Sunday, April 1, 2012

pineapple upside-down cake

I have been craving this cake for weeks! WEEKS! And holy hell it was good! It's a good thing I decided to share and made three small cakes instead of one big one, because I totally would have eaten most of this recipe all by myself.

I'm not sure I have ever made an upside-down pineapple cake before, but in my head, it was so much more complicated than in reality! I think it might be why I waited so long to make it after the craving struck. Really, the hardest part is waiting for the butter to soften.

I combined two recipes and made three six-inch round cakes.

The first component of this cake is the butter sugar mixture that will turn into beautifully gooey glaze when baked with the pineapple and melt into the cake. Some recipes called for boiling the sugar and butter together, but I went with a recipe adapted from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home that called for creaming butter, brown sugar, honey, and vanilla together. The original recipe called for dark rum too, and if I had had some, I would have added some, but all I could find was rye... For some reason, I don't think that would have worked. And instead of vanilla extract, I scraped half a vanilla bean in the mixture. I love the look of the tiny vanilla seeds all over the pineapples!

The cake part is just as simple. I didn't even wash the mixer bowl... just creamed butter and the sugars in that same mixing bowl, added eggs, then alternately added the dry ingredients and the milk/pineapple juice. Spread that over the pineapple, and bake.

I strongly recommend adding a baking sheet under the cake pans in case it boils over. Will save you from having to clean the oven, and air out the kitchen!

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

For the pan schmear
Recipe adapted from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home via Jun-blog

8 Tbsp (1stick, 4 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 tbsp honey
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp scraped vanilla bean seeds
pinch kosher salt

12 pineapple rings, juice reserved

For the cake
Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup reserved pineapple juice
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease three 6-inch cake pans. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, combine the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla seeds and salt and beat until smooth and well blended. Divide the mixture between the cake pans, and spread evenly over the bottom.

Arrange pineapple rings over the butter mixture.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. In the same bowl used to make the butter-sugar mixture, beat softened butter, granulated sugar, and 1/2 cup brown sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Add eggs; beat until combined. On low speed, beat in half the flour mixture. Pour in reserved 1/2 cup pineapple juice and the milk; beat until combined. Beat in remaining flour mixture and vanilla.

Spread batter carefully atop pineapple slices in pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. (If you invert the coffee cake too soon, the pineapple rings may stick to pan.) Place a serving tray or baking sheet over coffee cake; carefully invert. If any pineapple sticks to pan, gently replace on cake top.

I'm pretty sure that this cake could be made in a 9x13 pan instead of the three smaller pans. Just be sure you have people to share this cake with if you bake it that way... or else you might end up eating way more of this cake than you intended! 


  1. Ok, now I'm craving this!

    I'm going to have to make this...maybe for Easter.


  2. That looks so delicious! Soft spongy cake soaked with pineapple syrup...I can almost taste it! I'll definitely try this.

  3. I love the idea of three mini cakes - they're so pretty. Looks delicious :)

  4. It looks so retro but so pretty. I envision they were serving this up in th 70's with glace cherries! I love that sticky caramel texture where the pineaplle juice and sugars combine with the cake mixture...yum!

  5. I wish I could pin the pics! It wont let me but I bookmarked it for myself!!!

  6. @Dawn, fixed the pinning problem! pin away :)

  7. this is excellent. i love the glaze.. and the vanilla bean seeds really do add a lovely touch to the taste and aroma. mind if i share your recipe on my blog?

    1. Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to share, but note the recipe source, as this is not my recipe :)

    2. thanks! - have linked you up at and u can see my version of the cake there ;)


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