Three years ago, I finally made good on a proposal to get some of my best girlfriends together for an all-girls weekend. Last year I chose a beautiful home in the heart of the Oregon wine country. For one weekend a year, we abandon our busy lives, spouses and kids to share lots of laughter, long walks, great food and camaraderie. I even hired a yoga instructor!
For women, it is sometimes hard to allow ourselves the luxury to just relax and be ourselves with no one else to take care of. We are professionals, wives and mothers. We are volunteers, caretakers and homemakers. We take great pride in our accomplishments, sometimes with little or no recognition. Even with the help of a hardworking, supportive partner, we know the “ship” would not run straight without us.
My girlfriends mean the world to me. I can always count on them to be there for me during the good times and the bad. No one understands what it means to be a woman better than a good girlfriend. We share secrets, ask advice, boost confidence and tell the truth when that blouse is definitely the WRONG color!
Plans are beginning to come together for this year’s third annual all-girls weekend. Last year it was wine country, but maybe this year we’ll visit the Oregon Coast or find a log cabin in the woods where we can come together and celebrate what it means to be a girl. The food is always a highlight of the trip. Everyone brings something to add to the party, and together we have created some amazing meals. Last year, Traci made a pineapple upside down cake that made us swoon! This vintage dessert brings back sweet memories of childhood. Fragrant pineapple surrounded by warm buttery caramel and classic yellow sponge cake. We happily devoured every bite!
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
½ cup butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 (20-ounce) can pineapple OR 2½ cups fresh pineapple (sliced or crushed)
10 maraschino cherries, halved
1 cup sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon almond extract
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Melt ½ cup butter in a 10-inch, oven-proof skillet over very low heat. Remove from heat and sprinkle brown sugar evenly over pan. Arrange pineapple to cover bottom of skillet. Distribute cherries (I used Luxardo maraschino cherries) around pineapple, set aside. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Separate the eggs into two bowls. In a large bowl, beat egg whites just until soft peaks form. Add white sugar gradually, beating well after each addition. Beat until medium-stiff peaks form. In a small bowl, beat egg yolks at high speed until very thick and pale yellow. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold egg yolks and flour mixture into whites until blended. Fold in 1 tablespoon melted butter and almond extract. Spread batter evenly over pineapple in skillet. Bake until surface springs back when gently pressed with fingertip and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes. Loosen the edges of the cake with a table knife. Cool the cake for 5 minutes before inverting onto serving plate. Garnish with few bright red maraschino cherries if desired.