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When I was in college, my Grampa & I spent countless happy hours in his kitchen mixing up our own varieties of delicious confections while he sipped a martini (a realmartini, not those “funny pink fruity things”) and I sipped, well, a funny pink fruity thing…

     On the top of our list was Pineapple Upside Down Cake…the more sugar, maraschino cherries and butter the better. I am recreating this recipe from scratch, and with a slightly more adult angle. For one, I am sipping a lovely Merlot while I bake…
     I hope you enjoy the real cherries, chewy spicy ginger, fresh tart pineapple, and contrasting savory salted pistachios that top this healthy(er) & delectable cake!
Ingredients:
Cupcake Mix:
1 1/3 cups cake flour
3/4  cup whole wheat flour 1/4 cup flaxseed meal 2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup softened Earth Balance (or butter)
3/4 cup Florida Crystals sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature *
     *when I use eggs, I prefer a cage-free, hormone & anti-biotic free, vegeterian fed chicken egg! Pete & Jerry’s or Little Rhody are always stocked in my fridge
2 teaspoons good vanilla…Mexican vanilla is excellent and has a rich coconut-y essence
3/4 cup almond milk (sweetened, unsweetened, vanilla…it doesn’t matter)
1/4 cup salted pistachios, crushed (I find it easy to put a clothe over them, and crush with a rolling pin)
1/2 cup fresh pitted cherries (or frozen) chopped

Topping:

3/4 cup fresh pineapple, sliced & chopped into quarters

3/4 cup candied ginger, minced

1/4 cup salted pistachios, coarsely chopped

18 whole cherries

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) melted Earth Balance or butter

Hard Sauce:

4 tablespoons rum

1/4  cup honey

1/4 Earth Balance (or butter)

1/4 Mimicreme* or heavy cream *Mimicreme is a cream alternative made from almonds & cashews

Recipe yields about 18 cupcakes

1) Blend all flours, flaxseed, & baking powder; in separate bowl, cream together softened Earth Balance & sugar until light and fluffy…this is important as the sugar crystals & butter create structure & lightness in your baked treats. Add eggs one at a time to butter and sugar, mixing in vanilla and almond milk, blending well. Combine both mixtures together, and fold in pistachios and cherries.

2) In separate bowl, lightly stir together pineapple, ginger, pistachios and butter; set aside. Spray cupcake tin with non-stick vegetable oil spray (or “Anti-Stick Spray” as my Grampa called it), dust lightly with flour, and spoon equal scoops of topping into the bottom of each cup, pressing one whole cherry into the center of each cup.
3) Pour batter about 3/4’s full into each cup; place in oven to bake at 350 degrees for about 18-20 minutes. You may need to gently run a knife around the cupcake tin to free your dessert before it “settles in”.
4) While cupcakes cool a bit, combine the ingredients for the hard sauce in a saucepan over low/medium heat, and stir until everything has melded together….drizzle over cupcakes before serving, or use as a sauce garnish on your plate under cupcake.
Serve with a tall glass of almond milk, or a funny pink fruity thing and enjoy!
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