July 24, 2009

do i have to give titles?

when i was little my mom had this old black cast iron skillet that she used for absolutely everything - frying chicken, making gravy and even making cakes. in particular, one of my most favorite cakes - pineapple upside down cake. she would make sure that each pineapple ring had a bright red cherry in the middle and because we all loved cherries so much, she would place cherries inbetween the rings too. for the longest time, i thought pineapples always tasted vaguely of aluminum. imagine my surprise years later when i tasted fresh pineapple - the difference is just night and day.

which brings me to this recipe i got from smitten kitchen. if you decide to make it - go through the extra bit of expense and buy fresh pineapple. it's heaven when caramelized.

pineapple upside down cake

1/2 medium pineapple, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cored
3/4 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar (i used dark brown since that was on-hand - that's why my caramel is so dark)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon dark rum (i omitted the rum as i didn't have any on hand)
1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice

Preheat oven to 350°F. If you do not have a cast iron skillet, you can use a cake pan.

make topping: cut pineapple crosswise into 3/8-inch-thick pieces. Melt butter in skillet. Add brown sugar and simmer over moderate heat, stirring, four minutes. remove from heat. arrange pineapple on top of sugar mixture.

make batter: sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in granulated sugar. add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. beat in vanilla and rum. add half of flour mixture and beat on low speed just until blended. beat in pineapple juice, then add remaining flour mixture, beating just until blended. (batter may appear slightly curdled.)

quickie short-cut tip: you can use a butter cake box mix, just substitute pineapple juice for the water in the recipe. duncan hines moist butter cake is a good one.

spoon batter over pineapple topping and spread evenly. bake cake in middle of oven until golden and a tester comes out clean, about 45 minutes. let cake stand in skillet five minutes. invert a plate over skillet and invert cake onto plate (keeping plate and skillet firmly pressed together). replace any pineapple stuck to bottom of skillet. sprinkle rum over cake and cool on plate on a rack.
serve cake just warm or at room temperature.

in other news....i received the cutest handmade birthday card from elk today and it just brightened my day tremendously. thank you my friend - that was the sweetest thing. they say that friends are the family we pick instead of the family we're born with....i'm so proud she picked me.

and yes...the first bite of the cake took me back to summery days of cake, hopscotch, and running through the sprinklers.

ps - i'm guesthosting at laura's today if you want to take a peek.


  1. i am not a fan of tinned pineapple, and have never liked deserts made with it. but of course fresh pineapple is gorgeous (have you ever tried it with just fresh mint and sugar sprinkled over?) and i think i might have to give this a go

  2. Char, that looks devine! every time I try to make it in my cast iron skillet, the topping always sticks to the pan. Maybe I'll try your recipe and see if it works better.

    I love vanilla ice cream on top while the cake is still a little bit warm. Mmmmmmmm!

  3. pineapple upside down cake is my favorite! i can't wait to try this recipe! i'll let you know how it turned out.

  4. I love this cake flavor! And Char, that last photo is divine. Have a beautiful Saturday.

  5. Summery days of hopscotch and running through the sprinklers ... weren't those days just perfect?

  6. Mmm, look at all that butter and the caramelized bits! It's funny what reminds us of our childhood, isn't it?

  7. Yes//titles! :-)

    Oh I am going to try this recipe

    another good upside down cake is Peaches, Brown Sugar, and slices of butter..then pour the yellow cake batter on top of that. I throw some vanilla and cinnamon into the mix too

  8. seriously...is that cookbook of yours being worked on yet :)

    I hear that barnes and noble would love to have yours on their shelves !

  9. yum...I'm taking this recipe over to uk when I visit family at xmas.
    My Mum too has one of those cast iron frying pans she used for everything...I think she's LOVE this!
    Thanks for posting...and for your sweet comments about the Mural I just finished.
    Have a lovely weekend.

  10. Wonderful guest post sweetie! Thanx again xoxo

  11. i am for sure going to make this cake!

  12. Why do you do this to me??? WHY!? This is one of my favs. Caramelized pineapple...*swoon*. I may have to get my lazy butt in gear and make this.

  13. This cake is my Grandpa's favorite. My Mom always makes it for him on his birthday. I love smittenkitchen and how she photographs everything. Her recipes always look so good too, no matter what it is!

  14. Oh yeah sweetheart, you and me could do some damage in a kitchen... oh but the rewards.
    : )

  15. You know, I love pineapple but have never even tried pineapple upside down cake! I'm going to have to make this.

  16. I love pineapple. Why ever in the world did they name it that though? And who is they?

  17. i never really like pineapple upside down cake when i was growing up, always wanted chocolate. But i like it now and this one sounds delicious!! love fresh pineapple.

  18. My mouth is just watering.......
    I feel five pounds coming on just looking at this! The problem with living alone is that if I make these things, I can't stop myself from eating them! All of them, In 2 days!

    So I'll content myself with looking & imagining!

  19. OH GOD!!! pineapple upside down cake!!! i have not had that in years, and it sounds divine!!!

    and you are so right -- there is nothing like fresh pineapple. i like to buy it and let it sit in my very warm kitchen for several days until the whole kitchen smells like pineapple. i think this is giving it time to ferment and ripen, til it is so sweet and yellow and juicy you could almost die. trust me, it would be a good way to go!

    hope you are having a great sunday. :)

  20. Oh this recipe brings back such memories. The lady that helped to take care of us made this cake or her devils food cake with fudge icing for us on special occassions. I can taste it now and it's been a while since I've had any.
    Happy Twirls

  21. Pineapple upside down cake was my father's favorite. Mom made it for his birthday cake. (and other times in the year, too) Any time I eat a piece now it's always Daddy's birthday!

  22. I do recall those heavy skillets. Use to have one. Have no idea what happened to it though.

  23. Yum!
    That looks delish~ I'll take mine with a scoop of ice cream.

  24. how sweet is miss elk? too sweet! love that card!

    and i love love love pineapple upside down cake. yums! thanks for a recipe that looks pretty good! i think i will have to try this one.

    off to check the guest post now.

  25. My mother often made pineapple upside down cake...with canned pineapple...this looks many time better! Wonderful photos too...good enough to eat:)


i feel as if each comment was between us as we sat and sipped something warm....i love to hear what you're thinking.