Pineapple Upside Down Cake, 3 ways

Sometimes I look at other people’s blogs and want to scream (or weep). How does your (‘your’ referring to these nebulous other people who post professional-looking food pictures all over twitter, instagram, and facebook) food look so perfect, and (I’m assuming) taste so good too?! Don’t tell me you (now ‘you’ referring to yourself, the reader) haven’t experienced this. I know you have! It’s like seeing airbrushed bodies in fashion magazines, except it’s food. This is somewhat ironic. [I wonder if people ever airbrush food?]

Anyway, the point of this thought is that appearances can be deceiving. Perfection is not always attainable, nor desirable –> key life lesson here, folks. I will be the first to admit, sometimes things I cook do not turn out the way I planned. Sometimes it’s really crap and I have to throw it away and pretend it never happened! The chocolate comes out then, of course. I sometimes find that there is a perception of ‘foodies’ or food bloggers or food culture enthusiasts as belonging to a rarefied group; this is complete nonsense. Food, and the enjoyment of food, should not be pretentious. I’m as obsessed with food as the next food-blogging maniac, and I had hospital food for lunch! And didn’t hate it! Good food is accessible to everyone, and bad food can happen to all of us (if it hasn’t dawned on you yet, that’s what this post is about).

The reason I’ve brought this up is because my dad bought me a pineapple. Which, naturally made me think of that time I made pineapple upside cake. The recipe I used called for the butter and sugar to be melted together to form the caramel. Let me walk you through this recipe, using a combination of pictures, words, and emotions:

Inspiration.

I decided to make a brown butter caramel! Brown butter is cool, right?

Disaster.

Somehow (and I don’t even know what went wrong, maybe sugar does not mix well with brown butter or I burnt the bedoodles out of the sugar or who knows what went on) but I’m sitting there, watching the butter brown while actually watching Castle (whom I LOVE) and next thing I know, I’m left with this murky dark brown sludge with a niiiiice thick layer of oil floating on top. See Exhibit A.

Exhibit A: Yuck

Exhibit A: Yuck

This is disgusting. I realized that this mixture in the pan would probably harden due to the sugar, so I came up with the brilliant idea of pouring it into a plastic cup to throw away.

Panic.

The cup melted. With this brown butter-oil-sugar situation it it. I’m watching it slowly cave in on itself all over the counter, when – Ah HA! – I grab a plate to catch it. Except…a paper plate. More panic, obviously. And more paper plates. I would have taken a picture, but…the melting.

Determination.

I can totally do this. Extremely watchful eye on NEW brown butter-sugar mixture. It’s looking good! I grab my camera, focus, and –

Exhibit B: Confusion. And why does this look different from Exhibit A??

Exhibit B: Confusion. And why does this look different from Exhibit A??

Confusion.

This silly thing separated while I was focusing my camera. Complete wtf moment.

Irritation at maximum.

Screw the brown butter. I am making this cake if it’s the last thing I do! I am a foodie, damnit, and some things will just not be tolerated! (Should I have given up at this point? Unclear.)

Finally: Success.

This looks like something I might want to eat

This looks like something I might want to eat

To be honest, before recounting this story, I was planning on making another pineapple upside cake but now I may have just talked myself out of it. Please let the takeaway message of this story be to never give up, and not to never buy another pineapple! The morale of this story is: sometimes it pays off to be fancy. Aaand sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes an upside down cake is about as fancy as it needs to get. Enjoy, and stay delicious! ;) [and make this cake, for real…SO GOOD]

Yes, the regular, non-brown butter caramel was magnificent.

Yes, the regular, non-brown butter caramel was magnificent.

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