By Heidi Sutton
Imagine an old-fashioned dessert that is reminiscent of a simpler time … an airy, buttery vanilla cake with a beautiful caramelized brown sugar topping sweetened with pineapple rings and maraschino cherries. Of course I’m referring to the classic Pineapple Upside Down Cake, the bright flavored spring and summer dessert perfect for casual family dinners and special occasions.
The cake became popular in the United States in the mid-1920s after Dole Pineapple Company sponsored a contest for pineapple recipes and received over 2,500 submissions. The winner was a Pineapple Upside-Down Cake recipe submitted by Mrs. Robert Davis from Norfolk, Virginia. Dole published the recipe in an advertisement, which increased the cake’s popularity.
In honor of National Pineapple Upside Down Cake Day on April 20, here is a recipe for the retro classic dessert that is as delicious today as it was decades ago. The directions call for a large cast-iron skillet. However, you can use any non-stick baking round pan. The cake can be served warm or cold.
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
YIELD: Makes 8 servings
2/3 cup margarine, divided
2/3 cup packed brown sugar, divided
1 can (20 ounces) Dole Pineapple Slices
10 maraschino cherries
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
2 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
Heat oven to 350° F. In 10-inch cast-iron skillet, melt 1/3 cup margarine. Remove from heat. Add brown sugar and stir until blended.
Drain pineapple slices; reserve 2 tablespoons syrup. Arrange pineapple slices in sugar mixture. Place cherry in center of each slice.
Beat remaining 1/3 cup margarine with 1/2 cup granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks, lemon peel, lemon juice and vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Blend into creamed mixture alternately with sour cream and reserved pineapple syrup.
Beat egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually beat in remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar to make stiff meringue. Fold into batter. Pour over pineapple in skillet.
Bake 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes, then invert onto serving plate.