What would life be like without weekends? They are more than just “time off” from work, they provide me with a whole different mentality from the rest of the week. I cherish my time off by catching up on any neglected projects in my life (there is always something to do) and recharging for the week ahead. One of my favorite activities to do on the weekends is cook. It inspires me, amuses me, and always has a way of bringing people together.
This Saturday, I invited some friends over to grill a healthy, creative menu outside. Our casual dinner consisted of some perfectly seasoned Mahi Mahi tacos with an avocado-lime salsa, black bean quinoa, and dessert of grilled pineapple upside down cake. It really hit the spot! I photo-blogged the pineapple upside down cake, but realized that am going to need to re-make these tacos for the blog after I tasted how good they were. More on those later! The cake, on the other hand, is a fun way to use your gas grill and is so sweet and tasty. It has a caramel-vanilla flavor, accented perfectly by the tart grilled pineapple and savory brown sugar. Here is how you do it!
- A seasoned cast-iron skillet
- 1 pineapple, cut into rings
- 2 tbsp +1/4 cup softened bytter
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 2/3 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
Grilling always provides an interesting “twist” to cooking because I have to take everything outside and cook on a small surface, usually surrounded by friends and wine. The most unpleasant of this is the process of taking everything outside. Therefore, this cake is made in three “parts” all of which can be easily transported outside to your grill for convenience.
First, slice and core the pineapple. Set it in a tupperware or bowl to carry outside.
Next, mix the brown sugar, heavy cream, and cinnamon in a Pyrex cup or bowl. This will be the “top” of your upside-down cake and ensure that the heavy pineapple sticks to the rest of the cake. Reserve 2 tbsp butter with this, but do not mix it in yet.
Lastly, use a mixer to cream the remaining 1/4 cup butter, flour, eggs, and everything else. Put it in a bowl to carry outside. When you are all “prepped,” it will look like this:
When you are outside, preheat the grill to about 400 degrees and keep it there. Melt the butter on the skillet while you grill the pineapple.
While the pineapple is getting that nice sear on the outside, pour the brown-sugar and cream mixture into the skillet. When it starts to bubble around the edges, you are ready to put the pineappple into the skillet using some tongs.
When everything is inside of the skillet, pour the cake batter on top and move the pan to indirect heat. Cover and let it cook for 45 minutes to one hour.
During this time, we ate a lot of delicious mahi mahi tacos, talked about our jobs, compared our successes with various fitness “fads” (I am starting P90X this week!), and enjoyed the gorgeous weather outside. It was a truly lovely dinner.
What better to top off a good meal than a light and healthy dessert? One hour later, our cake was ready.
We were in SUCH a rush to eat that we failed to turn our “upside down” cake upside down! What a great blog photograph that would have been, huh? Imagine our beautiful square cake with a brown crumble top and rings of pineapple poking through. Keep imagining… because that is not what it looked like.
Okay, so I admit that I am not the best photographer after a few glasses of wine. We were so excited about this little masterpiece that we dug right in and were amazed at how delicious it was! The brown sugar adds a caramel flavor that is so sticky and delightful with the fresh pineapple.
If you are in the mood for something amazing to create on the grill, this cake is for you. It is really, really good and polishes off a BBQ like nothing else.
I hope you all are having a lovely week! Lots of love!