This soft and buttery cake with a topping of caramelized brown sugar pineapples and cherries is a delight for every sweet lover. When the cake is finished baking, it is inverted in one big flip in to a serving plate. The round pineapple slices with the cherry topping falls on the top of the cake giving a beautiful appeal to this dessert. This cake is a perfect addition to a holiday dessert table or to serve to your guests.
This cake was one of the most widely baked cake in American homes in mid 1930’s. It was initially baked in a cast iron skillet and was named as pineapple upside down skillet cake. Later as more standardized baking utensils became popular, people started baking it in round and square pans. You can read more about the history of pineapple upside down cakes here. April 20th is known as the National Pineapple Upside Down Cake Day.
I have adapted this cake recipe from here with a few modifications to suit our taste. I have used canned pineapples here as pineapples are not in season now. But you can use fresh pineapples to make this tasty cake. Make sure to wipe the extra juices on the pineapple rings before placing it on top of caramelized sugar. The excess juice can make the cake very wet. This is a very easy and delicious cake that can be baked at home without much effort. I baked this cake in a square glass pyrex dish. The view of pineapple juice bubbling on the sides of the cake while baking in the oven was a beautiful treat to the eyes…Serve this cake warm. How about a slice of this yummy pineapple upside cake with a dollop of vanilla icecream or whipped cream???
For the topping:
- Unsalted butter ¼ cup(55 gm)
- Brown sugar(light or dark) 3/4 cup (150gm)
- Pineapple slices drained and patted dry
- Maraschino cherries drained and patted dry
For the cake batter:
- All purpose flour 1½ cup
- Baking powder 1½ tsp.
- Salt 1/4 tsp.
- Unsalted butter softened to room temperature ½ cup(113 gm)
- Granulated Sugar ¾ cup +2 tbsp.(175 gm)
- Large eggs at room temperature 2
- Vanilla extract 1 tsp.
- Milk at room temperature ½ cup (120 ml)
- Preheat oven at 350 degree Fahrenheit, 10 minutes before baking. Butter an 8 inch square baking dish with a height of 2 inches.
Prepare the topping:
- In a saucepan, add butter and brown sugar. On a medium flame melt butter and sugar and mix until sugar is dissolved. Continue to cook it without stirring until bubbles start appearing on the sides of the pan. Switch off the flame. Pour this topping mixture in to the prepared baking dish. Place pineapple slices on top of the mixture as desired. Place Maraschino cherries in the center of the pineapple slices and in the sides as desired.
Prepare the cake batter:
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together all purpose flour, baking powder and salt.
- In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites using a hand whisk or hand mixer until firm peaks form.(When firm peaks are formed, you can invert the bowl without the egg whites falling down) Prepare the cake batter as explained below and fold the egg whites in to the batter as soon as possible as beaten egg whites will start to deflate while staying longer. Check Notes section for more tips.
- In a large bowl, using a hand mixer(or stand mixer), beat softened butter and sugar for 3 to 4 minutes until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides with a spatula as needed.
- Add the egg yolks one at a time and beat until well combined. Scrape down the sides in between.
- Add vanilla extract snd beat until combined.
- Add the flour mixture in three additions alternating with milk in two additions(starting and ending with flour mixture).
- Gently fold the beaten egg whites in to the batter using a spatula in two additions.
- Pour the cake batter on top of the pineapple slices in the baking dish and smooth the top. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until the toothpick inserted in to the center of the cake comes out clean.(Make sure not to insert the toothpick deep down in to the pineapple slices)
- Remove from oven and let it cool for about 10 minutes. Then flip the cake in to a serving plate with the caramelized pineapple slices on top. You can serve it warm(they tastes the best when it is warm) or once cooled.
- You can use fresh pineapples to make this cake. If your pineapples are very sweet, you may reduce the sugar used in topping mixture by 2 tbsp.
- You can place the pineapple slices and cherries for the topping as you wish. I used about 7 pineapple rings and 13 to 14 maraschino cherries.The pineapple pieces will shrink while baking, so you can place them as close to each other as possible and fill the gaps with cherries if you want the top of the cake to be covered completely.
- This cake can be baked in a 9 *2 inch round cake pan. If the height of the cake pan is less then 2 inch, the batter may overflow.
- You can bake this cake in a cast iron skillet too. In that case, you can prepare the topping mixture in the cast iron skillet on stovetop.Then prepare the cake batter and add it on top of the topping mixture and bake the cake in an oven preheated at 350 degree Fahrenheit.
- Fold the beaten egg whites to the cake batter as soon as possible as it will start to deflate leaving water while staying longer. Optionally you can use 1/4 tsp of cream of tartar or white vinegar while beating egg whites to stabilize it.