Last Bite of Summer: Pineapple Upside Down Cake (and Cupcakes)


We have already bid a fond adieu to summer, here in Copenhagen and are getting used to the cloudy skies and the crisp air that are common trademarks of the Danish autumn. But I couldn’t resist making one last summery treat before getting around to the winter warmers.

Pineapple Upside Down cake is one of those retro desserts that you either hate or love, there are no in-betweens. What separates this version from the rest is that it is made with beurre noisette or brown butter. Beurre Noisette is butter that is browned till it lets off a nutty aroma. But this description does nothing to explain the sheer awesomeness that is beurre noisette.

You will be hooked the first time you smell it. If you ever hear it mentioned in a random conversation or on a TV show, you will smile with fond memories of the last time you tasted it. Trust me, it’s that good.

This recipe is from Chef John. He even has a video showing the recipe step-by-step. I omitted the cardamom powder and the dark rum, but followed the rest of the recipe. I have made this cake quite a few times and it has been perfect every time. And it comes with the added excitement of turning the baking skillet upside down and waiting to see the perfectly caramelized  pineapple slices on top of the cake!

Homemade caramel, sweet, juicy pineapple and a buttery, crumbly, cake. What’s not to love?


For good measure, I also made some Pineapple Upside Down cupcakes using the same recipe. The only change to the recipe was that I made the caramel in a saucepan and added it into a muffin pan. The remaining steps are the same.

Make these today and treat yourself to some sunshine!

Here’s the recipe:

(Makes 1 12-inch cake or 12 cupcakes)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 45 minutes


For the topping:

1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon pineapple juice
1/2 small fresh pineapple – peeled, cored and sliced

For the cake:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup cold milk

Candied Cherries (optional)


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Melt 1/4 cup butter in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Stir in the brown sugar and pineapple juice. Cook over medium-low heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture is bubbling, about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and spread pineapple slices in a layer over the brown sugar mixture, completely covering the mixture. Set skillet aside.
Melt 1/2 cup butter in small skillet over low heat until the butter begins to brown and release a nutty fragrance, about 5 minutes. Watch carefully, butter burns easily. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and white sugar in a large bowl. Whisk in egg and cold milk until just combined. Pour in melted butter and stir to mix thoroughly.
Pour batter over the pineapple slices in the skillet; spread evenly to cover.
Bake in preheated oven until the cake begins to bubble around the edges, the top is browned, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool in the skillet for 10 minutes.
Loosen the cake from the skillet by running a knife around the inside edge of the cake. Invert a large plate over the top of the skillet and flip over, releasing the cake to show the pineapple slices on top.

Decorate with a few candied cherries, if desired.

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6 thoughts on “Last Bite of Summer: Pineapple Upside Down Cake (and Cupcakes)

  1. Teresa September 30, 2012 at 3:52 AM Reply

    You are an artist in the kitchen! Very beautiful stuff.


  2. Bini September 30, 2012 at 10:59 AM Reply

    Gorgeous pictures.


  3. […] as it uses Beurre Noisette. I have already described my love affair with Beurre Noisette in this post. So I won’t go into conniptions over it again, but suffice to say, the recipe called out to […]


  4. […] Photo via Spice in the City […]


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