Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

     Pineapple upside down cake is the quintessential dutch oven dessert.  It was the first cake I attempted to make in my dutch oven.  I remember feeling so proud of that first glistening, although somewhat lopsided, sweet concoction that I baked outside.  Upside down cakes are popular because they are fairly forgiving cooked over coals, the caramelized sugar tends to mask any hot spots.  Made with a cake mix they are relatively easy and convenient for camping.  This classic dessert has stood the test of time, what could be better than a warm, moist slice of pineapple upside down cake cooked in your dutch oven? 
     This recipe is from Cooking from Quilt Country by Marsha Adams.  It uses crushed pineapple which makes it much easier for slicing but you could also substitute pineapple slices if you want to keep the wow factor.  I made this in my 10 inch oven with about 10 coals on the bottom and 20 on top.  I rotated the oven every 10 minutes, it was done in about 30 minutes when a toothpick inserted in the center came out clean.  If you have the time to make it from scratch, you won't be disappointed.  This is a dense, buttery cake,  it did not rise quite as high as a boxed mix but the old fashioned flavor more than made up for it.  Line your dutch oven with parchment paper for easy removal and clean up.  If you don't have any handy, place a cookie sheet or large plate over your oven and carefully flip the cake onto the plate.  I didn't have any mace on hand so substituted with a sprinkling of nutmeg. 

Pineapple Upside Down Cake
1 20 oz. can sweetened, crushed pineapple
1/4 cup (1 half stick) butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cups sifted, unbleached, all purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground mace
1/3 stick (2/3 cup) softened butter
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg

     Lightly spray bottom and sides of 10 inch dutch oven.  Line with parchment paper.  Melt half stick of butter in second dutch oven or over stove.  Pour melted butter over parchment paper in oven.  Add brown sugar to the melted butter and blend.  Drain pineapple well; discard liquid.  Spread the drained pineapple evenly over the sugar mixture, but do not mix.  Set aside.
               In a mixing bowl resift the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and mace.  Add the softened butter, milk, and vanilla.  Beat on low speed for 1 1/2 minutes, then add the egg and beat 1 1/2 minutes longer.
     Spread the batter evenly over the pineapple with a rubber spatula.  The batter is quite thick.  Bake for 35 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.  Remove from oven, loosen edges with knife, and invert immediately on a platter.  Let cool before serving. 

Spread pineapple over melted butter and brown sugar.
Spread batter evenly over topping.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

Brown sugar oozing into the cake, couldn't wait for it to cool.


  1. Looks good. When I read you didn't have any mace I thought you ment pepper spray. I'm sure Mr Sweet tooth enjoyed it!

  2. Just a note about the butter. The original recipe by Marcia Adams called for 1/3 cup of butter, which is 5 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon, or about 2/3 of a stick.