Pineapple Upside Down Cake


I am allergic to fresh pineapple. I break out in hives and the lining of my mouth and throat get all itchy and scratchy when I eat it. Just standing near a fresh pineapple being peeled gives me the sweats. Why, I do not know, and it was not always the case as I used to consume pineapple by the kilo as a kid. My favorite part was the tough central stem that was sweet, chewy, fibrous and crunchy all at the same time. I seem to be less allergic to canned or cooked pineapple but still get a physical reaction to it. So attempting an upside down cake from fresh Tagaytay pineapples was a bit of a stretch…and I am so glad that I did it. This is a modern updated version of the cake your mom/lola/tita used to make and it is absolutely delicious…

I was browsing through the cookbook of Regan Daley apine2called “in the sweet kitchen – The Definitive Baker’s Companion” that won some great book awards and ran across this intriguing recipe. It just sounded too good to pass up so here it is. I suggest you get the book for the full fledged instructions but here it is in shorthand. Recipe is Ms. Daley’s… I baked the cake in the photo in a marathon baking session where I was showing a friend how to bake and we made 9 things in two days… Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F then grease a 10 inch springform cake pan and line with aluminum foil. Grease the foil and line the bottom with parchment paper which you grease again and sprinkle with sugar. First, make the topping using once large or two medium pineapples, 1/3 cup good butter and about 1 and ¼ cups of white sugar. Cut pineapple into uniform sizes about ½ inch thick and about 3/3 inches wide. Ms. Daley had detailed instructions for this but I wasn’t too anal about it as long as the pieces were more or less uniform in size. Melt the butter in a heavy enamel pot and add the sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves and keep stirring until you get a nice medium dark syrup (this will take several minutes). Carefully add the sliced pineapple and stand back as it hisses and splatters like lava. The blob will eventually melt and the fruit and syrup will fuse. Cook until the pineapple is slightly brown on the edges and remove from heat. Ms. Daley then suggests that you take each piece of pineapple and carefully arrange it on the bottom of the pan, I just scooped it in and hoped for the best. I did even out the fruit so its thickness was uniform. Pour in all the caramel you can eek out of the pan.

Next, make the cake batter. You will need 1 and ½ cups all purpose flour, 1 and ½ teaspoons baking powder, ¼ teaspoon salt, 3 large eggs, 5 large egg yolks, 1 and ½ cups of white sugar, apine33 tablespoons brandy, seeds of ½ large vanilla bean (no hull) or 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, and ¾ cup good butter that is melted and cooled. In a small bowl, sift the flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk the eggs and egg yolks to just break them up slightly. Whisk in sugar, then add brandy and vanilla. Add flour in two batches to the egg mixture and whisk. Stir in melted butter. Pour batter over pineapple base CAREFULLY so as not to disturb the layer of fruit. Set pan on a baking sheet and place in the center of pre-heated oven for about 70-80 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes, run a sharp knife around the edges and invert the cake onto a serving platter and remove or peel off the parchment paper. Excellent served warm or at room temperature. Nice with a strong cup of tea. Ms. Daley’s book is one of the best written cookbooks I have ever read…the instructions are so complete… The resulting cake rich, buttery and delicious. The pineapple was worth the hives and caramel not too sickly sweet. Excellent.

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20 Responses

  1. I’ll definitely try baking this recipe – it looks so delicious! This is one of my old time favourite cakes and I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for sharing. Love the photos,too! I’m drooling!

  2. Last Wednesday at L’Ambrosie, a 3 star restaurant in Paris, I had a soup of seared scallops sitting on an an intense lobster bisque foam with caramelized pineapple core pickle on the bottom. Delicious! Trust Bernard Pacaud to figure out what to do with the core which used to be thrown into the bucket for the pigs.

  3. Love pineapple upside down cake! My wife bakes a mean one, but I’ll pass on your version to her and see what happens.

  4. You were in Paris last week? Oh man! every time I hear someone’s in, going to, or just came from Paris, i get a serious case of Paris envy!!! Heheheh

    I miss walking down Champs-Elysees. I used to walk around 3 kilometers everyday around the city going to Place de la Concorde then to Trocadero along the Seine then back to my small room just behind the Lido. I lost 30 lbs in 3 months doing that!

    My Parisian friends were Pineapple crazy. They absolutely love exotic tropical fruits like mangoes, coconut and even calamansi! I once saw a recipe of calamansi mousse by the famous french patissiere Pierre Herme!

