When I was a kid, I had mixed feelings about the traditional pineapple upside-down cake. I mean, it’s cake, right? It’s hard for me not to like a cake, and I did like the cake part, I liked the pineapple part too. I knew I was supposed to like maraschino cherries, I mean everyone else did, but I really didn’t. I still don’t. I like the pop of color they give to the cake, just not the flavor or the weird red stains they leave. I tried leaving them off, but the rings of pineapple looked like they were missing something. I tried putting a small chunk of pineapple into the rings, which to be fair, did solve the empty look. Both the empty ring and chunk filled ring cakes tasted lovely, but neither looked that great. Then I tried using all chunks (Which incidentally, is not a good name for a cake) and that was just right.
- 4 TBSP butter, sliced thinly
- 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
- 1 x 20 oz can of pineapple chunks, in juice, well drained (save the juice!)
- 1 & 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated white sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 2 eggs, separated
- 1/2 cup pineapple juice (from the can)
- 1/4 tsp fine salt
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar (or substitute 1/2 a tsp of vinegar)
- Vanilla ice cream or lightly whipped cream to serve (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350f, and place the 3 tablespoons of thinly sliced butter in a 9″ round cake pan. Place the pan with the butter in the oven until it is melted.
- Once the butter has melted, remove the pan from the oven and stir in the brown sugar. When the brown sugar is completely moistened, add the pineapple chunks and stir until well coated. Spread everything out as evenly as you can and then set aside while you make the cake batter.
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Set aside until needed.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or a large mixing bowl and a hand mixer), beat the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and almond extract with the last egg yolk.
- Starting and ending with the dry, alternate between beating in 1/4 of the dry mixture and beating in 1/3 of the wet mixture. Beat each addition just until mixed and scraping down the sides as needed.
- Add the dry mixture alternately with the pineapple juice. Starting and ending with the dry mixture.
- In a different bowl, add the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar. Beat the egg whites until they hold a firm peak. Fold the whipped egg whites into the batter gently but thoroughly.
- Spoon the prepared batter carefully over the pineapple. Bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 45 to 55 minutes, or until well browned on top and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. The cake will rise a bit over the edge of the pan while it’s cooking, this is normal.
- Cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 5 minutes, the cake will deflate a bit during this time, that is normal. After 5 minutes, run a butter knife or offset spatula around the edge and carefully invert onto a serving plate. If any of the top sticks to the pan just quickly scoop it out and fill in the spaces it left on the cake. As it cools the “sticky” will hold it in place.
- This cake is good warm, or at room temperature. I store the cake loosely wrapped at room temperature for up to 4 days.
- Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of lightly whipped cream, or not. It’s your cake!
Makes 8 Servings
- Of course, you can use rings instead of chunks. You could also add cherries to the center of the rings. O M G, you just invented a new cake! Oh, wait, no, that’s just a traditional pineapple upside-down cake.
- You can “zap” a leftover cake slice in the microwave for a few seconds if you prefer it warm.