Thursday, April 1, 2010

My Grandma's Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

My aunt passed on this family recipe to me, relating that her mother (my pateral grandmother) used to make this cake for her family of six kids. Ever since the same aunt bought me a deep cast-iron skillet for Christmas and gave me this heirloom recipe, I have been itching to make it.

This week finally I tried it out, using what I happened to have in my pantry, including a white cake mix. I know it would probably be about twice as good if I'd made it from scratch, but it was still tasty indeed.

The pineapple slices kind of slid around in the baking process and if you're wondering why I didn't add more fruit, it looked full before I added the batter! I think it would be fun to use cherries, nuts or coconut in addition to the pineapple.
We just loved the thick, caramelized topping. Yum!

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake (in Cast Iron Skillet)

Trader Joe’s has a good vanilla cake mix that works as a substitute for the dry ingredients. Just mix  1/4 cup pineapple juice in with 3/4 cup milk in place of the 1 cup of milk it calls for.

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
5 eggs 1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
One can pineapple slices in juice
Buttermilk (or sour milk made with lemon juice and milk works fine) plus juice from drained pineapple to make 1 1/4 cup liquid
Maraschino cherries, halved (optional)
Chopped nuts (optional)

½ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar

Cream white sugar and butter together. Add eggs and vanilla, beat until smooth. In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Alternate adding the buttermilk/pineapple juice mixture and the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture until mixed without lumps.

Put ½ cup butter and 1 cup brown sugar in a cast iron skillet. Heat on stove top over medium heat until bubbling. Then reduce heat while bubbling softly and thickening slightly, about 3 minutes total. Don’t burn the sugar/butter mixture. Turn off and lay drained pineapple slices decoratively on top. (Add cherries or nuts if desired.) Pour batter over slices. Bake at 350 for about 35-40 minutes until done. Let cake rest for 10 minutes and invert cake. Leave upside down for a minute or so. Lift pan.


  1. Mmm...yummy pineapple:) BTW, I have a question for a potential post as well... Laurel and I were talking about making cornbread from scratch (i.e. my ground-up corn)and seeing as you're the expert on food, do you have a recipe for homemade cornbread from scratch?

  2. Ah man... this makes me want to buy an iron cast skillet. It looks way too good!


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