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Pineapple Upside Down Cake

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    Pineapple Upside Down Cake on a plate and a cake stand.

    Pineapple cake was something that my husband had requested from me and was longing to eat, for a long, long time. Maybe that statement would make me seem like I’m not the best wife. However, he definitely knows that I’m not much of a baker…so I kind of ignored his sentiment.


    Pineapple Upside Down Cake on a plate and a cake stand.

    Last month when I saw Vivianne’s Pineapple Upside-down Cake recipe on her blog Green Cilantro, I knew the time has come! My husband was really excited when I told him about my attempt. He even came to check on how I was doing in the kitchen several times (or maybe he was worried about his cake).

    Despite a few moments of “panic” mode (details are in the recipe instruction), I think I did really well. I am not a baker, but I do have a sweet tooth and have ate more than my share of sweets. The cake turned out to be delicious. Vivianne did not include all the caramel syrup in her recipe being worried that it might be too sweet, but I actually pour it all in. It was not as sweet as I thought it was going to be. My husband and children loved it as well and requested to have dessert after every meal as long as there are still pieces of the cake left.

    If you are not a baker like me, I would say this is “doable” for a beginner baker. Just read about my panic moment below so you won’t panic like me. 😉  Enjoy!

    Pineapple Upside Down Cake on a plate with fork.

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    Pineapple Upside Down Cake
    Pineapple Upside Down Cake
    Prep Time
    30 mins
    Cook Time
    1 hr
    Total Time
    2 hrs 30 mins
    Simple instructions on how to make a delicious pineapple upside down cake from scratch with fresh pineapple. 
    Course: Dessert
    Cuisine: American
    Keyword: pineapple cake, upside down cake
    Servings: 1 9-inch cake
    Author: Namiko Chen
    • 1 pineapple
    • ¾ cup sugar (¾ cup = 150 g)
    • ½ cup water (½ cup = 120 g)
    • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter (6 Tbsp = ¾ stick or 86 g) (softened)
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour (plain flour) (140 grams) (I used unbleached)
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • ¼ tsp kosher/sea salt (I use Diamond Crystal; Use half for table salt)
    • 2 large eggs (50 g each w/o shell) (at room temperature)
    • 3 large egg yolks (at room temperature)
    • 1 cups sugar (1 cup = 200 g)
    • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
    • ½ cup unsalted butter (½ cup = 1 stick or 114 g) (melted and cooled)
    1. Gather all the ingredients.

      Pineapple Upside Down Cake Ingredients
    2. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 9-inch round cake pan.
      Pineapple Upside Down Cake 9
    3. Peel, halve, and core the pineapple, then cut into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Cut the slices in half. I used pineapple slicer, which cores and slices an entire pineapple.
      Pineapple Upside Down Cake 1
    4. Put 3/4 cup (150 grams) of the sugar and the water in a medium saucepan and mix well so the sugar is moistened.
      Pineapple Upside Down Cake 2
    5. Place the pan over high heat and leave it undisturbed. The liquid starts to boil slowly for the first minute or two, and then it will boil rapidly after that. DO NOT TOUCH the pan until the sugar syrup starts to caramelize from the edge of the pan like below.
      Pineapple Upside Down Cake 3
    6. When you see dark color syrup around the edge of the pan (above right), gently swirl the pan in a circular motion so the sugar caramelizes evenly. Keep swirling gently until the caramel is a medium golden brown (sorry I was busy making sure the caramel won’t be too dark and couldn’t take the picture).
    7. When it’s medium golden brown, turn down the heat to the lowest and whisk in the 6 Tbsp. butter. Quickly mix well and be careful for splutter.
      Pineapple Upside Down Cake 4
    8. Carefully add the pineapple and stir until it is coated with the caramel. Here at this moment, I panicked. Caramel started to harden and I couldn’t “stir”! I thought I ruined the whole thing… But don't panic - the caramel will become liquid again once you heat it up and the pineapple will also release juice (see next step).
      Pineapple Upside Down Cake 5
    9. Turn up the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. By this time you see caramel is re-liquefying already. Then turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the pineapple turns golden brown.
      Pineapple Upside Down Cake 6
    10. Using a fork, transfer the pineapple to a plate.
      Pineapple Upside Down Cake 7
    11. Continue to boil the remaining caramel on medium-high heat for few minutes, or until thick and syrupy.
      Pineapple Upside Down Cake 8
    12. Arrange the pineapple in concentric circles in the prepared pan. Make sure to fill in any gaps at bottom of the pan with smaller pieces. My pineapple was just large enough to cover the bottom (so don’t eat your pineapple until you finish this step!). If you have extra pineapple, you can do double layers. Then pour the caramel syrup on top.
    13. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
      Pineapple Upside Down Cake 11
    14. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs and egg yolks until blended, then slowly beat in the remaining 1 cup (200 grams) sugar, the vanilla, and the 1/2 cup melted butter. Using a rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture until it's completely mixed.
      Pineapple Upside Down Cake 12
    15. Pour the batter evenly over the pineapple in the cake pan. Tap the pan gently on a counter top to get rid of any air bubbles in the batter.
      Pineapple Upside Down Cake 13
    16. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. If it becomes golden brown too quickly and not done baking yet, cover with aluminum foil so it doesn't burn. The cake is ready when you insert a skewer in the center of the cake and it comes out clean (batter free). Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 30 minutes.

    17. Place a serving plate upside down on top of the cake pan, then holding the pan and the plate tightly together, invert them quickly (but carefully). Lift off the cake pan. If some of the pineapple are stuck to the pan, remove them and place them back on top of the cake. Let the cake cool for at least another 30 minutes, then serve warm or at room temperature.
    18. The cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
    Recipe Notes

    Adapted from Green Cilantro, originally from Joanne Chang's Flour.


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