I was most intrigued to come across a ‘Canadian Novelty’ in an Australian newspaper from 1936. The recipe was called ‘Tumble Upside-down Cake’, which sounded like a lot of fun. It turns out to nothing more or less than a Pineapple Upside-down Cake of the already (by 1936) well-known style.
NOVELTIES FROM CANADA.
Unusual Dishes you will like.
We don't often' come across Canadian recipes and this makes them all the more fascinating.
You may have heard of Tumble Upside-Down-Cake -a long name, but the "cake" is delicious. Here is the recipe for making it. It is exciting and full of surprises, which makes it all the more attractive. For one thing you make it all in a frying, pan, and for another you, start by making the "icing" first, putting the cake on top and turning the whole thing upside down before serving.
Into a frying pan put a liberal cup and a half of brown sugar and a half a cup of butter (a quarter cup will do, but the cake will not be so rich). Set over heat and stir until the mixture has melted and bubbled but not long enough to burn. After removing from heat drop rings of canned pineapple into the sugar and butter, putting a cherry in the centre of each ring. Into a separate vessel mix an ordinary cake batter (if you haven't one you like, try this – to ¼ cup of butter beaten to a cream add ¼ cup sugar and 2 eggs slightly beaten. Mix 1½ cups flour, pinch of salt, and 2 teaspoons baking powder and gradually stir into egg and sugar mixture, also adding ½ cup of milk.) Pour this batter into the frying pan, on top of the sugar and pineapple rings, and bake in a medium oven until the cake is done. It takes a fairly good-sized frying pan and you'll find the frying pan will usually fit, handle and all, cornerwise in an ordinary oven. If not, use a shallow enamel dish. Fifteen to 20 minutes will bake the cake. When done flop the whole thing upside down onto a large plate. The cake may be served hot, although the true Canadian style it to serve it cold, in slices and smothered in thick cream.
Gippsland Times (Victoria) July 27, 1936
Given that recipes for pine-apple upside-down cake appeared regularly in Australian newspaper columns in the 1930’s, I do wonder why this one was seen as a novelty. Australian recipes for this cake commonly specified, or assumed, fresh, not canned pineapple, which is hardly surprising as the fruit grows well in the tropical regions of the country, and is robust enough to travel well. So, perhaps it is the use of canned pineapple?
Here is another interesting glimpse of Canadian food as seen through Australian eyes. From the
Cairns Post (Qld.) of 12 October, 1923.
A Canadian Salad.
An entirely new salad has recently been served with great success at a luncheon party in Montreal, Canada. Ingredients are unusual, but it can be recommended as particularly piquant and delicious. It could be served as a separate course, or with roast duckling, chicken, or home-made sausage.
Fresh or canned pineapple is cut up in fairly thin slices, and surrounded with crisp lettuce. On each side of the pineapple is a thin sprinkling of fresh red pepper (the canned variety is quite satisfactory, and can be bought from any shop that sells hors d’oeuvres). Cover the surrounding lettuce leaves with a fairly stiff home-made mayonnaise dressing.
Hmmmm. Is this another significant Canadian – canned pineapple connection?
And is there a connection of interest between Cairns, in hot, tropical Far North Queensland and our Cold Commonwealth Cousin, Canada?
Four oz. butter, 3 oz. icing sugar, 1 egg, 6 oz. flour, ¼ teaspoon baking powder. Make into a dough, and line some boat shaped tins. Beat the whites of two eggs stiffly, add four tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, 2 tablespoons cherries, 2 tablespoons coconut, and 2 tablespoons sultanas, and a few drops of essence; fill tins three-quarters and cook slowly to set and brown meringue mixture.
Cairns Post (Qld.) 4 February 1939
Previous posts on upside-down cake.
As expected, none of the "Canadian" recipes ring any bells with this Canadian.
Oh wait! What's that last one? I've never seen it made as "boats". However, make it in a large square pan then cut it into small squares, and you have what looks an awful lot like a version of "Chinese Chews". There's at least a couple of recipes for Chinese Chews floating around in my family, although the name seems to have been politically corrected at some point in the 1970's.
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