Pineapple Upside Down Cake


My Mom has been using her 10″ cast iron skillet for as long as my memory serves, and I’m over 60 years old.  Believe me, after raising 5 children and many a fried chicken dinner, this is a very well seasoned skillet!  A properly made pineapple upside down cake was originally baked in a cast iron skillet.  So, for the sake of originality, I am using my Mom’s well-seasoned cast iron skillet to bake this moist, delicious southern cake which features pineapple, pecans and rum.  Yummm…the cake is easy to throw together.  The upside down pineapple/brown sugar/butter/pecan topping is easy to arrange in the bottom of the skillet.  The only tricky part is waiting the 4 minutes after removing the finished cake from the oven and overturning it onto your serving plate.  But …oh my….what a picture!

I’ve been marinating in the refrigerator one half of a deliciously ripe pineapple for several days in 1/4 cup of rum, with the idea that I’d bake a pineapple upside down cake this weekend and I wanted to use up that last 1/4 cup of rum in the bottom of the bottle…well today is the day!  I’ve drained the pineapple slices from the rum and set the liquid aside to sprinkle over the top of the cake while it’s still hot from the oven, so it will absorb the natural pineapple juices and rum.  I’ve selected some handsome pecan halves to insert between my pineapple slices in the bottom of the skillet.  Since I have no buttermilk or milk handy for this recipe, I’ve added 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice in my liquid measuring cup and topped it off with half & half cream to equal 1 cup.  After sitting for 5 minutes to ‘clabber’…voila instant clabbered milk (equivalent to buttermilk).

Pineapple Upside Down Cake





  • 1/2 small, ripe pineapple, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/2″ rounds
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 12 pecan halves
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon rum (from the pineapple marinade, reserve the rest)
  • 4-6 maraschino cherries, or fresh pitted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt 1/4 cup of the butter in the skillet over low heat, add the brown sugar and stir to dissolve.


Remove the skillet from the heat and arrange pineapple slices in a decorative pattern.


Add pecan halves in between slices.  Take great care not to burn yourself with the hot butter/sugar syrup.

Measure flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt and stir together.

Measure rum and vanilla into buttermilk.

Cream 1 cup of the butter with 1 cup sugar.  Add eggs, one at a time while mixing.  Add dry ingredients in thirds, alternating with half the liquid, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.  Mix only to combine.  Spoon cake batter over the top of the artfully arranged pineapple/pecan/syrup topping.

DSC00491 Bake for 40  minutes, until toothpick poked into the center comes out clean.  Immediately after removing from the hot oven, sprinkle the reserved pineapple juices/rum from the marinade all over the top of the hot cake.  It will all soak into the cake.


Let cool only 4 minutes.  Run a sharp paring knife around the perimeter of the cake.  Place serving plate upside down over skillet, and quickly invert cake onto plate (using potholders).  Remove any sticky fruit and nuts that might have remained in the skillet and replace in the decorative pattern on the cake.  Add the cherries to complete the traditional pattern.

Serve warm or cold with whipped cream.