Chef John's Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Recipe -
Chef John's Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Recipe
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How to Make Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
In a topsy-turvy world, this may be the perfect dessert. See more

Chef John's Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Recipe by  

"This iconic American dessert 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."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 1 12-inch cake Change Servings
  • PREP

    15 mins
  • COOK

    45 mins

    1 hr 20 mins


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Stir in brown sugar, pineapple juice, and dark rum. Cook over medium-low heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture is bubbling, about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and spread pineapple slices in a layer over the brown sugar mixture, completely covering the mixture. Set skillet aside.
  4. Melt 1/2 cup butter in small skillet over low heat until the butter begins to brown and release a nutty fragrance, about 5 minutes. Watch carefully, butter burns easily. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
  5. Whisk together flour, cardamom, salt, baking powder, and white sugar in a large bowl. Whisk in egg and cold milk until just combined. Pour in melted butter and stir to mix thoroughly.
  6. Pour batter over the pineapple slices in the skillet; spread evenly to cover.
  7. Bake in preheated oven until the cake begins to bubble around the edges, the top is browned, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool in the skillet for 10 minutes.
  8. Loosen the cake from the skillet by running a knife around the inside edge of the cake. Invert a large plate over the top of the skillet and flip over, releasing the cake to show the pineapple slices on top.
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Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Mar 20, 2012

UNBELIEVABLE!! This cake is absolutely amazing and so easy to make. It was gone in 10 minutes at my house. Very earthy and fulfilling. I'll be making this again and again...It is "The perfect desert"

Most Helpful Critical Review
Mar 28, 2012

Sorry- I thought the cake was dry. There are other recipes I find much more moist and have more flavour. The cardamom did not add the "special" element I thought it would.

Mar 20, 2012

So I watched the video of this recipe that was posted on the home page, and decided to try it...Had to improvise a bit (apologies to you review purists) used Capt. Morgans spiced rum and had no pineapple juice since I used pre-sliced fresh pineapple in a plastic container and it had a little sponge on the bottom which stole all the juice. Subbed OJ. Subbed a few dashes of cinnamon and nutmeg for cardamom (personal preference). My skillet was a bit larger than 12 inches, so my batter just barely covered the pineapple and cooked up in about 20-25 minutes. Very tasty - very buttery

Mar 20, 2012

I was surprised by this, because I expected the dough to be liquidy, as usual for cake. The dough was actually very thick, almost knead-able, even after I added a splash more of milk to try and loosen it up a little. But, I gamely spread the dough on the fruit-and-sugar in the skillet, and baked it... and it came out DELICIOUS. As a note, I used coconut sugar in place of the brown sugar in the topping, and a third of a cup of agave instead of the half cup of sugar in the cake itself. Worked just fine.

Apr 12, 2012

Great, reminds me of my mom's cast iron pineapple upside down cake. Only difference I have made in recipe is to use canned unsweetened pineapple slices with a maraschino cherry placed in the center of the slices and Splenda brown sugar blend for brown sugar. Also do not have cardamon and used dash of cinnamon. Great recipe Chef John!

Apr 08, 2012

I was looking so forward to trying this recipe I even bought a cast-iron skillet! I don't know if I did something wrong (I can't see that I did), but it was disappointing. It looked pretty, just like the photo, but the cake was dry and didn't have much flavor.

Apr 23, 2012

What no cayenne? Have not made yet just surprised to see Chef John and no cayenne pepper. i will updated tonight when i make it ****UPdate***This was a great cake, i only gave it 4 stars because i think i wanted a little more cake, i will make again i think that i will double the cake part. the cardamom was a nice flavor and went well with the brown sugar and pineapple. I ment to add some pineapple juice to the batter but forgot thank you chef john

Apr 20, 2012

This was quite good, but I'm sorry to say that I likes the box mix version my brother made for me better. He used a yellow cake mix (substituting applesauce for the oil - cake was really moist - but of course with a brown sugar & butter topping it still wasn't low fat). The fresh ingredients worked fine, but it was on the dense side as most scratch cakes are.


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  • Calories
  • 263 kcal
  • 13%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 35.9 g
  • 12%
  • Cholesterol
  • 47 mg
  • 16%
  • Fat
  • 12.3 g
  • 19%
  • Fiber
  • 0.6 g
  • 2%
  • Protein
  • 2.7 g
  • 5%
  • Sodium
  • 274 mg
  • 11%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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