missing from my life, but they would be. I’m sure there would be an emptiness somewhere inside me.

One of these things was on Serious Eats last week. It got planted in my brain and I couldn’t get it to go away. I wouldn’t even know that I was thinking of it but I was… all the time… There would be moments that it would just randomly pop into my head all, “Hey there, remember me?” “Don’t you want to make me?”

What was this magical thing? Candy corn upside down cake.

Mind = Blown.  I know.

Of course we all know about pineapple upside down cake, but CANDY CORN upside down cake? That’s just madness. MADNESS!

Since I’m one of two people in the world who actually happens to love candy corn, I was immediately excited over this concept. A lot of you don’t love candy corn. I know this. BF is one of you.  So when I came home from the store, dumped my groceries out onto the counter, and starting rambling on about this magical “candy corn upside down cake” he got a disgusted look on his face, “Candy Corn?? Gross.”

Joke was on him in the end though, because guess what!

HE. LOVED. IT.

Like, eating-crumbs-from-the-bottom-of-the-cake-plate loved it.

What happens is this: the candy corn, already made of sugar, melts and mixes with the brown sugar and butter, and forms a super-caramelized candy coating on top of the cake…It’s not the prettiest thing in the world, but I’ve definitely seen worse.  And sure I felt a little silly melting butter and then sprinkling it with brown sugar… and then sprinkling that with candy corn.  Over the top?  Maybe a little.

So those of you who love candy corn, prepare yourself for pure sugary bliss.

Those of you who hate candy corn, PREPARE YOURSELF FOR PURE SUGARY BLISS.  Please give it a try.  At the very least, I definitely found my new cake base for upside down cake.  It’s so light and delicate and … well, just make it.  You’ll see.

Candy Corn Upside Down Cake

[ Printable Recipe ]

For the Glaze:

  • ⅓ cup (about 5 tablespoons) butter
  • ⅔ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 ½ cups candy corn

For the Cake:

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup milk

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment (I used a 9-by-2” round cake pan)

Melt ⅓ cup butter and pour into the pan.  Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the butter.  Sprinkle candy corn evenly on top.

In a medium bowl, sift or stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each until just incorporated.  Add vanilla extract and stir just to combine.

Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk, in 2 to 3 additions (flour-milk-flour-milk-flour), scraping the sides as necessary. Beat on low speed until fully incorporated.  Carefully pour the batter into the pan (If you try to pour it all in at once, it will push all of your candy corn to the side).

Set a cookie tray under the cake in the oven, in case the candy bubbles or drips. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, 45 to 50 minutes.

Let cool 5 to 10 minutes in the pan, then VERY CAREFULLY invert the cake onto a plate.  Leave the pan in place for several minutes so the gooey mixture can drip down over the cake. After the dripping is done, lift off the pan (I had to pry mine with a fork). Serve while warm.

[ Adapted from Serious Eats ]

pacman cake and summer weather

pineapple cake main

With record-breaking highs in the triple digits, this year already feels like summer. Let me be the first to say…. I HATE SUMMER! Especially in the desert! It’s too hot, too sunny, too sweaty. I just can’t take it. On Saturday, I actually went into our pool. OUR POOL! ON APRIL 21ST! That’s so unnecessary. I even have a tan line…

Sad.

Well, regardless of my deep hatred of summer (spring and fall, you’re the only ones for me!), with it being so summery outside I just had to bake something to fit this crazy weather.  I thought about this summery peach tart, but on my morning trip to the supermarket saw this lovely little pineapple on sale. And after over 3 years of the wonderful BF asking me to pretty please make his favorite dessert, I finally caved.

Ain’t she cute? This picture was taken right after she saw the knife and realized she was going to meet her maker…  Don’t look so surprised, Ms. Pineapple, we both knew this day was coming… don’t worry, you are dying for a noble cause: Thomas Keller’s pineapple upside down cake recipe. BF walked into the kitchen and saw my Ad Hoc book out, “Ooh, Thomas Keller? Didn’t realize you were going gourmet for me.” Of course, dear. For you, I pull out all the stops. :)

No, those aren’t specks of dirt in there, Thomas Keller’s recipe calls for vanilla bean paste, which contains little flecks of vanilla bean seeds. You can substitute 1:1 for vanilla extract though, no big deal. Even if you don’t use it for this recipe, though, I highly recommend you find yourself some vanilla bean paste… I could eat that stuff straight out of the jar. It’s simply delightful.

Pictures in this post are courtesy of BF’s fancy pants new iPad. He was my honorary photographer, as he was explaining to me how his iPad camera actually has a higher resolution than our DSLR… ha!

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

[ Printable Recipe ]

Pan Schmear
·         8 tablespoons (1 stick; 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
·         1 1/2 tablespoons honey
·         1/2 teaspoon dark rum (I used bourbon, it’s all I had)
·         1 cup packed dark brown sugar
·         1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
·         Kosher salt
·         1 Gold (extra sweet) pineapple
Cake
·         1 1/2 cups cake flour
·         2 teaspoons baking powder
·         8 tablespoons (1 stick; 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
·         1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
·         1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
·         2 large eggs
·         1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon milk

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, combine the butter, honey, rum, brown sugar, and vanilla and beat until smooth and well blended. Spread 1/3 cup of the schmear over the bottom of a 9-inch baking pan. Sprinkle lightly with salt. (The remaining schmear can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks or frozen for up to 1 month; bring to room temperature before using.)

2. Cut the top and bottom from the pineapple and cut away the peel. Cut the pineapple lengthwise into quarters, and cut off the core from each section. Cut each piece into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Beginning at the perimeter of the pan, make an overlapping ring of pineapple slices with the curved side facing out. Make a second ring inside the first one, overlapping the slices in the opposite direction, working toward the center of the pan. Reserve any extra pineapple for another use.

3. Sift the flour and baking powder together; set aside.

4. Put the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle and mix on low speed to combine, then beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until light and creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary. Mix in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until the first one is incorporated before adding the second and scraping down the sides as necessary. Beat in the milk. Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, beating until just combined.
Pour the batter into the pan and spread over the pineapple.

5. Bake for 15 minutes. Rotate the pan for even browning and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until a cake tester or wooden skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a cooling rack for 20 to 30 minutes.

6. Run a knife around the edges of the cake, invert onto a serving platter, and serve warm. (Leftover cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.)

[ Adapted from Ad Hoc at Home, by Thomas Keller ]