  5. Here’s the rest of what was for lunch that day crudely translated from the French menu:
    Gougere (cheese puffs)
    Langoustine in a sesame tuile and a curried reduction
    Roasted pink pidgeon with black truffles and salsify and roasted pink onions
    Baby leg of lamb from the Pyrenees, Crosne
    Spinach and wild mushroom tart
    Salad of blood orange and frisse
    Cheese plate (heaven right there)
    Hazelnut biscuit and souffle, dried mandarine orange chips, clementine, lychee, green apple sorbets

  6. Linda, sorry for the confusion, my SISTER who lives in New York was in Paris over the weekend and she left the two comments here that are confusing everyone. I stayed with her in NYC last year and used her computer and for some reason my log-on comment name MARKETMAN has stuck on her computer so she sometimes leaves comments and my name appears…really, now, I would let my readers know if I hied off to Paris! Chris, I do love Paris. It’s so much more hospitable now than when i first went in the 1980’s… Sorry for the confusion folks. And if you want to be envious…read that the rundown of the tasting menu my sister was eating at L’Ambrosie in Paris in the comment prior to this!

  7. =) I was wondering why you’d sneak off to Paris for just a few short days! Your sister can try clearing cookies or saved forms from her browser =)

    That tasting menu sounds great!

  8. This pineapple cake is a definite will try.. I really love the “cake” part in this dessert. All this talk of Paris and cake has got me thinking… what Mariage Freres tea would you pair this with MM? =)

  9. Wow, you’re allergic to pineapples too? I thought I was the only person I knew who was allergic to them! And I make a killer pineapple cakes that all my friends and family adore but I’ve never taken a bite of it! I knwo this is mean but I’m so glad I’m not the only person I know who can’t enjoy pineapple.

  10. Alicia, I do like Mariage Freres Earl Grey version, though they have MANY delicious flavors for their tea… A heavier tea perhpas would be a good match… even a dark lapsang souchong might be nice… The cake is quite rich. MM, the allergy isn’t so strange, apparently. Pineapples contain an enzyme called bromelin (see link to pineapples I added to the post above)that is used to breakdown protein as in say a meat tenderizer. People handling pineapples such as farmers in Cagayan must cover their skin as the bromelin in constant contact with your skin can actually eat it away! Yikes, is right.

  11. I was allergic to pineapples when i was younger (didn’t stop me from eating it though), but the reactions disappeared over time. One part of getting older I’m not looking forward to is finding out what food my body decides to reject.

  12. Never mind the pineapple cake — I want to know which 9 things you and your friend baked in 2 days!! :p outrageous! I’m not fond of pineapple upside down cake, I’m not even fond of pineapple, but this cake sure looks good. I have Regan Daley’s book. It’s an invaluable resource for bakers.

  13. Lori, if I remember correctly, we made pan de sal, yemas, tocino del cielo, leche flan, upside down pineapple cake, sans rival, a coconut chocolate wonder which I will post soon, chocolate truffles, angel food cake with poppy seeds to use all the egg whites… the friend, RM, is the guy who doubled my christmas pledge for books…he is also the one who purchased and gave me the domain name MarketManila after musings one dinnertime where I thought about doodling with a blog…More sweet stuff to come soon…

  14. i love pineapple upside cake without the pineapple. haha. i like the soaked soggy upside up part of the cake. yummy. but your cake looks really delicious, it’s dark,unlike ours which looks pale. literally, our pineapple upside down cake pales in comparison! =)

  15. Im also allergic to pineapples and my family and friends find it really really odd. BUt I dont get a reaction if i take two virlix an hour before i eat pineapples…

  16. I have a love/hate relationship with this cake :) It is one of the first things I learned how to bake as a kid and my dad (and lots of my relatives) loves it. As such I have been called on to churn this out one too many times! There was a period I totally boycotted making it! But it is actually going through a renaissance in my life so this post is very timely for me. The recipe I use doesn’t call for the topping to be cooked and caramelized ahead, which would account for the fact that mine also “pales” in comparison :) Will have to try this out next time!

    Thanks for the book reco…am always looking out for them, and with yours and lori’s backing I’m sure this is a winnder :)

  17. this version of the USDC is very rich. Sounds tasty. Thanks. now i could make this cake again. I used to have a Betty Crocker Cookbook on 3 ring binder. A friend borrowed the page of USDC recipe and never returned it to me.

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