Pineapple upside-down cakes are familiar to most people and often seem associated with the 1970’s. My mother made hers in a heavy cast iron skillet and I loved to fight my brother for the candied cherries. My mom made sure that each piece had at least one cherry assigned to it, but it always seemed some cherries were bigger than others so my brother and I still found reasons to do battle.
The cake is believed to have gained popularity in the early 1900’s, although upside-down cakes were common during the late 19th century. Pineapple and maraschino cherries were both popular around 1920 and the first printed recipe occurred around this time.
This weekend my young nieces visited and I knew how much they enjoyed my mother’s pineapple upside-down cake. I was also feeling nostalgic and wanted some comfort food, so I dug through my cookbooks to find my recipe. I decided to try something different though. Instead of making it in a skillet, I decided to try making it as individual sized cakes using a large muffin pan. I figured this would ensure no fights over cherries since each cake had its own cherry on top.
The cake is easy to prepare and worked well in the muffin pan. The sauce on the bottom cooks up the side of the cake, so when the cake is turned out of the muffin pan it is drenched in the sticky goodness. My nieces loved them, who doesn’t enjoy getting their own personal cake? I will definetly make them again this way. Here is the recipe I use:
Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes
1/4 Cup Butter
2/3 Cup Packed Brown Sugar (I used dark)
1 Cup Chopped Pineapple
1 1/3 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1 Cup Sugar
1/3 Cup Shortening
3/4 Cup Milk
1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Teaspoon Lemon Zest
6 Maraschino Cherries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a small pan. Add brown sugar to melted butter and stir to dissolve, remove from heat. Using a large muffin tin (6 muffins, 3 1/2″ wide openings), distribute butter mixture evenly in each muffin opening. Place 1-2 tablespoons of pineapple in each opening, followed by a cherry pushed down into the center.
Beat remaining ingredients with an electric mix, scraping down the bowl as needed. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Pour batter evenly in each muffin opening.
Bake 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes our clean. Turn upside down onto a cookie sheet immediately. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.