This gooey, peppery pound cake topped with caramelized pineapple has a hint of the tropics. The cake, developed by chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, goes terrifically with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
2 ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper ½ tsp. baking powder ½ tsp. baking soda ½ tsp. kosher salt 1 cup sugar 3 eggs 1 cup sour cream 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice 1 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Heat 8 tbsp. butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add brown sugar and cook, swirling often, until the sugar is melted and the mixture is bubbly, about 5 minutes. Immediately pour into a greased 9" cake pan and swirl to evenly coat the bottom. Arrange pecans, cherries, and pineapple on top of the brown sugar mixture.
2. In a bowl, whisk together flour, pepper, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In another bowl, beat remaining butter and sugar with a hand mixer until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add sour cream, juice, and vanilla, and beat, scraping down the sides and incorporating thoroughly, until smooth. Add dry ingredients, and beat until just combined. Pour batter into cake pan and smooth top with a rubber spatula; bake until golden brown and a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Transfer to a rack to cool for 8 minutes, and then run a sharp knife around edges to separate cake from pan. Invert onto a serving plate, and let cool completely before serving. Serve with ice cream, if you like.