Perfect Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
I love fresh pineapple! The best part about my infatuation is that pineapple is really nutritious and also reduces inflammation and pain.*
Years ago I found a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated magazine for Pineapple Upside-Down Cake that made a big enough cake to fit a 10-inch cast iron frying pan. This recipe, with some simple adjustments in sweetening, works well with any fruit upside down cake. I thought I had posted this recipe on our site a long time ago and was surprised when I couldn’t locate it. I also couldn’t find the recipe in my personal recipe collection. (Turns out it was there, just hiding in plain sight.)
Panic mode struck. I did not want to lose the recipe. I finally located a “best of” recipe from Cook’s Illustrated and made the cake. I quickly realized that it wasn’t right. So back to searching. In the process I found the original recipe I wanted, another interesting variation on the cake and my original recipe.
Out of the search and with my changes, a new version of Pineapple Upside Down cake emerged. The PERFECT Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. When you make this recipe, I think you’ll agree that it’s special.
I personally far prefer fresh pineapple to canned but, if canned is what you like, go ahead. You can slice the pineapple however you choose. I like lots of pineapple and cram every nook and cranny with it. Add Maraschino cherries if you like. Or walnuts — or both. I like the addition of rum. I had golden rum and the flavor didn’t carry through as well as I think dark rum will.
Finally, the cake I made is gluten-free. I’ve added the adjustments to make it gluten-free if you wish. I served it warm with lightly sweetened whipped cream.
- 1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour**
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/3 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 3 tablespoons cornmeal (I like polenta grind but use what you like)
- 1/2 teaspoon Rain's Choice ground vanilla bean powder
- 1/2 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 large eggs, room temperature and separated
- 2 teaspoons Rain's Choice pure vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup pineapple juice or
- 1/2 cup pineapple juice and 2 tablespoons
- dark rum
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- Approximately 3 cups of pineapple slices cut
- into 3/8-inch thick slices (they don't have to be perfectly even)
- 2 tablespoons dark rum (optional)
- 1 10-inch cast iron skillet
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Melt the butter in the skillet over medium heat. Add the brown sugar until the butter and sugar are well combined and slightly caramelized. Remove from heat and arrange the pineapple however you choose in the pan. Set aside.
- Whisk flour, baking powder, cornmeal salt and vanilla powder together in a medium bowl and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, cream the butter. Slowly add the sugar and beat for about 2 minutes, or until it's light and fluffy. Beat in the yolks, one at a time and add vanilla.
- Add the dry mixture and liquid, alternating in 3 batches. If you are using single-acting baking powder, whip the egg whites first, then blend the dry and liquid ingredients.
- In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold ¼ of the egg whites into the batter until well combined. Add the remaining egg whites and fold into batter until no white streaks remain. Pour batter evenly into the cake pan, and bake until top is golden brown and cake tester comes out clean (about 60 minutes).
Remove cake from oven and let it rest for 10 minutes. Slide a flat spatula or knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Place a serving platter face down on top of the cake and, while holding securely, invert the cake onto the platter. Carefully remove the pan, and replace any pieces of pineapple that stuck in the pan.
Sprinkle rum over warm cake if using.
Serve warm or room temperature plain or with lightly sweetened whipped cream or ice cream. (Caramel ice cream would be tasty as would Anne Bourget’s Vanilla ice cream.)
*For more information about pineapple as well as more recipes visit here.
** To make this recipe gluten-free, substitute 7 ounces of gluten-free flour for the all-purpose flour and add 1 teaspoon xanthum gum. While it can be made without xanthum gum, it will be less crumbly with the gum.
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