Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Early Twentieth Century Skillet Dessert: Pineapple Upside Down Cake

The Pineapple Upside Down Cake has been a crowd pleaser for generations across America. And in Itawamba County, this dessert has been a staple at many church dinners and Sunday meals. It was always one of my favorite cakes growing up in rural Itawamba County.

I decided to bake my own cake last evening, using the traditional heavy black iron skillet method. I cut no culinary corners, using sweet butter and a batter from scratch consisting of flour, baking powder, sugar, eggs, and milk. The result was the gooey and sweet cake with crispy edges pictured above. I served the dessert with a little whipped cream, making a tasty sweet after-dinner treat.

The history of this cake has been an educated guess for many food historians, but evidence points to the conclusion that the Pineapple Upside Down Cake originated after 1903 when pineapple was readily available in most homes across America by the canning process.

One early Gold Medal Flour advertisement was found in a magazine featuring the Pineapple Upside Down Cake in a November 1925 issue of the publication. It has been suggested that this cake is a newer version of the older late 19th Century Upside Down Fruit cakes made with such fruits as apples and cherries.

During 1925 the Hawaiian Pineapple Company produced an advertisement in magazines across America promoting a contest and asking for recipes using the pineapple. 2,500 recipes for this cake were submitted, so the cake was already quite popular during 1925.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake History References:

The Food Timeline: Cakes Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Photograph by Bob Franks

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