This Pineapple Cake Recipe Will Almost Make You Forget Chocolate

The Last Time I Was Craving Chocolate Cake

I was craving chocolate cake one cold, January night, so I set out to try a new recipe. As I searched high and wide throughout the pantry, I finally came to terms with the fact that someone in the house had used all of my unsweetened cocoa powder. I'd already set out every other ingredient that I needed to bake the cake and lined them up on the kitchen counter. It was twenty degrees, 9:00 pm and pitch-black outside, so there was no way I was going to Kroger. Yes, my Amazon friends, I checked. It was too late for grocery delivery, and all of the final order times for the restaurants on DoorDash had already passed for the night. I would have no chocolate for cake. As I scanned the kitchen in defeat, I zoomed in - reluctantly, on the pineapple at the edge of the counter.

Hmm. Other than an occasional apple pie, I don't do fruit for dessert. In my world, fruit is strictly for breakfast. Peach cobbler might as well be topped with granola and served with my morning yogurt. The one thing about me that is unlikely to ever change is that, when given a choice, I will always choose the chocolate.

In Search of An Amazing Non-Chocolate Dessert

When desperate in the middle of the night, I will try an alternative to chocolate cake. In this case, a pineapple was all I had in the kitchen. The craving was bad, so I decided to go for it. I grabbed my old standard - the official Betty Crocker cookbook that my mom gave to me because I was 100% certain that, because it was old, there would be a pineapple dessert recipe inside. Sure nuff. Pineapple Upside Down Cake. I wasn't quite sure if a pineapple dessert would actually satisfy my craving. At the time, I thought maybe I'd just bake it, eat a tiny piece to get me through and serve it in the morning for breakfast. Low and behold (as my grandma used to say), it is one of the best desserts I have EVER tasted. The four of us finished the entire cake that night.

The Best Pineapple Upside Down Cake Recipe . . . Ever


1/4 cup butter

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

Fresh or canned pineapple (if fresh, slice it about 1/4 inch thick and cook it on each side at a low temperature for about two minutes, until the pineapple caramelizes a bit)

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup shortening

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup milk

1 egg

  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees.

  2. Melt butter in a 9x9 inch pan or a 10-inch cast iron skillet, making sure butter coats bottom & sides.

  3. Sprinkle brown sugar in the bottom of the pan.

  4. Lay pineapple slices on top of the brown sugar. Turn off the burner.

  5. Mix all remaining ingredients together in a large bowl on high speed for three minutes (be sure to stop a few times to scrape the bottom and sides).

  6. Pour batter into the skillet covering all of the pineapple.

  7. Bake for 50-55 minutes until golden brown.

  8. If you want to flip out the cake, then do so immediately when you pull it from the oven. Grab a heat-proof plate and turn it upside. Leave covered for a few seconds to allow all of the brown sugar and butter to drip into the cake.

  9. If you're afraid to make the flip, no worries. Flipping is not required because it's so good that you'll want to eat it straight from the skillet. The buttery, chewy pineapple-y edges are the best part.

Besides being absolutely delicious, I love this recipe because it can be made with a skillet and a single bowl. Chefs of the world, it doesn't require 17 ingredients, three bowls and four spoons to make a great dessert at home. Go back to the basics and embrace a few old recipes - with the exception of one thing: the recipe says you can place cherries in the center of your pineapple rings. Pineapple rings? Maraschino cherries? Uh no, that's a little too old fashioned for me. The recipe already calls for shortening for God's sake. Let's go for modern pineapple slices, and omit the great-grandma cherries.




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© 2021 by Shai Littlejohn