Everyday Meals

Chef John's Pineapple Upside-Down Cake


  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pineapple juice
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum(Optional)
  • ½ small fresh pineapple – peeled, cored, and sliced
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1egg
  • ½ cup cold milk
  • Directions

  • Step 1

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).


  • Step 2

    Melt 1/4 cup butter in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Stir in brown sugar, pineapple juice, and dark rum. Cook over medium-low heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture is bubbling, about 5 minutes.

  • Step 3

    Remove from heat and spread pineapple slices in a layer over the brown sugar mixture, completely covering the mixture. Set skillet aside.

  • Step 4

    Melt 1/2 cup butter in small skillet over low heat until the butter begins to brown and release a nutty fragrance, about 5 minutes. Watch carefully, butter burns easily. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.

  • Step 5

    Whisk together flour, cardamom, salt, baking powder, and white sugar in a large bowl. Whisk in egg and cold milk until just combined. Pour in melted butter and stir to mix thoroughly.

  • Step 6

    Pour batter over the pineapple slices in the skillet; spread evenly to cover.

  • Step 7

    Bake in preheated oven until the cake begins to bubble around the edges, the top is browned, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool in the skillet for 10 minutes.

  • Step 8

    Loosen the cake from the skillet by running a knife around the inside edge of the cake. Invert a large plate over the top of the skillet and flip over, releasing the cake to show the pineapple slices on top.

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