Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake: it will turn your world upside-down

Pineapple Upside Down Cake
My parents visited me when I delivered my daughter Alya back in 2009. After the birth of Alya, my life changed upside-down. My sleeping schedule ceased to exist, taking a shower was a hard core wish and brushing my hair was an absolute impossible. It was a major event in my life and I had to adapt to this new reality but I still wanted to retain some of what is left of me..so one day, I decided to bake my parents a dessert. My original plan was to make something that I already tried as to refrain from embarrassing myself in front of my parents. I opted to make Tarte aux Fraises (strawberry tart). I made the crust and baked it and while I was trying to place it on the serving dish, it broke and shattered to many pieces on the serving dish.

I was so disappointed and decided to carry on with my Creme Patissiere; however, it never thickened since I was using the Creme Anglaise recipe and not the Creme Patissiere recipe. Creme Anglaise does not have any thickening agent in it such as corn starch, which means it will never ever thicken. This alone proves that sleep deprivation seriously impairs judgment. I was so frustrated and sad. I seriously felt like a piece of me was going down the drain along with the Creme Anglaise and the shattered pieces of the crust. It was no longer about the failed tarte aux fraises but more about my efforts to salvage my "before Alya routine". My mother saw the disappointment in my eyes and was gently persuading me that we don't need to eat dessert anyway and my dad swiftly suggested to go to Safway bakery to get a dessert from there. I recollected myself and told them that they will eat my homemade dessert and I shall make it now. My hands reached for another page in the cookbook and there it was: Pineapple Upside-down cake. I had a fresh organic pineapple, it spoke to me..after all my life is upside-down..then why not? let's make it sweet too.. I am totally in love with my daughter. The cake was easy to make and beyond delicious. I placed my beautiful cake on the cake stand, my confidence restored, my parents staring at this beauty with awe...success and redemption are sweet too!

Pineapple Upside-down cake

Vegetable oil spray
1/2 fresh pineapple peeled
1/4 cup (2 oz/60 g) unsalted butter
3/4 cup (6 oz/185 g) firmly packed brown sugar

For the cake:
1 3/4 cup (9 oz/280 g) unbleached all-purpose plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (essence)
3/4 cup (6o z/185 g) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup (8 oz/ 250 g) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (4 fl oz/ 125 ml) milk (the original recipe called for whole milk but I used fat free and it was delicious.

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C)
Lightly coat a 9 inch (23 cm) round cake pan with vegetable oil spray (The first time I made it I used a 9 inch round pan but the picture shown in this post is th the cake baked in a heart shape for valentine's day..so you can improvise as long as you stay within the same dimensions and avoid spillovers)

Cut the pineapple. This link will show you how to do it, but I don't waste as much pineapple http://www.howtocutapineapple.com/. You can cut the pineapple rounds into half moons or quarters, depending on the shape of your pan.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the brown sugar and stir until small bubbles appear; 2-3 minutes. Remove the sugar mixture from the heat and pour into the pan. Arrange 7-8 pineapple halves in the pan in a circular pattern or whichever pattern your heart desires. Set aside.

To make the cake, in a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk the eggs with the vanilla. Set aside. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until pale and fluffy. Gradually add the granulated sugar and beat for 2-3 minutes longer. Slowly add the egg mixture,beating after each addition. Spoon half of the flour mixture into the butter mixture, stir, add half of the milk, and stir again. Add the remaining flour, stir, and add the remaining milk. Continue stirring, scraping down the bowl as needed, until the batter is completely smooth. Do not overmix.

Pour the batter on top of the pineapple slices in the prepared pan, spreading evenly (I like to wet my clean finger with water and even out the cake but make sure that you don't add a lot of water). Bake until the top of the cake is lightly golden and the center springs back when touched, 35-45 minutes. let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes, then turn on to the platter and scape the remaining juices over the top of the cake. Let cool slightly and serve warm.

You can use canned pineapple rings if you cant find a fresh pineapple but nothing beats the taste of a fresh pineapple fruit.
if you don't have a stand mixer, then you can use a hand mixer, but make sure that the butter is properly creamed.


Adapted from William-Sonoma Fruit Dessert Book


  1. Nadine, this is great! Can't wait to try the sfoof and pineapple upside down cake for the times when life is turned upside down... I love it! I see a new tradition in my house!

  2. thanks Heather! I appreciate your support. I will post in the future all the dishes that I made for you and you loved.kisses

  3. Love it!!! I will be trying it real soon, will tell you abt it when I do :) and great idea, this blog! keep it coming!
    xoxoxo from Belgium - hope to see you in Beirut in Sept?
    Rana Kob :)

  4. Thank you Rana! I really think you should give it a try, this recipe is easy and tested many times..let me know if you like it and if you have requests.

  5. Nadine, I prepared this recipe today and it came out to be ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS. The cake was simply perfect.I am glad I tried it. This is going to be my "Go To" recipe now:) Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe.

  6. How wonderful! that is great news..It is a delicious cake and I love how it looks. You made my day! thank you for your interest in my blog!

  7. I wish I saw this few months ago! I love pineapple upside-down cake and was so determined to make it for my son's bday at daycare. Since I never made it before I searched the net for recipes and found one that "looked" easy enough. Well, let's just say it was a disaster lol

    Now that I have a good recipe, I HAVE to try it soon :)

  8. I keep making this over and over again. Always turns out delicious!

    1. Thanks Liz. This cake is practically my go to cake for every occasion. It is good, even if you are not big on pineapple.