The exciting thing about this recipe (in addition to the generally exciting proposition of enjoying pineapple upside down cake) is that you cook the pineapple upside down cake in a cast-iron skillet. Then, after you’ve pulled the skillet from the oven and let the cake cool a bit, you put a dish over the top of the skillet, and you flip the skillet/dish combination upside down quickly, and the cake effortlessly slides out onto the dish and reveals its full glorious self, resplendent with caramelly pineapple pieces arranged beautifully in a circle, and you feel like the star of a cooking show.
It’s like the feeling a magician must have when they whisk the tablecloth out from under the place settings and everything remains nicely in place on the table, including the candelabra which, even if it teetered precariously a few times, still remained upright in the end. This dish always gives me that kind of pleasure, without the broken porcelain. It’s similar to the apple tarte tatin, which also employes the fun flipping technique.
This recipe is from an older Gourmet magazine recipe, via Epicurious.
Make the Topping
Cut half of a cored, peeled, medium pineapple crosswise into 3/8-inch-thick pieces. Melt 1/2 a stick of butter in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet. Add 1/2 cup brown sugar and simmer over moderate heat, stirring, for 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Arrange pineapple on top of the sugar mixture in concentric circles, overlapping pieces slightly. (I did not do this, which is why the pineapple has separated a bit.)
Make the Batter
Sift together 1 1/2 cups flour, 3 tsp cardamom, 2 tsp baking powder, and 1/4 tsp salt. Beat 3/4 stick room temperature butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in 1 cup granulated sugar. Add 2 large eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in 1 tsp vanilla and 1 T dark rum. Add half of flour mixture and beat on low speed just until blended. Beat in 1/2 cup pineapple juice (I used orange juice), then add remaining flour mixture, beating just until blended.
Spoon batter over pineapple topping and spread evenly. Bake cake in the middle of the oven until golden and a tester comes out clean, about 45 minutes. (Put a cookie sheet under the skillet to catch drips.) Let the cake stand in the skillet for 5 minutes.
Invert a plate over the skillet and invert the cake onto the plate (keeping plate and skillet firmly pressed together). Replace any pineapple stuck to the bottom of the skillet. Sprinkle rum over the cake if you’d like, and cool on a plate on a rack.
Serve the cake just warm or at room temperature.
- 1/2 medium pineapple, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cored
- 3/4 stick unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 to 3 teaspoons ground cardamom
- 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
- 1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
- 2 tablespoons dark rum for sprinkling over cake