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Coconut pineapple upside down cake

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The Pastry Chef's Baking

(Read caption) The chewiness of the coconut adds a nice in this not-too-sweet pineapple upside down cake.

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Ever since I watching the American Baking Competition, I've been wanting to make this recipe. I found it on the show's blog and it's from my favorite baker in the competition, Elaine. Unfortunately, Elaine wasn't the ultimate winner but I still liked her down-to-earth ways and her recipes.

From a quick glance at my pictures and the ones on the original blog, um, you can tell mine didn't come out the way it was supposed to. I never intended to put a raspberry in the middle of each pineapple ring anyway which was just as well because you can see the cake batter baked right over most of the pineapple rings so it doesn't have that traditional pineapple upside down cake where you can actually see the pineapple. Oops.

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I don't usually make pineapple upside down cakes as most of the ones I've tried (made by other people) were always a bit too sweet. Plus I have a prejudice against most fruits in desserts. This recipe has coconut in it though so it was a little bit different than the standard pineapple upside down cake.

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A couple of things I didn't expect: first, this doesn't make much cake batter. I was glad I baked the cake in an 8-inch round pan instead of a 9-inch or it would've been even thinner. Second, I thought the melted brown sugar/butter would produce more caramel syrup which would then bubble and pour out as a syrupy glaze when you turned the cake upside down. Instead, most of it baked into the cake so while it kept the top moist, which worked out fine because if it had the lava flow, I think it would've been too sweet.

As it is, I liked this cake. The chewiness of the coconut was a nice texture addition and the sweet tartness of the pineapple kept the brown sugar/butter part of the topping from making the cake too sweet. I think it could've used a little more cake but this makes for a nice little summer dessert nonetheless. I don't know how to solve the problem of keeping  the pineapple fro getting buried into the cake as it bakes. That might've been avoided had I actually used the pineapple bits called for in the original recipe to lay down a good base on pineapple but since I don't like pineapple bits, I left them out.

Coconut Pineapple Upside Down Cake
From American Baking Competition

3/4 cup butter, room temperature, separated
 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
 1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, reserve juice 
 2 8-ounce cans sliced pineapple, drain, reserve juice and pat dry (I omitted these since I don't like pineapple bits)
 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
 1 cup all-purpose flour 
 1-1/4  teaspoons baking powder
 1/4 cup granulated sugar
 1/2 cup milk
 1 extra large egg
 3 tablespoons reserved pineapple juice
 1/4 teaspoon salt
 Fresh Raspberries (optional, I left it out)
 Apricot Preserves, slightly heated (optional, I left it out)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Mix 1/4 cup butter and brown sugar in 9-inch cake pan.  Heat in oven until sugar and butter begin to turn dark but not burnt. Add crushed pineapple and coconut. Mix and spread evenly in pan.  Place pineapple slices around edge of pan and one slice in center. 

2. Combine remaining ingredients together and mix at low speed to blend.  Mix at medium speed until well blended.  Pour over pineapple in pan.  Bake 40 minutes or until cake test done.  Invert onto serving platter and garnish with raspberries in center of each slice.  Glaze each berry with syrup from preserves, if desired.

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