Friday, March 9, 2012

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, Now and Then

I’m not a huge dessert fan, so it was a little ironic that the first few things I ever cooked at culinary school were sweet, not savory. It was too long ago to remember why, but I think we divided the class into different groups for our lab times, and I just happened to be in the one that started with basic baking.

I distinctly remember sticky buns being the first recipe we did, but the second one was a pineapple upside-down cake. It’s such a cool recipe for a new culinary student, since it just looks like a simple, rustic fruit cobbler when it comes out of the oven, all browned and bubbling, but a few minutes later, when it’s turned over and that gloriously caramelized surface is revealed, it becomes so much more.

As I basked in the shiny glow of this iconic American dessert, not only did I feel like maybe I knew what I was doing, but I had edible proof sitting right there on the table. Of course, what I’m not telling you is that most of my pineapple slices stuck to the pan, and I had to piece it all back together before the chef came over to see my work, but all’s well that ends well.

I was actually kind of hoping that would happen here, so I could demonstrate how easy it is to simply put all your “puzzle pieces” back in place. So relax. Once the cake cools, no one will be able to tell the difference. As long as the syrup is warm, your reconstruction will be fine.

I may be in the minority, but I don’t like to top this with anything. Of course vanilla or coconut ice cream would be fine, or maybe a dollop of whipped cream, but for my tastes, “as is” works best. Anyway, I hope you give this classic pineapple upside-down cake a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for a 9-inch skillet:
For the pineapple base:
4 tbsp butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tbsp pineapple juice
1 tbsp dark rum
1/2 small pineapple, trimmed, sliced (see video below)
For the batter:
1/2 cup melted brown butter (works same w/ regular melted butter)
1 1⁄2 cups flour
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1⁄2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1⁄2 cup milk

How to Prep a Pineapple

As Promised, here's a video on how to peel and slice a pineapple from my friends at Allrecipes. Enjoy!

39 comments:

Steven said...

Will it work to transfer the sugar mixture to a baking dish before adding the pineapple? Or is it too sticky? I don't know if a nonstick pan would work in the oven.

Chef John said...

sure, make in pan and just pour into baking dish.

Rafael Gonçalves said...

Smartest hint ever: the 5-fee-away egg thing

Marsupilami said...

Chef John,

is that 10 or 12-inch skillet ?

Chef John said...

9 inch!

Anonymous said...

by far the most amazing pineapple dessert i've ever seen!
Congrats Chef!
I'm certainly going to make this tomorrow!
Greetings from Bolivia!

David said...

You've been branded!!!

Anonymous said...

Is it OK to substitute peaches? I love peaches!

Anonymous said...

wow...love it!

Steven said...

No cayenne or 5 spice? I'm impressed!

Steven said...

By the way you should add a donate button! I love the recipes and your personal responses, but I don't really need a physical cookbook.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John!

I just made the pineapple upside down cake a couple of hours ago and it was so good. I loved the cardamom in it! I come from Somalia and our traditional cake is made with cardamom so my mum really liked it because of that.

thanks!

Anonymous said...

I'm going to make this next week. It looks so delicious! I've cooked many of your recipes and they all come out fantastic!!!

Greg said...

my all time favourite must be the tuna in tomato sauce and white wine with capers recipe...see which one i'm talking about? do you still do it? I'm making some today. yummy.

Dingbat said...

Sweet Jesus, when I went to get the pan out of the oven I grabbed onto the goddamned metal handle even though it was practically glowing red. Hell of a desert though, the whole family agrees it was worth 45% of the skin on my right hand.

S/V Blondie-Dog said...

Dang it chef... I ain'ts got me no freakin' oven to bake me the sensuous apple crisp pie, nor the succulent bread rolls and now this decadent pineapple cake and dat ain't right... How's about some basic stove-top recipes fer a change!

Lyn @LovelyPantry said...

Chef John, I'm going to make this. Exactly like how you've demonstrated. I hope I don't overdo on the RUM... so tempting :-) Love it!!!

