On my first visit to Oahu, Hawaii, I had a fairly short “to do list.” First on my list was to be greeted by a beautiful Hawaiian placing a fresh smelling lei around my neck, followed by surf lessons and a traditional Hawaiian luau (real pig and all!). After checking these experiences off my list and tending to my sunburned back and bruised legs from my surf lesson, I decided a nice calm trip to the Dole Pineapple Plantation was in order.
The Dole Pineapple Plantation first operated as as a fruit stand beginning in 1950 then opened to the public in 1989 as one of the most popular visitor attractions in Hawaii. The plantation offers something for all ages. There is the Pineapple Express, The Plantation Garden Tour and the Plantation Garden maze. You won’t want to miss the county store filled with pineapple themed gifts, local goods and my favorite, the pineapple ice cream. Don’t let anyone try to talk you into sharing; you will want your own. If your suitcase is big enough, you can purchase a fresh pineapple to take home. I bought one for the road but it only made it back to our room where it was carved and served poolside.
When I get to missing the “Aloha” of Hawaii, I will sometimes make this Pineapple Upside Down Cake. This cake couldn’t be easier because its base is a box of yellow cake mix. The recipe doesn’t even call for fresh pineapple so you won’t need to travel to Hawaii to make this rich and flavorful cake. It’s really simple and a show-stopper to look at on your table. Turn on some music from famed Hawaiian singer IZ, take a bite and you will think that you are “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
1 (20-ounce) can Dole Pineapple Slices
9 maraschino cherries
Melt butter in a 9-inch cast-iron skillet. Spread brown sugar evenly over bottom of skillet. Drain pineapple, reserving juice; set juice aside. Arrange pineapple slices in a single layer over brown sugar mixture, and place a cherry in center of each pineapple ring.
Follow the directions on a Duncan Hines Golden Yellow Cake Mix but substitute 1/2 cup pineapple juice for the 1/2 cup of water. If you didn’t get a 1/2 cup of juice from your pineapple can then add enough water to make the 1/2 cup. Spoon batter over prepared pineapple slices. Bake cake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.