Turning Your Cast Iron Beliefs Upside-Down

Several weeks ago I received an email from Jennifer, who was putting together a post on how to eat more fruits and vegetables. She was looking for a variety of suggestions from different sources and I was happy to throw a few ideas her way. Now I certainly can do a much better job of eating more vegetables with every meal, but with recipes like the one below, I will have no problem keeping pineapple in my desserts! Welcome guest blogger Jennifer and check out her blog, Down-Home South Jersey

Hello dear readers!  My name is Jennifer, and I write the blog Down-Home South Jersey.  My focus is on food, family, and fun – in South Jersey and beyond!  Well, this is definitely beyond 🙂

A big thank you to Pat, The Ranting Chef, for inviting me here today.

Since I knew I would be writing for such a discriminating audience, I wanted to step up my game with a knock-out recipe.  This one is for all of you who love your cast iron skillet.  Come on, admit it.  You really love it!

I got mine for Christmas and just can’t get enough of it.  It does bacon and eggs, burgers and steaks, and especially grilled cheese sandwiches really well.  But did you know you can bake a cake in it?

I know, I was just as surprised as you.

This upside-down cake recipe is a classic cast iron dish that caramelizes in the skillet to create a gooey, tasty topping.  Once inverted, the topping oozes down the sides, moistening every delicious bite!  The flavors of pineapple with coconut and rum are enhanced here by the unique flavor of cardamom.  If you’ve never had cardamom before, like me, you are in for a surprise!  I can’t imagine this mouthwatering tropical cake without it.

Pineapple-Coconut Upside-Down Cake

Serves 8

For the topping:

5 T unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 can sliced pineapple rings

For the batter:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 T coconut rum
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cardamom
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice (use the juice from your canned pineapple)
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, plus 1/4 cup for garnish


1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2.  For the topping:  Melt the butter in a well-seasoned 9 inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the brown sugar and melt, stirring constantly, until bubbling, about 6 minutes.  Remove from heat, add pineapple rings in one even layer, and set aside.
3.  For the batter:  Beat the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixed until light and fluffy.  Add the sugar and beat until creamy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one.  Add 1/4 cup coconut flakes and stir thoroughly.
4.  Beat in vanilla and coconut rum.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cardamom, baking powder, and salt.  Add half of the flour mixture to the egg mixture and beat on low speed just until blended.  Add the pineapple juice and beat on low to incorporate.  Add remaining flour mixture, beating until just incorporated.
5.  Spoon the batter over the pineapple, smoothing the top evenly.  Bake on the center rack of the oven until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
6.  Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes.  To remove from the skillet, run a sharp knife around the edge to release the sides.
7.  Invert a cake plate or service platter over the skillet and invert the cake onto the plate, keeping pan and plate firmly pressed together.  The cake should drop from the skillet onto the plate.
8.  Drizzle the cake with additional rum and top with coconut flakes.  Yum!

Note:  Remember that the handle of your cast iron skillet will be hot!  Please use a pot holder or oven glove when handling.
Recipe adapted from The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Categories: Baking, Dessert, Guest, Recipes, Vegetarian

Author:The Ranting Chef

Check out the best recipes at rantingchef.com

51 Comments on “Turning Your Cast Iron Beliefs Upside-Down”

  1. April 27, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    Oh that looks so good! I might have to try this on my cast iron skillet I bought over a year ago but have yet to use.


  2. April 27, 2012 at 11:14 am #

    Yum! My dad used to do stuff like this in his cast iron, Im not much of a baker type though, so never tried! Might have to try this one 🙂


  3. momseyeview
    April 27, 2012 at 11:17 am #

    I live and breathe by my cast iron collection! It makes amazing–everything! I use it for pot pie, shepherd’s pie, banana bread (or any quick bread), pizza, calzones, heating left overs…just name it, and it can be made twice as yummy in cast iron.


  4. April 27, 2012 at 11:20 am #

    I love my cast iron. The fry pan, griddle and two dutch ovens stack inside each other and sit out permanently on top of our gas tabletop range. I use them almost everyday – and have made a few cakes and cornbreads in the oven with them.


  5. April 27, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    So glad to see someone else loving their Lodge! I cook almost exclusively in cast iron, and have never thought of returning to stainless or (heaven forbid) non-stick pans.

    There’s a reason this stuff has been around for hundreds of years!


  6. April 27, 2012 at 11:34 am #

    Great post Jennifer – I think you might have convinced me to finally buy a cast-iron pan! I still don’t have one, at least not one large enough to bake a cake in!

    And Pat, thx for liking my post about Hawaii and Portuguese sausage. Welcome a visit from a ranter anytime!


    • April 27, 2012 at 6:18 pm #

      Beth – Just do it! You won’t be sorry 🙂 Mine was less than $20 at Target.


  7. Charlotte
    April 27, 2012 at 11:38 am #

    Besides Pineapple Upside Down Cake, which we always decorated with cherries and pecan halves, I learned to make peanut brittle in a big cast iron skillet.


