Classic Cars of Havana & Pineapple Upside Down Cake

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Along the streets of Havana, among the pedicabs,

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Soviet-era cars,

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and horse-drawn carriages

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is a parade of classic American cars.

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In fact, nearly 60,000 American cars from the 1950s are still on the roads in Cuba.

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Until October 2011, Cuban government permission was required to buy and sell cars, and laws restricted the purchase and sale of cars to those that were in use before the 1959 Revolution. Remarkably, more than 50 years later, many of the cars are still in fantastic condition.

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Because of the U.S. embargo against Cuba, these cars have been kept on the road with Cuban ingenuity, using household products and Soviet technology to create the parts needed for repairs.

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Many of these cars are used as taxis

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and the colors are often as vibrant as the buildings that serve as the backdrop to these magnificent vehicles.

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While these cars are very much part of everyday life in Cuba,

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they are a true gem for tourists to see, ride in, and be transported back in time!

When these cars were on the road in the United States, the Pineapple Upside Down Cake was on the dessert table of many American households. Like the classic cars of Havana, it’s bright in color with a sweet and rich interior.

This recipe comes straight from Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book, published in 1950.

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Click Here to Print This Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • Pineapple slices (drained from 14-0z can; juice reserved)
  • Maraschino cherries
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons pineapple juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions:

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  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. In 9-inch square pan, melt butter in oven. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over melted butter. Arrange pineapple slices over brown sugar. Place cherry in center of each pineapple slice.
  • In medium bowl, beat eggs until thick and lemon-colored (5 minutes). Gradually beat in sugar. Mix in pineapple juice and vanilla.
  • Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; beat into batter all at once.

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  • Pour batter over pineapple and cherries.

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  • Bake 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Immediately turn upside-down on serving plate. Do not remove pan for a few minutes. Brown sugar mixture will run down over cake. Serve warm with plain or whipped cream.

DISTANCE TRAVELED FROM PHILADELPHIA TO HAVANA: 1241 miles

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15 responses

  1. So interesting Alyssa. Steve and I enjoyed reading your post and looking at the pics. Glad you are back home safe and sound. Sounds like you had a great time.

  2. I have been waiting for these photos and comments. This is a trip few of us will be fortunate enough to experience.Your Diary brings a bit of it to us. Excellent.!

  3. The cars are just beautiful and look like something straight out of a Hollywood set. Enjoyed reading your narrative and seeing your photos. Look forward to more!

  4. Your post brings back wonderful memories: my ’57 Chevy convertible and the upside down cake my mother often baked when my aunts and uncles visited, sitting in the kitchen, having coffee “and”. :-)

  5. Wonderful pictures that brought me down memory lane. My parents surprised my brother, Joe, with a turquoise blue ’54 Chevy for his high school graduation in ’55. Around ’60, he replaced it with a it with a white Buick convertible (red interior) which was timely. I had my license!!! (It was such an attractive care that it was stolen from the driveway one day but quickly returned.) Thanks for the memories and the learning experience!

  6. Enjoyed reading about the cars. The pineapple upside down cake is an “oldie but goodie.” I’ll definitely have to resurrect it from my recipe box. It’s a delicious cake,

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