Pineapple Upside Down Cake- An American Classic for the 4th of July
You may have noticed that I‘ve been on a bit of a retro recipe kick of late, so just in time for the big 4th of July celebration (and our local FBLA blog hop), I am making Pineapple Upside Down Cake, an all-American classic.
Since the innovation of canned sliced pineapples at the beginning of the 20th century, Pineapple Upside Down Cakes have become one of America’s most beloved cakes and a favorite dessert to carry along to potluck dinners, reaching their peak around mid-century. They’ve never gone away completely, thankfully, and now are poised for a big comeback.
I’ve tweaked this recipe, adding an extra juicy topping for more of that brown sugar, caramelized goodness (thanks to input from Susan Purdy’s wonderful book, A Piece of Cake, and sour cream to the batter (thanks to input from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s seminal book, The Cake Bible), both of which I have reached for repeatedly over the years. Judging by how quickly it disappeared at my family gathering yesterday, I’d say it’s a real keeper.
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup pineapple juice from the canned pineapples
- 1-2 tablespoons dark rum
- 8 pineapple slices, packed in their own juices
- 12-15 pecan halves
- 8 maraschino or fresh cherries, pitted
- 7 ounces butter
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the topping:
- Drain pineapple slices and set to dry on a paper towel. Do the same with 8 maraschino cherries, if using..
- Add the 6 tablespoons of butter to a 12 inch cast iron pan (I keep one cast iron pan aside, specifically for upside down cakes, to prevent there being any other smells invading the pastries), and heat until bubbling.
- Add the brown sugar and stir for about 3 minutes until it’s dissolved and smooth. If there are a couple of lumps still, don’t worry. They’ll dissolve in baking.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the juice and rum. If the sugar is very hot, be careful of it splattering up at you.
- Place the pineapple slices in a decorative pattern around the pan, and then place the cherries and pecans in the in between spaces.
For the cake:
- In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, and stir in the vanilla.
- In a large bowl, whisk the baking powder, baking soda and salt into the flour until completly mixed.
- Add the flour mixture, in three additions, alternating with the sour cream.
- Spoon the batter gently over the pineapple slices, then spread the batter with a spatula to smooth and distribute evenly.
- Bake in a 325 degree oven for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool for 3-4 minutes on a wire rack, then invert carefully onto a platter.