pineapple upside down cake

My potter friend Meredith Heywood (Whynot Pottery) posted this on her blog several years ago, kicking off a conversation about hand-me-down recipes. Turns out we both had grandparents and parents who baked this same recipe in a cast iron skillet. This cake accompanied the spaghetti with meat sauce for my birthday's and was almost always served at Gray family reunions. It's very easy, reminiscent of simpler times, and a great dessert to take to covered dish suppers. I mix up the cake batter in a bowl with a spoon or whisk, or use the stand mixer.

Here we go ----- step by step

Preheat oven to 375F.

While preheating, toss a stick of butter in a cast iron skillet (No. 8, 10 5/8” diameter) and place in the oven until the butter melts.

Once melted, add 1 cup of brown sugar (I prefer dark) to the melted butter and mix together with a wooden spoon.


While waiting for the butter to melt and the oven to preheat, mix together 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 3 eggs, 1 tsp. of baking powder, 1 tsp. of pineapple juice and 1 tsp. of vanilla.

Place the rings from 1 (20 oz.) can of pineapple rings on top of the melted butter and brown sugar mixture in the cast iron skillet. Break up some of the rings to fill in the holes. Pour the cake mixture on top of all that and bake for approximately half an hour. Check with a toothpick and when it comes out clean it's done. Place a large plate on top of the skillet and flip it over so the cake is transferred to the plate. Be careful! That skillet is hot! Use pot holders or oven gloves!

We bake this here at home very often, especially when friends are coming over or when we have birthday's to celebrate, or for no reason at all other than we just want to. Baking in the cast iron skillet does make a difference. I'm not sure why, maybe it's because of all the bacon that has been cooked in there over the years :-)