Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Recipe by Liz Sempervive, Executive Chef of the Millstone Café 

N. C. Wyeth (1882 - 1945), The Recipe Book, 1933, oil on canvas. 48 1/8 × 52 1/8 in. Bequest of Carolyn Wyeth, 1996


Enjoy a little slice of Americana when you take a bite of this simple and yummy dessert! Before we had canned pineapple slices, people would make skillet cake and bake it over the fire. Whenever I make pineapple upside-down cake, I use my 9-inch cast iron pan. You can use any sliced fruit that you have available and any baking dish that has a 2-inch high side. Sliced and peeled peaches or apples would be a great substitute for the pineapple slices. If you’re like me, you may have last summer’s fruit still preserved to be eaten. In early spring, it’s a real treat to bake a dessert with the fresh taste of last summer! 


1/2 cup light brown sugar
(1) 8-ounce can pineapple rings in pineapple juice
1/2 cup pineapple juice (reserved from the can)
10-15 maraschino cherries
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
8 Tbs butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs


Pre heat your oven to 350°F. 

As your oven heats up, line a baking dish (I use a 9-inch cast iron pan, but you can use any baking dish with 2-inch high sides) with the pineapple slices in one even layer. Start with one in the center of the dish, then place enough around to fit the pan. You could slice some of the rounds into half circles and line the sides of the dish as well! Place maraschino cherries at the center of each slice and in between the pineapple rounds. Sprinkle brown sugar all over the top of the fruit. Set the dish aside while you mix your cake batter. 

For the batter: whisk together the dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar, then add the eggs one at a time, being sure to incorporate each egg fully before you add the next. With the mixer on low speed, alternate adding the pineapple juice and flour mixture in three rounds. 

Dollop the batter onto the fruit in the baking dish. Its a very thick batter, so adding a spoonful at a time is best. Using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon, carefully spread the batter into an even layer. 

Bake in the oven at 350­­°F for 45 minutes or until it tests clean with a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake. 

Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes. Use a butter knife to go around the edge of the cake to remove it gently from the sides of the pan. Presentation is everything for this cake!

Now for the tricky part: To remove the warm cake from the baking dish, place the serving dish upside down on top of the cake and flip it all over so the bottom of the cake is now the top and your plate is the correct side up. Use oven mitts to handle the warm cake pan. Letting gravity do the work, slowly remove the cake pan from the serving dish and voilà! . . . you'll have a beautiful dessert for all of your dinner guests.

Liz Sempervive is the Executive Chef of the Millstone Café and Catering at the Brandywine River Museum of Art. She hopes to bring nourishment to everyone through her scratch cooking, classic dishes and rustic cuisine. Chef Liz is passionate about food accessibility and supporting our local food systems. She believes that collective healing begins with sharing a meal between friends. Her accomplishments include being awarded "Best New Chef, 2019" in Main Line Today magazine and participating as a contestant on Food Network’s Chopped.