Cast Iron

My Mom's Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

April 19, 2010
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

My mother was a good cook, and made many memorable dishes. But when I try to think of just one that typifies what she taught me about cooking, it's hands-down this cake. It's a cake that invites another bite, another slice. My Mom taught me to bake it when I was in junior high school, and it tastes just as delicious today as it did all those years ago. You must bake this in a black cast iron skillet, and I still have the skillet my Mom baked this cake in for as long as I can remember. She's been gone for a very long time now, about 25 years (forgive me for not having a photo of her to upload), but her cake lives on and always bring tears of joy to my eyes. —Abra Bennett

  • Serves 8 (unless you decide to eat it all by yourself)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1 20 ounce can pineapple slices packed in juice, reserving 5 tablespoons juice
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
In This Recipe
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Melt the butter in a 9-inch cast iron skillet. Add the brown sugar and stir well to thoroughly combine, then turn off the heat. Arrange 7 pineapple slices in a single layer over the brown sugar mixture (your 9-inch skillet should accommodate 7 slices without overlapping). Fill the spaces between the pineapple rings with the pecans, centering one in the middle of each ring and arranging the rest as artistically as possible. Turn the pecans upside-down, so that they will be right side up when you invert the cake later. Set the skillet aside.
  3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl; set aside.
  4. Beat the egg yolks at medium speed until they are thick and lemon colored. Gradually add the sugar, continuing to beat. On low speed, add the flour mixture to the yolk mixture, and gently mix in the reserved pineapple juice.
  5. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold the whites into the cake batter. Pour or spoon the batter evenly over the pineapple slices.
  6. Bake at 350°F for 40 to 45 minutes. Cool the cake in the skillet for 30 minutes; then invert it onto a serving plate.

See Reviews

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • EmJu
  • Nicole Lyons
    Nicole Lyons
  • carole_nelson_brown
  • Abra Bennett
    Abra Bennett
  • Anneliese Butler
    Anneliese Butler
I love to cook and create recipes!