Aloha! Make This Heart Healthy Dessert Reminiscent of the Islands For Your Next Gathering

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

I have a love-hate relationship with pineapples. Well, more of a love-meh relationship.  They smell divine, the tropics in fruit-form, but the flavor can be harsh on the mouth when raw.  I find they start to cut up the inside of my mouth if I eat too much of them, so I tend to minimize my exposure to the fruit if I see them in a fruit salad, for instance, and if a wedge forms part of the garnish on a cocktail, I offer it to my pineapple-loving husband.

But cooked pineapple is a different story. I love it. The rich caramelly layers, the soft pulpy goodness. It is a major player on our favorite choose-your-own-adventure pizza – sausage, banana peppers, onions, tomatoes, and pineapple – and it does wonders to a slice of ham it is grilled next to.

The reason your mouth cuts up and can bleed after eating pineapple has to do with and enzyme called bromelain. It is an important enzyme because it breaks down proteins, hence a superb meat tenderizer. But it also breaks down the proteins in your mouth, so the longer you eat it, the longer it’s also eating the insides of your mouth. Cooking it removes most of these enzymes, so it is well worth your time and effort to cook it if you love the fruit.

And what better way to serve pineapple then as dessert! This recipe for pineapple upside cake is not only delicious, but heart-healthy as it removes excess sugar and fat, relying on banana to fill that role. Once you slice the cake (and it will serve 8) you may want to include a scoop of ice cream or yogurt on the side as this will also help mitigate the burning effects of the pineapple.

And don’t worry about the flipping. Just take a deep breath, grip and flip. Aloha!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 (20-ounce) can pineapple slices in juice, undrained
  • 1/4 cup low-calorie brown sugar blend
  • 3/4 cup granulated, no-calorie sweetener (divided use)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 medium ripe banana (peeled, chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup 1 percent buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. For the pineapple glaze: Drain pineapple juice from the canned pineapple slices (about 1 cup) into a medium heavy-duty pot. Don’t throw out pineapple slices! Add low-calorie brown sugar blend and ¼ cup no-calorie granulated sweetener into the pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Continue boiling until the liquid is bubbly and reduced by about one-fourth, around 8 to 10 minutes. Keep watching the pot in case the liquid reduces quickly. Remove from heat. You should have around 3/4 cup of syrupy liquid.
  3. Spray a 9-inch cake pan with cooking spray. Pour the pineapple glaze into the dish. Around 7 rings will fit over the glaze, but use as many that it will accommodate and reserve the remaining rings.
  4. Then combine the dry ingredients into a bowl: ½ cup no-calorie, granulated sweetener, flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  5. In another bowl (a large one), add the chopped banana. Use a fork to mash the banana. Add oil, water, eggs, buttermilk, and extract into the bowl with the banana, stirring together to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients until mixed together. Gather the remaining pineapple rings, chop, and stir into the batter.
  6. Pour batter over the pineapple rings. Bake in the oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, so expect it to take about 50 minutes.
  7. Remove the cake pan from the oven and let cool, about 10 minutes. To ensure the cake won’t stick run a butter knife along the edges of the cake pan.
  8. Now the fun part! Place a plate on top of the pan and use pot holders to flip cake over to invert into the upside down. Serve warm or at room temperature, perhaps with a little vanilla ice cream on the side.

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