Monday, November 1, 2010

Pineapple Skillet Cake

I reserved Rick Bayless' book "Everyday Mexican" from the library last week and found myself drooling over the recipes and pictures. Unsure of which recipe to make first, I ended up settling on the Pineapple Skillet Cake. The recipe seemed easy and straightforward, but it turned out to be a bit more challenging than I had originally anticipated. Here's how it went down:

I got 3 c. of fresh pineapple, butter and 1/2 c. of brown sugar ready:

The recipe calls for a large 10" oven-safe nonstick skillet, but I thought this would be the perfect recipe to use my cast iron skillet. If you don't own one of these, you really should consider getting one. When properly seasoned, they actually act like a nonstick pan, plus they work great on the stove or in the oven, and circulate and retain heat like it is their job. They are a true kitchen powerhouse.

Melt 6 Tbsp. of butter in the pan until it is browned. Be careful not to burn your butter! It took me about five or so minutes over medium heat.

Here's where it got confusing. The recipe says to move the browned butter to a bowl, then sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the pan, and then top with an even layer of the pineapple. Easy enough, but while prepping the other ingredients do you leave it on the heat or take it off?? The book wasn't clear at all, so I left it on for about two minutes, and then turned it off while I prepped the remainder of the ingredients. Turned out, I could have left it on for several more minutes.

The recipe called for plain yogurt or buttermilk. I had nonfat Greek yogurt which I substituted. I whisked in the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, but I wish I had gone with my gut and added some cinnamon to those dry ingredients first. The cake was good, but would have benefited from a little extra something.

The batter was rather thick, which scared me because the recipe instructions state to "pour" the cake batter onto the pineapple/brown sugar mixture. There was no pouring to be had here. Just some very careful placement.

Post-careful batter placement:

This was ready after 32 minutes in the oven.

I had to resist the urge not to eat all the stuck-to-the-pan pineapple. It was hard. Really hard.

This cake is billed as a healthier cake due to the inclusion of white whole wheat flour, but the 6 Tbsp. of butter tells a slightly different story. I would say that it's definitely healthier than any other pineapple upside down cake I've made. The dessert overall was pretty good, but next time I will definitely add cinnamon and try the buttermilk to see if it makes the batter a bit more pourable. The cake was moist and thin enough that there were super yummy caramelly pineapple pieces included in every bite.

Pineapple Skillet Upside-Down Cake
Serves 8
  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) butter, preferably unsalted
  • ½ cup brown sugar (I prefer the dark brown variety)
  • 3 cups ½-inch cubed, cleaned pineapple (you’ll need about ¾ of a medium) OR 3 cups (about 1 pound) fresh or IQF raspberries, black berries, blueberries or pitted cherries OR 3 cups cubed, cleaned apple, pear, peaches, nectarines or mango (1/2-inch cubes are good)
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour (or additional all-purpose flour)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 1 “large” egg
  • ¾ cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
  1. Turn on the oven to 375 degrees.  Melt the butter in a 10-inch skillet (preferably non-stick) with an ovenproof handle over medium heat.  Swirl the butter in the skillet until it turns nut-brown, then pour it into a large bowl.  Without wiping out the skillet, sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the bottom.  Top with an even layer of the fruit.
  2. In another large bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, soda and baking powder.  Add the white sugar to the browned butter and whisk until thoroughly combined.  Whisk in the egg, then the buttermilk or yogurt. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ones.  Whisk to thoroughly combine. 
  3. Pour the batter evenly over the fruit in the skillet.  Slide the skillet into the oven and bake 25 to 30 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and springy to the touch at the center.  Remove and let cool 10 minutes.  Invert a plate over the skillet, then, holding plate and skillet firmly together with towels or pot holders, invert the two in one swift movement.  Remove the skillet and the cake is ready to serve.  It’s best right out of the oven.


  1. Looks pretty good, I don't know that whole wheat flower would make this all the more healthy over traditional made with whole ground corn meal.

  2. LOL - You're probably right Mike, but the only kind of pineapple upside cakes I've ever made are Duncan Hines, so this HAS to beat that, right? :)