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Pecan Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

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Serves ten to twelve.

The classic upside-down cake is even better when made with fresh pineapple and a buttermilk batter enriched with ground pecans.

  • 7 oz. (14 Tbs.) unsalted butter at room temperature; more for the pan
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs. packed light or dark brown sugar
  • Six to eight 1/4-inch-thick fresh pineapple rings
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup pecan halves
  • 1/2 cup lightly toasted pecan pieces
  • 5-1/2 oz. (1-1/4 cups) cake flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs. buttermilk
Tip:
Pineapple Rings? Check out our technique for making picture-perfect rings.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 10x2-inch round cake pan or 10-inch cast-iron skillet.

Combine 6 Tbs. of the butter with the brown sugar in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking until the butter is melted, the sugar is dissolved, and the mixture is smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and immediately pour the mixture in the bottom of the prepared pan, tilting to evenly cover the surface.

Set one pineapple ring in the center of the pan. Surround it with several other rings, packing them tightly or even overlapping them slightly. Cut the remaining rings in quarters or sixths and fill in the spaces around the perimeter of the pan. Set a pecan half, curved side down, in the center of each pineapple ring. If you like, fill in any additional spaces with pecan halves, curved sides down. (You may not need all the pecans.)

Pecan Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Recipe
Pecan Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Recipe

Finely grind the toasted pecan pieces in a food processor but don’t overprocess or you’ll make pecan butter. In a small bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder, nutmeg, and baking soda. Add the salt and ground pecans, mix well, and reserve.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the remaining 8 Tbs. butter with the granulated sugar on medium speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, pausing to scrape the bowl. Mix in the vanilla. On low speed, alternate adding the dry ingredients and the buttermilk in five additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, scraping the bowl once or twice, and mixing until the batter is smooth. Pour the batter over the fruit and spread it evenly with a spatula.

Bake until the cake is golden brown and springs back when pressed lightly in the center with a fingertip, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Run the tip of a paring knife around the edge of the cake. Cover with a serving plate, and gripping both the cake and the plate, invert the two. Carefully lift off the cake pan, rearranging the fruit if necessary. Allow the cake to cool completely before serving.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on 12 servings; Calories (kcal): 360; Fat (g): 20; Fat Calories (kcal): 180; Saturated Fat (g): 9; Protein (g): 3; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 7; Carbohydrates (g): 43; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): 115; Cholesterol (mg): 70; Fiber (g): 1;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Every year on my son's birthday, he requests Fine Cooking's carrot cake. This year I made this pineapple upside-down cake and it has now become his new favorite as well as mine. I absolutely loved it!

This is the best I have ever had I absolutely love it, it is definitely a keeper. I should be able to use other Fruits under it should also be good. Thank you for this is Great.

Today is my 50th birthday, and this is the cake I am baking to celebrate! I live near two excellent bakeries, but nothing can top this. Pineapple upside-down cake is one of my absolute favorites. I've experimented with recipes for years. This one is perfection. I've made it since it first appeared in 2007, and if I make it through the next half-century, I'll blow out the candles on this cake for my 100th!

As a nut case (so to speak) who objects to pieces of nuts in baked goods, I'd been searching for a long time for a cake with ground pecans in the batter. And, for years I've tried making a satisfying pineapple upside-down cake. This recipe filled the bill on both counts, and I really like it. The cake itself is far more interesting than the usual bland one that makes up pineapple upside-down cake. Even though I knew from experience that the pecans could turn to butter, mine were just marginally dry enough, and I didn't want to start all over with the toasting, so I went ahead. That may be a reason that a very small center portion of the cake (1-1/2 inches in diameter, perhaps) didn't seem as done as I'd liked. But the rest had a great texture. I used fresh pineapple slices and in hindsight probably should have paper-toweled them dry before using. That little wetness may have caused the center to seem a little underdone. I thought at first that I didn't have a 10-inch pan, but then realized that I have a pretty scalloped 10-1/2-inch pan from Ross that I use for flan, and it was perfect -- and made a very pretty cake. I think next time I'll try making the same cake with a caramel icing and without the pineapple topping.

Toasted pecans are a pleasant addition to an old favorite cake. I used extra butter (1 cube) & a little extra brown sugar to make more caramel sauce. Also added a bit of pineapple juice to the sauce. Lastly, I cut the pineapple into spears about 5" long x 1" wide x 1/4" deep (about the same as a ring) and made a starburst design instead of cutting rings. I started making pineapple upside down cake with my mother at about 8 yrs old. 45 years later, I finally found an adaptation worth adopting. Those ground toasted pecans are delicious and the cake is very light and moist. My daughter in law has already asked for the recipe to add to her repertoire.

I need clarification of the measurement of an ingredient. It calls for 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons of light or dark brown sugar. However, it doesn't specify if the brown sugar should be a packed measure or a "soft" measure. I chose to interpret it as a packed measure. Also, because a 10-inch cake pan was impossible to find in our small town, I used a 10-inch Pyrex casserole and baked it for 45 minutes. The flavor was excellent, although the center seemed a bit more moist--not undercooked. The next day it was even more soggy, and today, the third day, really wet. So--my questions are: (1) should the brown sugar be packed when measured, and (2) would the Pyrex casserole have affected the outcome? Having asked that, I have ordered a 10-inch x 2-inch cake pan and will try it again, but I would really like to know about the brown sugar measurement. If the texture improves after receiving the clarification and on the second try at making the cake, I will rate the recipe 5 stars.

Very moist cake, rich, fresh pineapple gives a nice contrast to the cake flavours.

Love this version of an old Favorite! It will definitely replace my old recipe. And maybe get a spot in one of my bakery cases.

I've been baking and cooking since my age was "single digit". Years ago, I remember a pineapple upside down cake recipe in an old McCalls cookbook. At the age of 9 I thought this dessert sounded so fancy and unique. Well, at the age of 52 I made my very first version, from Fine Cooking. It was last nights dessert, and this morning's breakfast! We loved it. The nutmeg and ground toasted pecans gave this cake wonderful flavor and texture. My only deviation was to use slices of well drained pineapple rings from the can.

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