This tropical cake gets a kick from black pepper caramel, a unique sweet-spicy flavor that balances out the pineapple.
For a spice-free cake, omit the black pepper from the caramel.
Always invert your upside-down cake 15 minutes after removing it from the oven, when the caramel is warm enough to release from the pan and the cake is set. Too soon and the cake may fall apart while inverting, too late and the caramel may harden and stick.
Wow, you’ve got some beautiful ingredients! Once you’ve unpacked your Red Velvet kit, preheat the oven to 350°F. Take out 3 eggs from your refrigerator. Grease a 9”x13” pan using a small amount of vegetable oil or a pad of butter from home. Open the can of pineapple and drain the juice into a cup; set aside. Carefully pull out pineapple slices. Cut each slice in half.
In a medium saucepan over high heat, combine sugar (for caramel) and half a cup of water. After a few minutes, the mixture will come to a furious boil; several minutes later, water will evaporate and sugar will boil intensely, finally starting to brown. Swirl the sugar around the pan to help the sugar brown evenly.
Once the caramel reaches a light amber color, turn off heat and carefully add three tablespoons of reserved pineapple juice to the sugar; it will bubble and steam! Whisk the mixture until it stops bubbling. Remove from the stove and whisk in black pepper. Pour into 9”x13” pan and tilt the pan to cover the entire bottom with caramel. Once the caramel cools, lay sliced pineapple on top in a decorative pattern.
In a medium bowl, sift cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer or whisk, beat eggs for 1 minute, until they start to look pale and frothy. Add sugar (for cake) and beat for another 5 minutes on medium high. Slowly add vegetable oil and continue to beat for a minute more. Reduce speed to low, and alternate adding the flour mixture and milk, beating until *just* combined.
Carefully pour cake batter over the pineapple, ensuring it covers all of the pineapple. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the cake to loosen it from the pan, then place the serving dish upside down on top of the cake to unmold. Flip it over and voila, the bottom will now be the top! Carefully remove the pan, let cool, and serve.