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Pineapple upside down cake

September 20, 2009

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Have you been able to pass any of your childhood toys onto your own kids?  Claudia has a doll highchair that I played with as a little girl.  She puts her stuffed animals in it mostly.  Maybe occasionally an actual doll.  (She is not terribly crazy about dolls.  Too girly.)  Mostly she likes to sit in it.  Now this high chair has been around a few decades and the wood is kind of dry and delicate, so my growing girl was putting a wee bit of strain on this.  Sure enough, she sat down one day and one of the legs broke in two.  Luckily, we have a very dear friend from church who kind of fills in for grandpa duty with my kids now and then, and he is pretty handy with woodworking projects.  He fixed up our little highchair as good as new, and I’m hoping it’ll be around long enough for Claudia’s own children to play with it.

To thank our friend, I made him his favorite cake – pineapple upside down cake.  I’ve made this in miniature lots of times using mini-muffin tins, but this is my first time baking the real thing.  It was actually more time-consuming than I expected, but I think it turned out well.  I followed the recipe from Joy of Baking with the exception of using canned pineapple instead of fresh.  I know lots of people use cherries too, but I like how it looks without them.  Can a cake look charming?  I kinda think it does.

Recipe:  Pineapple Upside Down Cake


4 Tbsp. unsalted butter

3/4 c. light brown sugar

1 medium pineapple, peeled, quartered, cored, & sliced  (or one large can of pineapple slices)

Cake Batter:

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature

1 c. granulated sugar

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs, separated

1/2 c. milk

1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter or spray a 9″ round cake pan.

Topping: Place 1/4 c. butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.  Continue cooking a few more minutes until the sugar begins to caramelize.  Remove from heat and pour into prepared pan.  Evenly arrange drained pineapple slices on the bottom of the pan.

Cake Batter: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.  In another bowl, with your electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Scrape down sides of bowl and then beat in the vanilla extract.  Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the flour mixture, in three additions, alternately with the milk, in two additions, ending with the dry ingredients.

In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar just until the whites hold a firm peak.  With a large spatula gently fold the beaten egg whites into the cake batter in two additions.  Pour the batter into the cake pan, smoothing the top.  Bake in preheated oven for 45-55 minutes, or until the top of the cake has browned and starts to pull away from the sides of the pan.   A toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean.  Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.  Run a sharp knife around the edge of pan and invert the cake onto your serving plate.

20 Comments leave one →
  1. September 20, 2009 9:48 am

    I definitely think that a cake can look charming and yours certainly does!

  2. September 20, 2009 11:31 am

    very charming, indeed! it’s making me drool!

  3. September 20, 2009 12:12 pm

    I agree, a cake can most definitely look charming! This looks delicious. I love pineapple, but haven’t had upside down cake since I was a kid when my mom threw me a “backwards” birthday party and everything was upside down or backwards, ha! We ate the upside down cake first :) Am definitely adding this to my to-do list!

  4. September 20, 2009 1:43 pm

    Aw, what a sweet gesture on both your parts. If someone gifted me with a home made cake I’d be grinning from ear to ear. And for the record, I’m pretty sure I mangled all my childhood toys to oblivion.

  5. September 20, 2009 3:25 pm

    Yes, Babygirl has a big bag of Barbies and clothes that were mine as well as few other toys. My mother has them and Babygirl plays with them when she goes over to visit. Oh, yeah, my 17yr old niece played with them first when she was little.

    I agree I think it looks much prettier without the cherries. While I like those cherries I’m sorta weirded out by the color of them.

  6. September 21, 2009 2:36 am

    I cant wait to pass on all my barbie stuff to my kids one day!

    Awesome that you have someone around like him to help fix thing and I am sure he loved the cake you made. It looks delicious. I love the look without the cherries.

  7. September 21, 2009 11:19 am

    classic. and by classic, i mean delicious, gorgeous, and elegant–nicely done! i can’t imagine a better thank you gift.

  8. September 21, 2009 11:24 pm

    A true classic cake. I have never made one and had wondered if they are difficult. Will have to try this out someday. I wish I have more hours in my day!

  9. September 22, 2009 9:22 am

    Ooo! It IS rather charming. I love pineapple upside down cake, but would you believe, I’ve never made it before. You’ve inspired me!

  10. September 22, 2009 10:40 am

    if somebody made this for me I’d love them forever…I used to have them when I was a kid.

  11. oneordinaryday permalink
    September 24, 2009 2:57 am

    junglefrog – Thank you!

    Steph – : )

    Amy – What a great idea to have a backwards bday party! Your mom is so creative!

    Irina – I think we both made out pretty well with our trade. I know I sure was happy!

    Ingrid – I agree about the cherries. I do use them when I do mini cakes, but on this one I wanted it to look less …. I don’t know….. tacky? {eek}

    Krystle – Thanks!

    Grace – Thank you. I kind of think it has a classic look to it too.

    Robin Sue – I’m always marveling at all the things you post! You’re superwoman!

    Sugar Duchess – I’ve never made the full-size version either – just a quick little mini kind. This was much more involved than those are, but I’m happy with how it turned out.

    oneshotbeyond – Well, I thank you kindly! : )

    ~ Michelle

  12. Amy permalink
    October 7, 2009 2:39 pm

    It’s in the oven right now! I’ll let you know the comments later!

  13. Amy permalink
    October 7, 2009 7:31 pm

    Well, you got A+ from all the comments! Thanks so much for a great recipe!

  14. oneordinaryday permalink
    October 7, 2009 11:35 pm

    Amy – That’s great! I’m very happy that you liked the cake. I actually didn’t even get to eat the one I made, but I got rave reviews too. : ) Thanks for coming back to let me know.
    ~ Michelle

  15. March 21, 2010 5:32 am

    I like that it just has pineapple in it and not cherries, though I do like those too. And yes, I think it can be charming too!

  16. Rebecca permalink
    September 13, 2010 4:13 pm

    Lovely photo! Mine is in the oven right now, and I will be sharing it with my neighbors soon, I’m sure! I followed the recipe with fresh pineapple as I had just bought a whole cored one and knew I’d never eat all before it went bad….looked on Tastespotting naturally, for recipe and yours was my fav. Add whole pecans between the pineapple pieces. Thanks so much for posting this classic!

  17. oneordinaryday permalink
    September 14, 2010 8:36 am

    Rebecca – How’d your cake turn out? I hope you loved it. I never actually got to taste the one I made, as it was sent to a friend, so I’d love to hear back from you. : )
    ~ Michelle

  18. Jade permalink
    March 4, 2011 10:15 pm

    I LOVED this cake… children loved this cake…..and my husband loved this cake. It was so moist and full of flavour. Thanks for sharing your time and recipes! This cake was worth going off the diet waggon for. I am picky about where I get recipes from, however I will not hesitate to use recipes from your site (this was the first I have tried from One Ordinary Day).

  19. oneordinaryday permalink
    March 5, 2011 6:09 pm

    Jade – Thank you for the nice comments! I’m glad you all liked the cake. The friend I made it for loved it too. Hope you keep visiting my blog and that I hear from you again. :)
    ~ Michelle


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