Pineapple Upside-Down Cake With Pecans
By substituting pecans (or other nuts) for the usual maraschino cherries, this twist on a classic upside-down cake is less sweet and crunchier than the usual recipe. Caramelizing the brown sugar in a skillet before adding the fruit gives you a particularly deep, complex flavor. Because of the moisture in the topping, you’ll need to bake this cake a little longer than other, similar butter cakes. Underbaked cake will be soggy and apt to fall apart, but an ideal result will have a well-browned surface and dark, slightly crunchy edges.
- Serves: 1 person
- 4tablespoons/56 grams unsalted butter
- ⅓cup/71 grams light brown sugar
- 1 ½to 2 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (see Tip)
- ¼teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1pound peeled pineapple, cut into 1/2-inch slices (3 cups; see Tip)
- ½cup coarsely chopped pecans
- ½cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for greasing
- 1cup/200 grams granulated sugar
- 1tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 2large eggs, at room temperature
- ½cup/118 milliliters sour cream or plain whole-milk yogurt
- 1 ½teaspoons baking powder
- ¼teaspoon baking soda
- ¾teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 ½cups/195 grams all-purpose flour
Step 1Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Step 2Make the topping: In an oven-safe 10-inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, lemon juice and salt, and whisk until the brown sugar melts, 1 to 2 minutes.
Step 3Let cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture starts to smell like caramel and darkens slightly, about 1 minute longer. (Don’t walk away or the mixture may burn.) The mixture will clump and separate, but that's OK.
Step 4Add fruit and nuts, gently tossing to coat with the caramel. Remove from heat and arrange fruit into an even layer on bottom of skillet. Ignore any sugar clumps; they will dissolve during baking.
Step 5Make the cake: In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest until thoroughly combined. Whisk in eggs, one at a time. Add sour cream and whisk until well mixed. Sprinkle in baking powder, baking soda and salt into the batter, one at a time, and whisking vigorously after each addition. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in flour until just incorporated. The mixture will be lumpy, but that’s OK. Don’t overmix. Scrape batter into the skillet over the fruit and spread evenly.
Step 6Bake until surface is deeply browned all over (with darker brown edges) and the fruit is lightly bubbling along the sides of the skillet, about 35 to 45 minutes, rotating halfway through. A toothpick inserted into cake will come out clean.
Step 7Once the cake is out of the oven, immediately run a butter knife or offset spatula along the edge of the skillet. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes to cool slightly. Carefully invert cake into serving platter. If some fruit or nuts stick to bottom of the skillet, gently remove them using offset spatula or knife and place back onto cake. Let cake cool until the fruit topping sets, at least 30 minutes to 1 hour, before serving. Cake is best served on the day it is baked.