It's pineapple season! That means that just about anywhere you go in Hanoi right now, you can buy a whole small pineapple for less than 50 cents US, and the seller will cut the stem, peel and eyes off for you in a cool diagonal pattern. And it's some of the sweetest pineapple you'll ever eat.
Sometimes I go to the market outside my house, and find so much fruit that looks so good, that I really go a bit overboard. On this particular day I had bought a kilo of mangoes, about 10 bananas, and two pineapples. I live alone, and that's far more fruit than I can eat before it will go bad! Solution? Well, usually, it's bananas that I end up with too much of, and they end up being banana bread, but this time I decided to go another way. Pineapple upside-down cake!
I found a basic recipe on allrecipes.com but of course, being me, couldn't do it just like it said, so I added a few extra spices! I started by making a syrup from brown sugar, melted butter, pineapple juice, the juice from some grated fresh ginger, and a tiny bit of ground cloves. I poured that into the bottom of a pan, and arranged some pieces of pineapple on top in a pretty pattern.
Then I made up the batter as the recipe said, but added about 1 tsp of cinnamon to it. I poured it on top of the pineapple and syrup, and baked it for 30 minutes like the recipe said. The syrup started to come up the sides of the cake and it smelled amazing!
After it had cooled for about 10 minutes I turned it upside-down onto a serving tray.
This cake was delicious. It's quite dense, despite the beaten egg whites that went into it, and the syrup on the bottom (er...the top?) soaks into the batter and makes it sticky and gooey. I would make it again. And again. And again. When I took it to work even Emma, who doesn't like pineapple, picked off the fruit and loved it!