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“Upside-down cakes are such a joy to bake,” writes Cheryl Day in her newest book, Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking. “It’s the surprise when you unmold the cake that makes them so satisfying.” For an instant upgrade to this retro classic, ditch the typical fire engine red maraschinos for sophisticated, fruity Luxardo cherries. Flip the cake while it’s still warm—but not hot!—for easy removal.

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Ingredients

12 Servings

Caramel topping

1

cup (packed; 200 g) light brown sugar

6

Tbsp. unsalted butter

1

Tbsp. vanilla extract

1

tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt

1

15-oz. can pineapple slices, drained, patted dry

8

maraschino cherries (such as Luxardo), stems removed, patted dry

Cake and assembly

cups (288 g) cake flour

1

Tbsp. baking powder

1

Tbsp. Diamond Crystal or 1¾ tsp. Morton kosher salt

¼

tsp. ground mace or freshly grated nutmeg

3

large eggs, room temperature

1

Tbsp. vanilla extract

12

Tbsp. (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

cups (300 g) granulated sugar

cups sour cream

Preparation

Caramel topping

Step 1

Place a rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350°. Place a 13×9″ metal baking pan by the stove. Cook brown sugar, butter, vanilla extract, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted and mixture is bubbling, about 5 minutes. Pour caramel into baking pan and spread to evenly coat bottom with a heatproof rubber spatula, nudging into corners.

Step 2

Arrange pineapple slices on top of caramel without overlapping. Place a cherry in the center of each pineapple ring. Set aside.

Cake and assembly

Step 3

Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and mace in a medium bowl. Whisk eggs and vanilla extract in a small bowl.

Step 4

Beat butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add egg mixture in 4 batches, beating on medium speed 30 seconds after each addition and scraping down bowl as needed. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with sour cream in 2 additions, mixing 30 seconds after each addition. Fold batter a few times with a clean spatula, scraping down sides to make sure everything is well mixed. Scrape batter into reserved baking pan; smooth surface.

Step 5

Bake cake until golden and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 40–50 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let cake cool in pan 15 minutes. Run an offset spatula along edges of cake to loosen. Set a large platter over pan and flip over to release cake; carefully remove pan. If any fruit or cake sticks to pan, scrape it off and press back onto top of cake. Serve warm or room temperature.

Do ahead: Cake can be baked 3 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

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Recipes adapted with permission from ‘Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking’ by Cheryl Day (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2021.

Buy it on Amazon or Bookshop.org

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