Anger Burger

I’m Starting to Think He’s Messing With Me

Posted by Sunday on Sep 14, 2011 at 6:40 pm

For the second time in a week Mike the Viking has totally blown my little reptilian baking-mind, this time by idly mentioning that he’s never had pineapple upside-down cake. Who the hell has never had a pineapple upside-down cake? And then: has it really been over 10 years since I made a pineapple upside-down cake?

I read through probably 10 or 15 recipes before finding the one that I wanted at Coleen’s Recipes.  I didn’t want to make a separate caramel sauce, and I didn’t want anything extra in the batter; this latter part was a trick to wrangle, as every version I could find used buttermilk, or ground almonds, or sour cream, or cat milk, or sea urchin, or wood pulp or something else I didn’t feel like using.  I just wanted yellow cake.  Coleen really pulled through on this one.

Okay, I mean, minus the part where I didn’t even feel like buying and chopping up a fresh pineapple.  I just wanted an old-fashioned upside-down cake, no shenanigans.  I figure if he was going to eat his first one, it should be a classic 1950’s one.

The recipe was 100% ideal.  Moist and buttery, a little over-sweet, the bottom and particularly the sides candied into rich buttered brown sugar outrageousness.  Mike – the Viking here, folks, a man who was disappointed when I bought a variety bag of single-serve potato chips because he just wanted the BBQ ones – even started suggesting alternative flavors, like banana or pear upside-down cake.

I used extra cherries because I primarily eat pineapple upside-down cake as a vector for eating wretchedly artificial maraschino cherries.  I drank whiskey sours the whole first two years I was of legal drinking age primarily just for the cherries, and before realizing that the sour mix was what was making me throw up every time I went drinking and not the whiskey.  LIVE AND LEARN.

I’m not going to list the recipe here because it was unchanged from Coleen’s at her website, so you can go over there and get it – just know that I used canned pineapple and left out the pecans, but do know that I even used butter flavor extract (actually, my grocery store sells a flavor called “Vanilla Butternut” that I used instead of both vanilla and butter extracts), and that’s where the evil-cackle-worthy greatness of a somewhat fake-tasting 1950’s cake comes from.  Serve with mugs of instant Folger’s and call it a day.

September 14th, 2011 | Make It So

17 Responses to I’m Starting to Think He’s Messing With Me

  1. Chef Shelley says:

    I’m ‘trying’ to make a cake today you might like. Ever have spumoni ice cream at an Italian restaurant when you were a kid? ( you’re probably too young). Great memories of Italian food …

    • Sunday says:

      I’m not too young! In fact, my sister and I became obsessed with finding the “perfect” spumoni icecream for a while — are you making a spumoni CAKE?!

  2. Hannah says:

    The only thing I have to ask is: You don’t have a Betty Crocker cookbook? It’s the best ever. Straight up, 1950s pineapple upside down cake. No weird extracts or anything. You can find them on Ebay.

    There is checkerboard bread, dear one. Checkerboard. Bread.


  3. Elsa says:

    When I mentioned that I was making pineapple-upside-down cake for a dinner party, The Fella (who is almost invariably enthusiastic about my menu plans) was all “Meh. Pineapple-upside-down cake? Really?”

    And then I made it. And then he hovered around the kitchen door inhaling the scent of hot brown-sugar-and-butter-and-pineapple syrup. And then he stood over the cooling cake, eyes closed the better to breathe in its heady scent…

    … until I gave him a fork and the little two-serving pineapple-upside-down cake I’d made with the excess batter*, which is why I am A GENIUS.

    *I didn’t use a recipe, just whammed it together: canned pineapple and juice, plenty of maraschino cherries, brown sugar, melted butter, a few grains of salt, and the batter from a one-layer Fannie Farmer cottage pudding recipe that I can make with my eyes shut. IT WAS AMAZING. Why don’t I make one every few weeks?

    About The Viking’s suggested varieties: I heartily recommend trying ’em out. I’ve made blueberry upside-down cake and cherry upside-down cake with great success.

    In my opinion, apple or pear upside-down cake needs plenty of something (lemon, brandy, whatever) added to the syrup to give it some oomph. Not sure why: I love simple baked apples or pears, but under all that cake, they seem a little bland.

  4. Robert says:

    Those cherries looks so pretty arranged like that.

  5. dingey fruit flavorins says:

    Oh, dude. Upside-down anything recently became an obsession of mine after getting a big fat beautiful container of blackberries and finding this via googles:

    Mine never looks anything like the completely-under-control slice shown on that website. In fact, with all the blackberry, dark brown sugar, nutty mess falling apart on top, it sort of looks like a train wreck. Until you bite it. And cry a little. And bite it again and again until you realize that somehow between the two of you, you just ate an entire cake in the space of an hour. Shame descends, along with the urge to make another one…

  6. Henry O. says:

    So, In my five or so years of apprenticing and school and cooking professionally, And my lifetime of living with a mother and father who are/were chefs. I’ve never had a pineapple upsidedown cake, and pineapple is my favorite fruit! I’ve also never had one that looked nearly as good as yours. I suppose it’s time to do some dreaded baking!

  7. Henry O. says:

    Also, because i posted my comment, then read the second half of the post. Just a side note but, did you know they make all different flavors and colors of maraschino cherries!

    Like the first 6 products in that link! I really think they are deserving of ending every one of my sentences in exclamation points! That’s how artificially, cloyingly awesome they are!

  8. Carrie Anne says:

    I’ve never had pineapple upsidedown cake, but then, I have only one person in my life who bakes and I found her only recently.

    Can I say that in addition to looking mouthwatering, I love that plate?

  9. Layla McCann says:


  10. Brandy says:

    its the perfect time of year of upside down caramel apple pie!

    • Becca says:

      Recipe please?? Mmmmm

      And Sunday, I have a “pear tart” recipe that would fit your pear upside down need. I’ll dig it out, it’s delicious

  11. meg says:

    Pineapple Upside-Down Cake is surprisingly amazing. Caramel. Butter cake. Candied cherries and pineapple. It’s really genius. And I have that same plate, by the way. I think I found it at a church yard sale.

  12. Randi says:

    Ever made pineapple upside down cake in a cast iron skillet? The stuff dreams are made of…

  13. quagmire says:

    I make an excellent upside down spumoni stew pizza …

  14. jen says:

    I second using a skillet. And since I’m up to my butthole in plums, I’ve been doing brandy-plum upside down cake (with plums in the batter, because I seriously have a trillion of them). I get all Martha Stewart and try to make cool looking spirals in the bottom of the pan and they never stay put once I pour the batter on top. Oh well.

  15. I know this is probably sacrilege but I usually take the fruit off of my pineapple upside down cake and eat just the cake. I like the taste of the juice, etc. but the actual fruit I can do without. Pineapple by itself = yay! Eating the pineapple from the pineapple upside down cake = boo. This cake always reminds me of my Grammy, though, so it always has a soft spot with me.

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