Covid Baking Provides a New Challenge

Why pine away in loneliness when you can bake an upside down pineapple cake? Baking provides a creative outlet and the time alone has provided many people a chance to try it.

By Allison Horkey

On instagram, #coronabaking has over 12,500 posts, #covidbaking has over 13,500 posts, and #quarantinebaking has over 123,000 posts. Recently recipe blogs have posted good recipes for “quaran-time.” A few weeks ago, the southside Walmart in Rapid City wasn’t only out of toilet paper, but flour. There seems to be renewed intrigue in baking across the nation.

I’ve enjoyed baking since I was pretty young, but trying new things can be really intimidating. I have only baked an actual cake once because I’m so afraid of messing it up. However, between being cooped up inside all day and binge watching The Great British Baking Show on Netflix, all I want to do is try new recipes. After stumbling upon a picture on Instagram of a beautiful pineapple upside down cake (posted under #covidbaking), I had found my inspiration. I’ve eaten pineapple upside down cake a total of one, single time in my life, and it was excellent. So with my spare time I set out to make one.

upside down pineapple cake slice

Baking used to be essential in households, but as a society we have become disconnected from things like baking and cooking meals, because it takes time and as we grow it seems like the time that households have to cook and bake decreases. However, researches at the University of Otago claim that there are mental health benefits to creative activities  like “making new recipes,” which have a correlation to an increase in “enthusiasm and higher flourishing.” Flourishing is described as “increasing positive growth in oneself.” It’s easy to see why more people would be taking comfort in baking now than before, they have more time at home and who wouldn’t want their house to smell like freshly baked cookies while they’re stuck at home?

upside down pineapple cake in process 1As my first time baking a pineapple upside down cake, I’m happy it came out as well as it did. The topping was carmely and fruity, with the simple yet classic colors of the baked pineapples and maraschino cherries creating the complimentary tastes of the sweet pineapple and brown sugar lying on a soft bed of cake. The cake itself was light and maybe a little bit denser than an average cake with the taste of cinnamon dancing throughout.

Pineapple upside down cake is almost as old as canned pineapple itself and I think there is a bit of that old fashioned, vintage taste in the cake that refuses to be separated from it. There are old movies and books that refuse to be forgotten and recipes are the same way. Maybe there was one passed down through your family, or found in an old magazine, or just looked up online but it has old roots, in any case, baking is a way we can connect with ourselves and others, especially in times like these. There are communities on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and probably just about everywhere else that are waiting for you to join them. Baking can escape the boundaries of the past and cross borders. There are comforts we can take in exploring ourselves and our kitchens, while we wait for the world to start up again.

If you’re up for the challenge, here is the recipe for upside down pineapple cake.