I’m a big fan of classic pineapple upside down cake, but have often wondered how it would taste when made with fresh pineapple. I finally gave it a go, lightly poaching slices of fresh pineapple in a brown sugar-butter syrup until just tender. Admittedly, it’s a totally different cake, but it’s one I will make again and again. Tip: to save prep time, buy your pineapple already cored and sliced at the supermarket.

Makes one 9-inch cake, serving 10


Caramelized Pineapple Topping:

  • ¾ cup (162 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar, divided
  • 4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
  • 3/4 large pineapple, peeled, cored, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/3-inch slices

Sour Cream Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups (181 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (242 grams) sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla paste or extract
  • 8 tablespoons (113 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 large (100 grams) eggs


  • Toasted coconut flakes


Prepare the topping:

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350˚ Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 9-inch-diameter-by-3-inch-high round cake pan (don’t use a springform pan; the brown sugar topping might leak out during baking). Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper, cut to fit, and butter the paper.
  1. Sprinkle the brown sugar into a large skillet and top with the butter pieces, distributing them evenly. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon frequently, until the butter is melted. Add the pineapple slices and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pineapple is fork tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and, using a slotted spoon, transfer the pineapple slices to the prepared pan, arranging them in concentric circles as decoratively as possible. Pour the syrup over the pineapple slices.

Make the cake batter:

  1. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside.
  1. In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream and vanilla paste and set aside.
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium-high speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar and beat at high speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture is lightened in texture and color. Reduce the speed to medium and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. At low speed, add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating it with the sour cream mixture in two additions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix just until blended. Spoon the batter in large dollops over the pineapple. Smooth the batter into an even layer. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Set the pan on a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes.
  1. Run a thin knife around the edge of the pan. Using pot holders, very carefully invert the cake onto a cake plate or platter. Peel off the parchment paper, if necessary. Sprinkle the top of the cake with toasted coconut. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Recommended Equipment:

Crown 9 inch cake pan, 3″ Deep


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Tish Boyle
Tish Boylehttps://pastryathome.com
Tish Boyle is the Managing Editor of Pastry Arts Magazine, a food writer and cookbook author with expertise in baking, desserts and chocolate. A graduate of Smith College and La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine, Tish has written several dessert and baking books including Chocolate Passion, Diner Desserts, The Good Cookie, The Cake Book and Flavorful. Co-writing credits include Payard Desserts and the Grand Finales series of books.

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