Variations of this recipe are as old as colonial times, when an apple, pear, or nut version was made in a “spider” – a wrought iron pot with legs over a cooking fire. The pineapple version became popular much later when canned pineapple was available to eager cooks. Originally the recipe specified brown sugar, but of course maple syrup, maple sugar and maple whipped cream make it marvelous!
What You Need
1 cup maple syrup for the topping
1/4 cup maple sugar for the topping
11 tablespoons butter (or a substitute if you use a butter substitute)
7 whole circle slices of canned pineapple
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup maple sugar for the batter
2 extra-large or jumbo eggs
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ cup milk
For the garnish: 1 cup heavy or whipping cream, ¼ cup pure maple syrup, any grade
How To Do It
Heat the oven to 350⁰, with one rack placed in the middle.
In a cast iron, or other heavy skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter. Add the maple syrup and sugar, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Bring the mixture to a boil for three minutes. Place one pineapple ring in the center, and arrange the remaining 6 around the edge. Add one maraschino cherry to the center of each pineapple ring. (You could use a raspberry in place of the cherry or a large pecan or walnut) Set aside.
In a mixing bowl or stand mixer, cream the remaining 8 tablespoons of butter or butter substitute and the ¾ cup maple sugar until well- combined. Add vanilla and eggs, and beat until smooth. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt and add alternately with the milk. Mix just until all are combined. Gently spread the batter over the fruit in the pan. (Make sure your pan handle is oven-proof.) Place the pan in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or more until the cake edges begin to pull away from the side and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let the cake rest for about 10 minutes or so, until partially cooled. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the cake, making sure it is free from the pan. Place the dish that will hold the cake upside down on top of the skillet, and invert the skillet and cake plate together onto the table – (it helps to have an assistant for this maneuver, particularly if your skillet is heavy!) The cake should release neatly from the skillet, with its maple sauce and pineapples.
Now whip the cream and the maple syrup until peaks are formed. Vanilla ice cream will do, but the maple whipped cream is a crowning treat! Nostalgically, this was my father’s favorite dessert.