Lhinelle said...

protip: when it's spelled cardamom, don't say "card-ah-MUN".

Nitpicking aside, looks delicious. Now I know what to make for my pineapple-loving guy on a special occasion! Thanks!

OkieOmnivore said...

Looks lovely and I can't wait to make this.

Just a hint: Williams Sonoma makes an awesome pineapple corer. You just cut the top off of the fruit, postion the tool over the core, twist and push and then pull out perfect pineapple rings. As a bonus, you can remove the core from the shell and you have a hollowed out pineapple in which to mix a kickass tropical drink.

Anonymous said...

I personally think it's silly to core a pineapple. You're wasting a lot of the fruit. I've always eaten the core, sure it's a little tougher, but still delicious.

Chef John said...

It may be silly if it's just you, but it would be really silly (and make you a very bad host) to serve a dessert that would make your guests chew on tough fibrous pineapple core! That would not be appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Oh right. I forgot when people make these recipes it's generally for several people, not just one. As a single male, I'm the only one eating the food.

Anonymous said...

Hello ! Je suis francaise et j'ai découvert ton site par hasard. C'est juste, FABULEUX ! Tu es un excellent cuisinier , toutes tes recettes sont à fondre de plaisir. Bonne continuation. Bisoux ;)

Phoebe said...

thanks for the super informative video! cake looks absolutely gorgeous

S/V Blondie-Dog said...

I baked my first apple-pine cake and it was positively superb except for the splash of missing dark-rum. ooopps.. my bad.

And this time I asserted myself and insisted that my lady-friend not "hijack" my recipe and switch it up with something else.

Last time she switched up my Apple Crisp Pie and turned it into a Mango Crisp Pie since she happens to have a mango tree growing in her back yard.

*SpArKy* said...

Is it possible to make this cake the day b4? or will go bad?

Chef John said...

yes, good next day!

Gretchen in NOLA said...

Looks a bit shallow in the cake part, wonder how this would be with the cake batter doubled??

Gretchen in NOLA said...

Just tried...double cake batter = bad idea. Do as Chef John say in first place = good idea

Katie said...

Chef John, you're a genius. Made this today for our Easter brunch and it was a big hit. I had to sub nutmeg for cardamom (next time, cardamom), but it was still delish. I will never go back to cake mix/canned pineapple again.

Fire House Chef said...

I have had one host after another offer their "acclaimed" Pineapple Upside Down Cake made from canned pineapple and a yellow cake mix. I smile and thank them for the cake, all the while thinking, "Ho Hum another blah cake."

After making Chef John's Pineapple Upside-Down Cake I do believe I'm going to make a lot of "friends" really grumpy and jealous when I bring this flavor explosion to my next gathering. I'm looking forward to it :-)

Chef John said...

Enjoy!

Fire House Chef said...

I've had numerous hosts offer their "acclaimed" Pineapple Upside Down Cake. All made with canned pineapple and a yellow cake mix with perhaps a few "secret" additions. All with very limited taste appeal.

I do believe I'm going to create some jealous feelings at my next event because this recipe is to quote, Emrile, "BAM!" Chef John has one flavorful exploding cake going on here. As always...fresh is best!

jamie sterling said...

Dear Chef John,
Me and my girlfriend just made this but instead of making the cake version of this we made it in cupcake tins, the question that I have for you is how can we keep the caramel mixture from sticking to the cupcake tin other than that it turned out pretty good

Chef John said...

Sorry, not sure! May be too small to work?

Javonna K. said...

I'm going to be making this for the first time tomorrow in a pan. How to I ensure successful flipping? Should I take it out of the oven, let it cool and then flip it? or should I flip it while it's hot?

Chef John said...

There is no wat to ensure for sure, but, as you sae in the video, I waited 10 minutes to flip and it worked great. Others say it's best flipped right away.

Danielle Mei said...

Can I apply this recipe to make cranberry/blueberry upside down cake? Or the bottom should be different because the berries are not flat and easy to break...

Chef John said...

Not sure, but only one way to find out! ;)