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PINEAPPLE UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE CATCHES `WAVE’

SHARE PINEAPPLE UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE CATCHES `WAVE’

In 1925, the Dole Pineapple Co. asked readers of women's magazines to submit original and creative recipes using pineapple.

A cash prize of $50 was promised for each of the 100 best. These would also be printed in a cookbook, "Pineapple as 100 Good Cooks Serve It."The contest drew 60,000 recipes, including 2,500 for pineapple upside-down cake. Mrs. Robert Davis of Norfolk, Va., submitted one of these, and it was printed in the cookbook the next year.

Food researchers say that may be the first printed reference to the now-classic pineapple upside-down cake, but obviously it was not new, since so many were submitted. The best guess is that the cake originated some time between 1903 (when Jim Dole invented canned pineapple) and the 1925 contest.

At first, pineapple upside-down cakes often were baked in cast iron skillets and, sometimes, on top of the stove. Sometimes crushed pineapple was used instead of sliced pineapple.

In the days before people worried about fat grams, it was always served with real whipped cream. And before anyone ever heard of red dye No. 2, maraschino cherries were always placed in the hole of each pineapple slice.

Now, pecan halves sometimes are substituted, and a box of cake mix replaces the old "from scratch" recipe.

Now, too, the pineapple upside-down cake can be baked in the microwave. It's an ideal cake for the microwave because browning isn't important. The brown sugar, pineapple and cherry bottom, turned down-side up, makes an attractive topping.

If you prefer to make your pineapple upside-down cake the old-fashioned way, from scratch and in the conventional oven, this recipe is recommended by the Dole kitchens:

Woodene Merriman is the author of "Zap It Again," featuring more than 400 ways to use your microwave. To order, send your name and address and a check for $10.07 ($8.50 plus $1.57 for postage and handling), payable to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, to Zap It Cookbook, Box 476, Pittsburgh, PA 15230. Allow two weeks for delivery.

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Recipes

PINEAPPLE UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 (8-ounce) can sliced or crushed pineapple in natural juice, undrained

5 maraschino cherries

1 (9 ounce) package yellow cake mix, mixed according to package directions

In 8-inch round glass or ceramic dish with high sides, melt butter by zapping on high about 1 minute. Blend with brown sugar. Pack in bottom of dish. Drain pineapple juice into cup for liquid in cake. Arrange pineapple over sugar mixture; place cherries randomly over sugar mixture.

Prepare mix following package directions, using pineapple juice for water. Pour batter over pineapple. Microwave on high about 7 minutes, rotating dish 1/4 turn halfway through the cooking (unless your microwave has a carousel.) Rest 5-10 minutes until cake pulls away from sides. Invert on serving dish. Serves 6-8.

- Adapted from "Let's Cook Microwave," by Barbara Harris.

PINEAPPLE UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE

1 can (20 ounces) sliced pineapple

1/4 cup butter

2/3 brown sugar, firmly paked

Maraschino cherries

1 1/2 cups flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup shortening

1 egg

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel

Drain pineapple, reserving 2 tablespoons liquid. Melt butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet. Stir in brown sugar until blended. Remove from heat. Arrange pineapple slices in sugar mixture. Place a maraschino cherry in center of each slice.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add milk and shortening; beat 2 minutes. Add egg, reserved pineapple juice, lemon juice, vanilla and lemon peel. Beat 2 minutes. Pour over pineapple in skillet, spreading evenly. Bake in 350-degree oven 40 minutes. Cool on wire rack 5 minutes. Invert onto serving plate. Serve warm. Makes 8 servings.