July 18, 2013

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

I mentioned earlier in the summer that Julia and I were doing this thing where we draw activities out of a box, to see what the Fun! Summer! Activity! Yeehaw! of the day will be. This has largely been a Very Unsuccessful Enterprise, due to the fact that most of the activities require PLANNING and aren't good for spur of the moment. I'M NOT DOWN WITH THE ACTIVITY BOX. I think we would have been better off just having a list and looking to see what would fit best for the day, but I get that the pulling a surprise out of the box is more fun. Surprise! We're supposed to make jam! And we have no canning supplies! Kids have no understanding that certain things are not spur-of-the-moment. Julia is often very surprised when she asks to go to the library at 5:50pm, and I'm like, "WHAT? I'm making dinner! I asked if you wanted to go 2 hours ago, but you said you were going out to play?!"

Blank stare. No comprehension.

The other day, we drew "Make a cake" as the activity of the day. IT WAS A VERY HOT DAY, mind you and the last thing I wanted to do was turn on the oven. Usually Julia's very keen on kitchen assisting (she pretends she is hosting a kitchen show), but on this hot afternoon, the siren's call of a bathing suit and a neighbor kid's yard proved impossible to resist. So I was left holding the cake-making bag. I was not in a good mood at the end of this cake making endeavor.

My sad cake making on a hot day story had a very happy ending though, because my pineapple upside cake turned out BETTER THAN AWESOME, and I ask you, what is better than awesome?

I have to say, I've never been that big a fan of pineapple upside down cake. It just always seemed cloyingly sweet, and not to slam box mixes, but I think the only versions of this cake I had ever tried were crazy sweet box mix cakes with glazed pineapples and maraschino cherries on top. And why would someone want pineapple in a cake anyway? I grew up in the land of pineapples, and I hated them. I was great friends with papayas and guavas, but not pineapples. They stung my tongue.

(so why did you make a pineapple cake Melissa......)

It seemed summery! And I had always wanted to try the version found in 'The Silver Palate Good Times Book'. It had interesting ingredients like ginger and pureed pineapple in the cake, as well as a splash of rum. It seemed to have some DEPTH. So I decided to take a great leap of faith and make a cake that I had never really liked.

IT WAS BEYOND DELICIOUS. Eaten warm, it's one of the best cakes I've ever made! Eaten cool, it's utterly delightful. The moistness, you have no idea.

It was a Very Good Cake. Andrew, the non-cake eating person, ate it and also liked it. The second part of that sentence is key, because mostly he will just grudgingly eat cake and not like it. Julia LOVED it, after she had plucked off all the pineapple.

There's a nice brown sugar-butter ooze that collects around and in the pineapple slices. This ooze is tremendously yummy.

PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE ~via 'The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook'


6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons rum (I only used one tablespoon, and left out the rest)
1 can (20 oz) pineapple slices (packed in natural juice), drained but 1/2 cup juice reserved
12-15 pecan halves (i left these out)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the butter and pour into the bottom of a 9 inch round cake pan with at least 3 inch sides. (the recipe calls for a springform pan, which I did not use. the recipe says to place the pan on aluminum foil to get any leaks of butter that may come through. the cake came out my regular cake pan just fine.) Press the brown sugar evenly over the butter and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the rum (i left this part of the rum specified out). Arrange 7 of the pineapple slices over the brown sugar. Fill the spaces with the pecan halves. ( i omitted these) Set aside.

Cream the other 1 stick butter and granulated sugar in a mixer bowl. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in vanilla.

Puree the remaining 3 pineapple slices with 1 tablespoon rum in a blender or food processor fitted with a steel blade, and beat into the butter mixture.

Mix the flour, ginger, baking soda, and salt together. Beat into the butter mixture alternately with the reserved pineapple juice.

Pour the cake batter over the pineapple slices in the pan. Bake until the center of the cake springs back when touched, 30-35 minutes. NOTE: My oven needed WAY more time to cook this cake. My cake was nowhere close to done at this time frame. It took closer to 45-50 minutes.

While the cake is still hot, invert the cake onto a platter and remove the cake from the pan (or invert and remove the sides of the springform pan, if you are using that kind of pan.)

~8 portions

Happy Pineapple Day to you! This delightful cake would be fantastic at a summer gathering of some kind. Or you could just sit around at home eating it, like we did.


  1. This is a mouth-watering cake!!! Your pictures are so great that I am drooling right now. Darn it. I need to go home and bake that cake (>.<) Thanks for sharing your recipe!

    1. This was a great one! If you make it and love it, I accept tens and twenties as currency. tee hee :)

  2. Yummy! It looks delicious. I love the pineapple piece in the last picture.

    1. Thanks so much Silvia! It was very fluffy, and the cake had a lovely texture and rise to it.

  3. I admit, the first time I had pineapple upside down cake, I was skeptical, too. It was at a Pampered Chef party, and I had never been interested in tasting one, but I did, for the sake of the party. It was soooooo good. I really need to make one sometime, as the girls have never tried it. Pinning this for not-so-distant-future use!

    1. I don't know why I had such poor memories of this dessert. Maybe because I've historically been anti-pineapple. But this one here is a total winner. I'm not anti anymore!

      (I think even if I were making it for only adults, I would still leave out the full measure of rum called for. I'm not a huge rum cake fan. I think the 1 tablespoon I added to the pineapple puree was just the right touch.)

  4. I swear I just pinned a pear upside down cake and then opened you site to see this post. Weird! And I have this cookbook but have never opened it so maybe I should if there is such deliciousness to be found inside.

    1. You have the book??? It's one of my FAVORITES!!!!!! I think their apple crisp recipe is in that one, it's great. Also this garden tortellini salad, a bit of work with homemade mayo, but it is DIVINE. Also there are several apple chicken recipes. I LOVE THAT BOOK!

  5. We had pineapple upside down cake at our wedding. This recipe looks delicious. Maybe I should start making it annually for our anniversary? :)

    1. FUN Juju! I love whenever someone deviates from the standard white wedding cake routine...(nothing against white cake but sometimes that gets boring)