I started baking when I was in my early teens. While I started off with packet cakes by Pillsbury and Betty Crocker, I soon proceeded to baking several other simple cakes from scratch. But, the highlight was always my upside-down pineapple cake. I’d dogmatically follow Amma’s Nirmala Niketan recipe to the “t” and turn out a succulent cake. Then, last year for Ishaaq’s birthday, I decided to bake this cake after almost 8-10 years. But, I didn’t have Amma’s recipe. So, I found Nigella Lawson’s recipe and followed that. But, sadly it didn’t turn out that great – it wasn’t fluffy or light – and I was really disappointed.
Today, I know what went wrong. After watching and following every episode of Masterchef Australia, I’ve learnt the basics of baking. Its very simple. A cake has to rise. And, it has several agents to help it. But, the most important one is the way it is whipped. The mixture, before being put in the oven, should be light and fluffy, aided mostly by the eggs out of which you must beat the hell of.
So, armed with all this knowledge, I was quite confident while making Nigella’s soft and succulent upside down pineapple cake for Ishaaq’s uncle’s birthday yesterday. I made it in two layers with a buttercream frosting in the middle. Save for the landslide and that it was pronounced quite heavy, it was a hit!
Updated in 2016: ‘Naked’ cakes are such a trend now. But little does today’s generation realise how they are the original thing – a buttery golden crumb, with a golden brown base and the joy of no fancy fondant, extravagant cream cheese frosting – just pure unadulterated flavour. I recently baked this cake and totally reworked the old, rather horrible picture. It is amazing how burnished and caramelised the pineapples become with the brown sugar at the base of the tin.