A few years ago on an occasional visit to my old Hollis neighborhood, I stopped into a bakery for a cup of tea as it was a chilly day and I was waiting for a bus. While waiting I glanced over at the glass case where they held custom ordered baked goods waiting for pickup. I was stunned at what I saw – a pineapple upside down cake.
I hadn’t seen one in years. And certainly never in a bakery. We weren’t raised to have dessert after every meal and furthermore, if you wanted dessert you had to make it. We rarely ordered from bakeries.
Here is why I was stunned: I found it hard to believe that someone would order a cake like this from a bakery. I started making pineapple upside down cakes as a child. I don’t recall how old I was but maybe 11 or 12. All you needed was a box of cake mix, a can of sliced pineapple, a jar of (food-colored) marachino cherries and an egg or two and water. Flour and butter your pan, wait 45 minutes, flip that little baby and voila! It was a crowd pleaser every time. Wow! This was child’s play for me and I was surprised at how little effort it took to impress. So I made it a lot.
To this day I am not a sophisticated baker (I would never us a mix, though.) I make good pies and I am still working on cakes without traditional ingredients. I have no desire to make a cake that looks like a shoe or a dinosaur. I don’t care for froufrou frostings and all that fancy stuff. (Well I do get a little creative.)
That display case brought me back to my childhood. The box instructions were for a pineapple upside down cake but I was making Pineapple Upside Wow cake.