(See below for book spread and text recipe and instructions)

Recipes for this and other “upside-down cakes” began appearing in America in the 1920s, America, and their popularity has continued into the 21st century, for good reason. Upside-down cakes are simple, stunning, and taste as good as they look. You can whip up this festive showstopper in just thirty minutes. My mother learned to make it from her mother, and I have taken over the tradition now that she is no longer around to make it for our family gatherings. Her special twist, which is missing from most recipes, is to pour the remaining pineapple juice over the top of the cake after baking, making it decadently sweet and moist. You’ll start by making a layer of bubbling brown caramel in the bottom of a cast iron skillet or other baking dish, followed by a decorative layer of fruit, and lastly the oozing cake batter. Bake until set, flip it out onto a tray, and you’re on your way to the party!

Cake

1 ½ cup Redeemer flour 

¼ cup butter

¼ cup pineapple juice

¼ cup milk or water

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

¼ teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

Topping

¼ cup butter

½ cup packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon water

1 pound canned or fresh pineapple rings

8 ounces Maraschino cherries

Note: Many recipes call for you to cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer.  I prefer to add the sugar to the wet mix, because it dissolves completely. It’s just simpler and easier and yields better results. This is what we did for all the cakes at our bakery.

  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. Cut or drain pineapple and cherries. 
  3. Add ¼ cup butter, brown sugar and water in a 10-inch cast iron skillet.
  4. Cook over medium high heat until sugar is thoroughly dissolved and liquid is bubbling.
  5. Arrange pineapple rings edge-to-edge until they fill the pan. Place maraschino cherries in the center of each ring. Allow to cool. 
  6. Combine pineapple juice, milk (or water) in a measuring cup. 
  7. Heat to about 110-120º,  and add sugar, butter. Stir until dissolved, then add eggs. Take care not to overheat and curdle the eggs. 
  8. Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  9. Add ¾ of the wet mixture to the dry mixture, stir for 5-10 seconds, then add remaining mixture. 
  10. Pour batter into a pan and transfer to oven.
  11. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a knife blade comes out clean.
  12. Allow to cool for 30 minutes. Run a knife or spatula along the edge to loosen the cake from the skillet, then turn out onto a plate.