We're going retro today, and I'm loving it...canned fruit and all. Pineapple Upside Down Cake is bright and cheery, and just what I needed in my life to celebrate the arrival of Spring. Beside that, going more than a week or two without baking a cake makes me ache inside.
I was inspired to make this cake after reading this article on King Arthur Flour's website. I liked what they had to say about baking the cake without the marachino cherries, and then adding them right after baking while the cake is still warm. I am inclined to agree with their conclusion. By baking the cake with only the pineapple on the bottom of the pan, there is a lot more surface area of cake to absorb the brown sugary glaze. The cake ends up to be much more moist, and then you can just add the cherries to the top of the warm cake when you take it out of the oven. Either way, it's a delicious cake, no matter when you decide to arrange the cherries. (Truthfully, I could take or leave the cherries all together. I love the pineapple on its own too.)
As for the cake... I have long held the opinion that the very best, most decadent and delicious cakes are made with buttermilk or sour cream. I also feel that cakes with either buttermilk or sour cream in them are at their very best texture and flavor the next day. That being said, I used buttermilk in this cake recipe, and you won't be disappointed. Feel free to make it the night before your next gathering if you want to save on some time. I do quite love it fresh and warm from the oven though too. So put on your polka dots and break out your favorite vintage cake carrier. It's cake time.
A Party Without Cake is Just a Meeting. ~ Julia Child
If you really want to embrace the original technique for Pineapple Upside Down Cake, you'll bake it in a skillet. It works splendidly since you can just melt the butter right in the skillet for the topping. Be careful not to burn yourself on the hot handle though, especially when you're inverting it onto a serving plate. I used my beloved aluminum skillet that I found in Italy. It has a hefty handle that is removable, so I can just remove the handle while it is in the oven. Cast iron skillets work really well too. Just be sure whatever you use will be deep enough to contain the cake. I would recommend about 9-inches in diameter and 2-inches deep. You could also use a round cake pan if you prefer.