Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tropical Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Most people have probably seen and eaten Pineapple Upside Down Cake once or twice in their life. You know, the American icon made with canned pineapple and maraschino cherries. The one where you melt sugar and butter in a cake pan before adding the fruit and then topping it with cake batter before baking it. The same one that once baked you invert the hot sugary mess onto a serving platter all the while trying not to burn yourself. 

The cake itself originated in the 1920's when Jim Dole decided to increase canned pineapple production immensely and pineapple recipes appeared to be at an all time high. Magazines and cookbooks held contests to come up with new and innovative recipes and the Pineapple Upside Down Cake has held a place in the American culture ever since. As with everything food related, it appears that this cake has gone through it's fair share of ebbs and flows but many people view it to this day as comfort food.

I found this recipe in "Cake Keeper Cakes" where the original recipe called for mango. My grocery store unfortunately only had sad looking mangoes, that weren't even on sale so I decided to go with fresh pineapple instead. I thought that the tartness of the fresh pineapple would lend a wonderful contrast to the sweetness of the topping. Dark rum, coconut, and macadamia nuts add more tropical flair and flavor to this cake which a traditional Pineapple Upside Down Cake is sometimes lacking. 

The cake is made quickly, and while it is not the most photogenic cake out there, it is certainly very tasty. My family loved the twist on an old-fashioned favorite and enjoyed eating it warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. This is a great cake that can be easily made for a last minute dessert and I'm adding this to my ever so growing recipe file.

Tropical Pineapple Upside Down Cake

For the Topping:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons dark rum
1/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1/3 cup unsalted macadamia nuts, finely chopped
1 fresh pineapple, cut into chunks

For the Cake:
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, separated
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
6 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Make the topping: Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a 9-inch round nonstick cake pan and dust with flour.

Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat until foaming. Whisk in the brown sugar, turn the heat to low, and cook, whisking, for 2 minutes. Stir in the rum. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and tilt to cover the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the coconut and macadamia nuts over the sugar mixture. Arrange the pineapple slices on top. Set aside.

Make the cake: Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. 

In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until they just hold stiff peaks. Transfer to another bowl.

Place the egg yolks and granulated sugar in the large mixing bowl (no need to wash it) and beat on medium-high speed until pale yellow and increased in volume, about 5 minutes. Mix in the lime zest, milk, and vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture until smooth. Gently fold the whipped egg white into the batter.

Pour the batter over the pineapple, gently spreading it into an even layer with a spatula. Place cake pan on baking sheet.*

Bake until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let stand for 5 minutes.

Holding the pan and plate together firmly with oven mitts, immediately invert the hot cake onto the plate. If necessary, replace any fruit stuck to the bottom of the pan. Let the cake cool for 20 minutes and serve warm, or serve at room temperature.
Store uneaten cake in a cake keeper at room temperature, or warp loosely in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 2 days.

* This was not in the directions, but I'm glad I did this as I would have had a terrible sugary mess in my oven otherwise since it bubbled over the sides of the cake pan.

Adapted from: Cake Keeper Cakes


  1. That sounds delicious. I love the addition of the lime zest in the batter.

  2. I have never made and never eaten an upside down cake. I like that you used fresh pineapples, they taste so much better. The cake looks very tasty to me. Thanks.

  3. Pineapple upside down cake was part of our Sunday dinner ritual when I was a child. You've taken yours considerably uptown and it looks delicious. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  4. This looks delicious with the coconut addition! What a great version of it that I will have to try. The history is interesting with Jim Dole. There's nothing like pineapple!

  5. I love pineapple upside down cake, so I know I'd love this!

  6. I made this yesterday to take to a party, and it was a big hit! I wasn't able to fit all the batter into my cake pan, and I filled it up to the top, but it didn't spill over (I had used a baking sheet underneath just in case). Delicious cake, and I was told to make it again. Thanks!

  7. Stacy - I'm so glad everyone enjoyed the cake! It went fast here as well!


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