Summertime Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Yields Serves 8 to 10
Pineapple-upside down cake with whipped cream and cherry compote.
A summer-y pineapple-upside down cake is that much easier to make when you use pre-cut fruit. Top it with whipped cream and cherry compote.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)
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This recipe uses the convenient pre-cut pineapple from your grocery store’s deli section and transforms it into an elegant summertime treat. Almond paste helps provide a dense moistness to a cake that’s typically dry to balance the sweet fruit topping. It gets served with a dollop of whipped cream on the side and cherry jam on top to avoid having to meticulously place cherries in the pineapple. However, if it’s not a pineapple upside-down cake without the cherries studded in the mix, tuck a few under the cooled pineapple in the cake pan in Step 2, below, before chilling the fruit.


Grease an 8-inch cake pan with some butter, line the bottom with a round of parchment paper, then grease the paper.


Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pineapple, brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cook, tossing occasionally, until the sugar dissolves in the pineapple juices and reduces to a thick sauce, about 8 minutes. Scrape the pineapple and sugar syrup onto a plate, spread out in a single layer, and let cool to room temperature, about 10 minutes. Once the pineapple mixture is cool, transfer it to the bottom of the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer or arrange in concentric circles or tiled rows, whatever you like. Place the pan in the refrigerator to firm the syrup while you make the cake batter.


Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, the flour and baking powder.


Using your fingers, break apart the almond paste into small chunks and place them in the bowl of a stand mixer or large bowl. Add the remaining 6 tablespoons butter and mix on low speed until evenly combined, then increase the speed to medium and beat until pale and lightened in texture, about 3 minutes.


Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition until smooth before adding the next. Add the milk, lemon juice and vanilla extract, and beat until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low until just combined. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the bottom and side of the bowl to make sure the batter is well mixed.


Remove the prepared pan with the pineapple from the refrigerator. Dollop the batter evenly over the fruit so it doesn’t disturb it in the bottom of the pan, then gently smooth the top of the batter. Bake until the cake is lightly browned on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.


Transfer the cake pan to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto a wire rack, remove the pan, then carefully peel back and discard the parchment paper round, replacing any pineapple slices that may try to come off with the paper. Let the cake cool to room temperature before serving with whipped cream and a small dollop of cherry jam on top.