Grandma’s Pineapple Upside Down Cake

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Indulge in this classic Pineapple Upside Down Cake, just like your grandma used to make it! A classic brown sugar crust with a light vanilla cake. 

Indulge in this classic Pineapple Upside Down Cake, just like your grandma used to make it! A classic brown sugar crust with a light vanilla cake.

I know some of you are living in a climate where it must be unbearable to turn on your ovens right now. It is especially hot at the lake this week, but the evenings are nice and cool, and it’s the perfect time to prepare a dessert.

Indulge in this classic Pineapple Upside Down Cake, just like your grandma used to make it! A classic brown sugar crust with a light vanilla cake.

A few weeks ago, my mom came to visit and I thought it would be the ideal time for us to prepare one of my grandmothers cakes together. She sent me this Pineapple Upside Down Cake awhile bake, but as it was my first upside down cake, I wasn’t certain I would be able to achieve it on my first try.

Indulge in this classic Pineapple Upside Down Cake, just like your grandma used to make it! A classic brown sugar crust with a light vanilla cake.

Together we deciphered my grandmother’s recipe, who’s instruction were lacking a bit. Between the two of us, we made some assumptions and everything turned out awesome. Grandma’s recipe called for two cups of brown sugar for the bottom of the cake. Now I know that grandma liked her sugar, but this was a bit of an overkill. So we reduced the sugar and proceeded on.

There was not a whole lot of flour in the recipe and even I questioned if it was going to work. There were no notes to whip the egg whites, which we determined was needed in to order to add a bit of height to the batter.

Indulge in this classic Pineapple Upside Down Cake, just like your grandma used to make it! A classic brown sugar crust with a light vanilla cake.

Whipping the egg whites was an important part that grandma failed to mention! This process adds dimension and structure to the batter and is used as a leavening agent. When the egg whites are combined with the flour and baking soda, it is important to fold the ingredients together gently so as not to deflate the egg whites. Use a spatula and turn the ingredients over and stir gently together.

Indulge in this classic Pineapple Upside Down Cake, just like your grandma used to make it! A classic brown sugar crust with a light vanilla cake.

Needless to say, after a couple trial and errors, we popped the cake in the oven and  hoped for the best. Thirty-five or so minutes later, I turned the skillet oven and held my breath. “Looks like a pineapple upside down cake,” I said. After the first two bites, I thought I had done grandma proud. She would have served this at one of her dinners for sure.

Indulge in this classic Pineapple Upside Down Cake, just like your grandma used to make it! A classic brown sugar crust with a light vanilla cake.

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Indulge in this classic Pineapple Upside Down Cake, just like your grandma used to make it! A classic brown sugar crust with a light vanilla cake.

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Grandma’s Pineapple Upside Down Cake

  • Author: Julianne Bayer
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 9" cake

Ingredients

  • 1/2 C Unsalted butter
  • 1 C Light brown sugar
  • 68 Pineapple slices
  • 4 Large eggs, separated
  • 1 C Sugar
  • 1 C All-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp Baking powder
  • Cherries, optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. In a large, 9-inch skillet, melt butter in the oven while it’s preheating. Remove from oven and stir in brown sugar; mix until well combined. Line the bottom of the skillet with pineapple slices.
  3. Beat egg whites on medium-high speed, slowly adding sugar until medium stiff peaks form.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks until light and fluffy. Add flour and baking powder and mix until combine. Gently fold in egg-whites, turning the batter over and over with a spatula.
  5. Once batter is well mixed, pour batter in the skillet. Bake at 350° F 30-35 minutes until lightly golden brown on top. Test the cake for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the middle of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done.
  6. Allow cake to rest for 10-15 minutes. Gently run a knife around the edges of the cake. Put a plate on top of the skillet, and use two hands and invert the cake onto the plate. You may need to tap the bottom of the cake to help release from the pan. Top with fresh cherries.
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Other recipes you might like:

Peach Bourbon Pound Cake

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Recipes from my friends:

Pineapple Coconut Bars from Life Love and Sugar

Pineapple Upside down Milkshake from Grandbaby Cakes

Pineapple Cupcakes from The First Year Blog

13 Responses
  1. Candice

    Your intro says it is a “light vanilla cake”. I see no vanilla in the recipe ~ but I guess it could just be added.

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Candice, you are correct, there is no actual vanilla in this recipe, but because of the brown sugar, the cake is vanilla-like

  2. Trish - Mom On Timeout

    Oooh! I love family recipes and this cake looks perfect! I have so many recipes from my Nana that I have to “interpret” because the directions are not complete – at least not to me 😉 Love that you figured this all out!

  3. Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel

    I’m totally jealous of your family recipes! I wish we had stuff like that. This cake looks so awesome!

  4. Lindsay @ Life, Love and Sugar

    I love pineapple upside down cake! This looks delish and I love that it’s your grandmother’s recipe 🙂

  5. Danae @ Recipe Runner

    This made me laugh. My grandma’s recipes are also rather vague on instructions leaving me guessing what she really wanted done. It looks like you and your mom did a great job on the cake, it looks delicious!

  6. Catherine

    I love pineapple upside down cake, and I love discovering new ways to make it. This looks and sounds beautiful. A definite must-try this summer. xo, Catherine

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