Pineapple upside down cake is among my top favorite cakes. It's for sure the cake I remember most as a child. It's my Dad's hands down favorite cake. He would prefer to have the cake made with crushed pineapple so you get pineapple in every bite, me I would prefer to have nothing but the crispy, buttery, crunchy, golden corner that eliminate 17 years of stress per bite. This is some powerfully good comfort food.
The craving for pineapple upside down cake hit me this week when I saw a can of pineapple rings in our pantry. It was this instant drive that I would have to have a pineapple upside down cake--NOW. We were home Sunday after morning worship for the day so I took advantage of making this cake and not be hurried. The only problem is, I didn't have my families recipe for the cake and I didn't trust my memory of Mom made it, since I never saw her make it. I just knew the corners were MINE and everyone better back off! I flipped through my southern cookbooks and found very few recipes for pineapple upside down cake. I did find one in the Blue Willow Inn cookbook and decided that I would give it a go. Of course, I changed it up and made it my own.
What I found interesting is the amount of "glaze" recommended for this cake. I do remember my Mom's glaze being very thick and pasty, not liquidy like this one. I doubled the amount of brown sugar and butter for the glaze and kept the liquid amount the same. The other interesting result was the batter not flipping. I expected the heavy batter to settle to the bottom of the pan and the watery glaze to rise to the top and "flip" while baking. It did not do that at all, much to my surprise. This picture to the left shows the two layers right after I poured the cake batter over the pineapple and glaze liquid. Maybe the pineapple had something to do with this. Because there was so much liquid I did learn that next time I make this cake, I'll let it rest for a bit longer than usual so some of that liquid has time to retreat inside the cake and not panic and run to the serving tray.
All in all I think this will be my next favorite recipe for pineapple upside down cake. My sister said that we used the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, but I can't imagine Mom making the cake batter from scratch. I think I'll try the glaze from BHG and use my cake batter. I have a standard cake batter kick up anytime I make a box cake. I use milk instead of water, add vanilla, and add an extra egg. It gives the cake a more homemade taste, try it next time and see if you don't agree.
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
18 1/4 oz box Yellow Cake, mix according to package directions
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1/3 cup oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup pineapple juice
20 oz can pineapple rings
Maraschino Cherries (I didn't have any on hand)
Preheat oven to 350. Spray glass 9x13 baking dish set aside. Pour juice from pineapple into a 1 cup measure (add water if you don't have enough) and add that to a 2 quart pan. Place pan over medium heat, add brown sugar and butter. Bring to a boil. While the pan is heating up, place the pineapple rings in the pan. Note: watch the pan because the liquid will foam quite a bit and could spill over if you aren't careful. When the brown sugar, butter, and pineapple juice comes to a boil remove from heat. Pour over the pineapple.
Mix the cake batter, according to package directions, and slowly pour over pineapple and glaze mixture. Place in oven and bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cake rest for 5-10 minutes then invert onto a large tray, or serving platter.
Note: If you are using crushed pineapple I would empty the can of pineapple juice and all into the pot, then add the brown sugar and butter and bring all of that to a boil, then pour into the baking pan when it just comes to a boil.