Assumptions going into the challenge that I have now thrown out the window: Pineapple Rings are requisite for this cake
Maraschino Cherries will make it taste like cherries
Cast Iron always sticks when not seasoned
The winner: Cooks Illustrated
Family Cookbook recipe
Although this one was not as attractive, the cake was much moister and the topping gooey-er. Had I followed their advice on using chunks of pineapple instead of rings, I might have avoided the center sinking. This was my first attempt ever at this cake and it was fairly simple and straight forward.
I resorted to this recipe rather than the all-powerful Best Recipe because I wanted to save a pot and knew I was making two cakes. The first time I made the topping for Best Recipe (follows) I threw it away because it seemed so wrong. I consulted this recipe and it had a completely different approach. Now I know that if the pan is too cool when you put in the topping, you will get crunchy praline-type chunks in it and they are not pretty. Although my nephews did sort of fight over who would get the big chunks. So seeing that the Best Recipe may not be all that and being limited by the number of eggs in the fridge, I proceeded the rest of the way with the cake part of this one.
This one was more complicated by far. It involved whipping egg whites, 3 large bowls, and corn meal. I can say that the biggest drawback was the cornmeal. What were they thinking? At only 3 tbsp, you can definitely tell it’s in there and not in a good way.
The coolest trick about this recipe was that it’s made in a cast iron skillet. I was very skeptical about using mine since it is far from seasoned and only a year old. But it came out without sticking and made beautifully flared sides on the cake. The whole cake was much drier. Could that be because I over whipped my egg whites? I forgot to put sugar in them until they were already soft peaks so it got stiffer than I’d hoped for.