I have been making this recipe for 25+ years but it is actually from the 1920's. This is an unusual cake and should be cooked in a cast iron skillet. The batter isn't like an angel food cake, at all. It is crunchy on the outside but chewy. Not light and fluffy like most people are used to. And it is very beautiful. And very rich.
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Melt butter in bottom of a 9 or 10 inch cast iron skillet by either placing it in the oven or melting on the stove top over low heat. Don't let it brown.
- Cover melted butter with brown sugar spreading in an even layer.
- Put one slice of drained pineapple in the center and cut the other rings in half. Arrange the rest of the pineapple halves like a spoked wheel -- rounded edges facing the same way. You may have a few unused pieces.
- Fill spaces with nuts and candied cherries if you have them. (The cherries are pretty and I use them when I have them. The walnuts I think are great in this recipe so use them unless there is an allergy problem.).
- Make batter as directed below and pour over all.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, then check every five minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- When done, run a knife around the edge to separate cake well from the edge of the skillet. Very important. You do not want that cake to stick when you try to flip it over.
- Let cool for a few minutes (just a few -- the cake can't set and cool or it will "glue" itself to the pan) so the syrup isn't like molten lava. While wearing kitchen mitts and long sleeves, (this stuff is hot and you do NOT want to splash any on you) place a large plate on top of the skillet and then in one smooth motion invert skillet and dump cake onto the plate.
- Allow to cool for about an hour and serve very warm.
- Make batter-------------------------------.
- Beat 4 egg yolks and sugar and pineapple juice until light.
- Sift flour and baking powder and fold into the egg/sugar mixture 1/3 cup at a time.
- Fold in 4 stiffly beaten egg whites.