Classic Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Home Ec class, circa 1970. Our teacher, Mrs. Talbot, handed out mimeographed recipes for Pineapple Upside Down Cake. Exotic! We donned our aprons, made in the sewing class she taught, and organized the ingredients. Our class was the giggly kind but, today, the giggles were replaced by intrigue and excitement. Learning how to make a cake from scratch!
I don’t think I had ever eaten a Pineapple Upside Down Cake before this class but now, I was hooked. The cloying topping of brown sugar and butter melding into the canned pineapple rings sang “Hawaii,” a place we all dreamed of going. The extra juices seeped into the velvety-textured white cake. We devoured the cake and couldn’t wait to try it at home.
My best girlfriend and I went on a Pineapple Upside Down Cake binge, making it monthly, always adding more brown sugar to the topping to satisfy our sweet tooth. It was addicting.
Last year I tried to re-create the old school recipe and could only find modern versions. Then, when sorting recipes, I found this one I had cut out from the Riverside Press Enterprise in 1991 and eureka! I hit the mother lode. Making this again brought back so many happy memories of high school friends, how we loved our Home Ec class and the teacher we made fun of, but secretly really admired and respected. Cheers to a classic!
- 1 20 oz. can pineapple slices
- Maraschino cherries
- ¼ Cup unsalted butter
- ½ Cup light brown sugar
- pecan halves
- 3 egg yolks
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1½ Cups cake flour, sifted
- ¾ Cup sugar
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 9 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Drain pineapple slices and cherries on paper towels to absorb extra moisture.
- Melt ¼ cup butter in a 10” cast iron skillet
- Stir in brown sugar and remove from heat.
- Place a pineapple ring in the center of the sugar mixture and assemble pineapple rings to surround the center ring. Place a cherry in the middle of each ring. Tuck pecan halves inbetween slices.
- Combine egg yolks, 2 Tablespoons of the sour cream and vanilla in a small bowl.
- In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix together.
- Add butter and remaining sour cream. Mix until dry ingredients are moistened. Beat for a minute or two.
- Add egg mixture in thirds, beating between each addition.
- Batter will look silky.
- Pour batter carefully over pineapple slices and spread evenly.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cake should be deep brown on top.
- Invert immediately onto a cake plate. Let rest for a minute to release the cake. If some of the pineapple rings stick to the bottom of the pan, simply pick them up and place them on the cake.
- Cool or eat warm. It has just the right amount of sweetness and the top edges form crispy, sugary bites.
“One should never save cake for later when it can be eaten now.”
― Marissa Meyer, Winter
Ciao for now!