May 1, 2011

Pineapple almond upside-down cake

 I'm normally a huge fan of pineapple (my mother always soaked fresh pineapple in brine "to get the dirt out" before serving it to us as children, which I absolutely hated and left me with a lifelong wariness of the fruit), but I confess I do have a soft spot for sweet, sticky, caramel classic - pineapple upside down cake.

Here's an adaption of a great recipe that I tested out from the BBC Good Food Cookbook which gives you a simple soft sponge cake topped with crunchy caramel, sweet-tart pineapple, and nutty roasted almonds. I've adjusted the recipe to fit a 8"/20cm square pan, but if you want to make a slightly larger, taller, cake , simply double and bake in a 22cm square or 20cm round baking pan.

I also got rid of the maraschino/glacé cherries as a topping, as I've always been slightly grossed out by their glaringly gaudy artificial redness and their cloying sweetness. But of course, each to his/her own, so feel free to add them if you like. Just don't tell me. :)


  • 40g butter, softened/room temperature
  • 40g soft brown sugar (muscavado)
  • 40g toasted almonds
  • enough pineapple slices or chunks to decorate the base of your baking pan (round slices are traditional and more presentable, but I had some pineapple chunks left over from making carrot cake so I used those instead)
Sponge cake batter
  • 125g butter, softened/room temperature
  • 100g brown sugar (muscavado) 
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g plain flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 30g ground almonds 
  • 1 tbsp pineapple juice (or juices from the can)

Oven:  Preheated at 190C(375F)/170C (155F) fan

First, preheat your oven as specified above and prepare the topping. The topping will go into the pan first.
    1. Cream the butter and brown sugar. Spread it liberally on the bottom and sides of your pan. No nonstick spray or baking paper needed - the butter mixture here will ensure that your cake does not stick to the pan.
    2. Distribute your flaked almonds evenly on the bottom and sides of the pan. The almonds should stick to the brown sugar-butter mixture. 
    3. Put your pineapple slices/bits in the pan. Place the bits carefully as this will be the top part of your cake after you invert it after baking. 
    4. Put the prepared pan in the fridge to chill while you prepare the sponge cake batter. This is so the sugar-butter mixture does not melt and the almonds stuck on the sides do not slide back down into a lump at the bottom of your pan.

Next, prepare your sponge cake batter. This is simple. Just dump all the ingredients listed above for the batter, and mix until combined (and no lumps of butter are visible).

Third step is easy too. Just spread the batter on top of your prepared pan.

It should look something like this - a bit sludgy, but trust me, it will turn from the ugly duckling into a beautiful swan after baking in the oven for about 50min - 1 hour. Check on the cake after 35-40 minutes to make sure it isn't too hot and to avoid any burnt bits. Lower the temp slightly if necessary.

After you take it out the oven, let rest for a few minutes and then invert. The edges should have crispy butter caramel crunch and your pineapple should be soft and sweetly tart. The sponge cake should also be soft and mild.

Serve warm with plain/Greek yoghurt, ice cream or custard.

1 comment:

  1. Looks super gorgeous! I really admire people who do their own baking of food! I haven't done any ever since back to HK, no oven and can't be bothered buying a small one!

    And I love following this blog nowadays too, the pastry chef is so talented, from 4 Seasons!

    Problem is, some of the stuff he makes, we can't buy it haha! damn :X