One of my daughters birthday came up this week, and one of our family traditions is that I will make them any cake they ask for. Well, I will attempt, and do an heroic job of trying to make whatever cake they ask for. point of fact, the strawberry jello cake that is all too popular in the Southern United States was a complete disaster, and I would be ashamed to claim it except for the fact that i think I totally nailed it and got it spot on. It’s just a terrible cake. (Ok, to be fair, maybe I missed something that would make it perfect; if so, please leave a comment on whatever you think I am missing).
Ok, I got distracted. Back to the Pineapple Upside Down goodness.
I am an odd duck on some of my food opinions. And that is ok, everyone has their style. I like pineapple. I love Pineapple Upside Down cake. I absolutely hate, despise, and dislike pineapple on pizza. Yeah, I’m that guy.
Anyway, my daughter this week said she wanted Pineapple Upside Down Cake for her birthday. I was willing. So we made it, and it turned out well. The only issue was the candles. We served it warm, because it is wonderful that way, and the candles kept melting. We ended up having to stuff them in quick, light them, sing fast, and blow them out before they fell over. Well, before they fell over again.
As for the cake, a few years ago we were looking for a great pineapple upside down cake recipe. My friends call me a Food Snob, because I like things to be just right. usually i look up recipes on the Internet and end up combining a few, tweaking a bit, and coming up with what i think would make an excellent recipe. I then make it, tweak it, make it, tweak it, until I love it.
What I found was a Truly Great Pineapple Upside Down Cake Recipe. It was not too sweet, not too dense, and had great flavor. We have since made it at least a dozen times, and mostly use their recipe (with a few minor tweaks). It always gets rave reviews, and is good warm from the oven (give it at least 15 minutes or you will burn every last taste bud; it’s really that hot). It is also good the next day, room temperature, or refrigerated, etc. It’s just plain good any way you eat it.
Get out your 12 inch Cast Iron skillet.Everyone should have a Cast Iron Skillet. They are really good to work with, and fairly inexpensive, and other than the potential rust thing, you can practically never ruin them (just boil water in them and scrape them out, NEVER use soap, and put a thin layer or Crisco on them before you put them away. They will last forever).
Make the caramel topping. Put the brown sugar and butter into the skillet on medium heat. Once the butter and sugar begin to melt, gently stir until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is bubbly. Arrange pineapple rings in a single layer on top of the caramel mixture, and half rings along the sides (one can not have too much pineapple in this recipe!). Feel free to push the rings into the caramel a bit, just don’t burn yourself.
Preheat the oven. Stir together the flours, ground almonds, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
Now in your mixer, beat the sugar and butter together until light (you want it incorporated well, and a light yellow color, but try not to over mix it or the cake’s texture won’t be as fluffy – aim for a little past where this photo is, when it has all come together).
Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition, just until they are mixed in, then beat in the vanilla. It will look like the batter is coming apart a little, but if you keep going it will come back together.
This is what it will look like after all the eggs are in. Now add dry ingredients alternately with sour cream (I do flour, sour cream, flour, sour cream, flour), beating just until mixed after each addition.
Pour cake batter over caramel and pineapple in skillet.
Bake cake until tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool cake in skillet for 15 minutes. (Who are we kidding? It won’t be cool in 15 minute, but it will no longer be Napalm either).
Turn cake out onto a platter. The easiest way is to use good hot pads, put the platter upside down over the skillet, hold them together, and flip away from you). Serve warm or you can try to wait longer and serve at room temperature, but ours never lasts that long.
Oh, and If you are allergic to almonds, you can try substituting another five tablespoons of all purpose flour instead. But don’t do it unless you really must. The almonds give it a hint of nutty goodness.
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup butter
- 1½ cans pineapple rings 20 oz cans
- 1½ cups all purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons cake flour
- 6 tablespoons ground almonds or almond flour
- ¾ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoons salt
- 1¾ cups sugar
- 1 cup butter (two sticks) slightly softened or room temperature
- 4 eggs
- ¾ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¾ cup sour cream
- Get out your 12 inch Cast Iron skillet. Make the caramel topping by putting the brown sugar and butter into the skillet on medium heat. Once the butter and sugar begin to melt, gently stir until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is bubbly. Arrange pineapple rings in a single layer on top of the caramel mixture, and half rings along the sides.
- Preheat oven to 325° F. Stir the flours, ground almonds, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
- In your mixer, beat the sugar and butter together until light. (you want it incorporated well, and a light yellow color, but try not to over mix it or the cake's texture won't be as fluffy)
- Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. It will look like the batter is coming apart a little, but if you keep going it will come back together.
- Add dry ingredients alternately with sour cream, beating just until mixed after each addition.
- Pour cake batter over caramel and pineapple in the skillet.
- Bake cake until tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool cake in skillet for 15 minutes.
- Turn cake out onto a platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.