    • April 27, 2012 at 6:20 pm #

      Oh, please tell. We need your peanut brittle recipe 🙂


      • Charlotte
        June 22, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

        Peanut Brittle — Charlotte Proctor

        Combine in large iron skillet:
        1 Cup Sugar
        1 Cup Karo light corn syrup
        ½ Cup water

        Cook to spin a thread stage.
        Add: 1 to 2 cups red-skinned peanuts
        Add: a pinch of salt.

        Cook until syrup is golden-brown, and the peanuts begin to pop.
        Add: heaping teaspoon butter, stir to melt.
        Add: heaping teaspoon soda and stir (syrup will foam up).
        Pour quickly on to foil, and spread out with back of spoon.

        When cool, pick up the foil by the ends, and drop it to break up candy.
        Store candy in air tight bags.



      • June 23, 2012 at 7:53 am #

        Yay! Thanks 🙂


      • Charlotte
        June 23, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

        If you publish this recipe anywhere, please credit me and my blog. Thanks!


      • June 23, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

        Of course. But I don’t think I want to share it. It’ll make a good present 🙂


  8. April 27, 2012 at 11:47 am #

    This is an old classic that you don’t see as often as you should. It is easy and delicious. I do some with other fruits as well, but I’ll have to try this version. Looks yummy….


  9. April 27, 2012 at 11:57 am #

    Wicked pan and great looking cake! Love this recipe.


  10. April 27, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

    You have just posted one of my top three favorite desserts, but I’ve never added coconut and that seems such an obvious ingredient. Can’t wait to make this in my faithful old cast iron skillet.


  11. justturnright
    April 27, 2012 at 12:20 pm #

    My wife has her Dad’s skillet and hardly ever uses it.

    We may need to break it out this weekend!


  12. April 27, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    Thank you for visiting my blog and following. My favourite baking sheet belonged to my Granny who was born in the 1890s! My Mum used it for many years then it came to me 🙂


  13. April 27, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

    Great post. I love upside down cake. My 4 cast iron pans are my favorite.


  14. P.S. I Love Soap Co.
    April 27, 2012 at 12:59 pm #

    Wish I had a cast iron pan…Becuase that looks too good..


  15. April 27, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

    I LOVE pineapple upside down cake. My family is sometimes picky, I made one about 5 years ago and…I enjoyed most of it. They tried tiny portions and they were not finished. I didn’t think the seat of my pants would hold out for another try, but decided to give it another go anyway last week. Same recipe as before, same luscious cake. The family results, however, were not. They loved it (with italics and pink hearts). “WHY don’t you make this more often???”. That’s when I realized that my kids are schizophrenic eaters. They can love something one day, loath it the next and remember nothing about it the following week. From here on in, everyone eats what mummy likes!


    • April 27, 2012 at 6:21 pm #

      I find that if I tell my son he is not allowed to have it, then he will want it more! Give it a try, see if it works for you.


  16. April 27, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

    What a stunning & divine pineapple upside down cake! The endresult says it all: EAT ME RIGHT NOw! 🙂


  17. April 27, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    I love cast iron skillets! They become family heirlooms.


  18. April 27, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

    Love cooking in my cast iron…..love all those flavors it’s had built up over the years of use…..


  19. pamasaurus
    April 27, 2012 at 2:36 pm #

    Looks delicious, Jennifer! It’s one of my favorite desserts 😀


  20. April 27, 2012 at 2:45 pm #

    This looks so scrummy – could I use fresh pineapple or would it be too juicy?


  21. April 27, 2012 at 4:22 pm #

    Hey Jennifer, I’m a Jersey girl by birth…stuck here in NY. LOVE my cast iron. Much of it belonged to my grandma! Lovely cake, thanks for the recipe.


    • April 27, 2012 at 6:24 pm #

      You are so lucky to have “heritage” cast iron. I bet it’s great!

      I was forced (kicking and screaming) to be a Jersey Girl, but now I’m so glad to live here 🙂 Thanks for your kind comments 🙂


  22. April 27, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

    Holy cow, you just upped the Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Stakes! Coconut, rum and cardamom: wow. WHY have I never thought to make the cake version of my favourite drink, malibu and pineapple? Well, duh. *smacks head* And adding cardamom is just lush – it’s such a great spice, I use it all the time.
    Top marks for innovation! As soon as I’m allowed carbs again (see my blog for why I’m currently not) I’ll be making this!


    • April 27, 2012 at 6:25 pm #

      The cardamom is the key. I can’t believe what it does to the flavor – wow!

      Hope you can try some cake soon…


      • April 27, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

        Well, I’m allowed a leetle bit of carby stuff per day – the problem might arrive when I can’t leave it at just a leetle bit! LOL


  23. April 27, 2012 at 6:26 pm #

    Thanks everyone for your kind words and enthusiasm. Pat gave me a great birthday present when he decided to post my recipe today!

    Stop by and visit anytime 🙂


  24. April 27, 2012 at 7:04 pm #

    I “pinned” this on pinterest and it got quite a few repins. I guess pineapple is popular right now. i love love love pineapple so this is going on my “to do” list. along with your mac n cheese recipe.


  25. April 27, 2012 at 7:57 pm #

    My Mom has always baked hers this way, except without coconut. Mmm, love the chewy, gooey edges! My husband likes pineapple in every bite, so I usually used crushed pineapple, but it doesn’t caramelize as well.


  26. April 27, 2012 at 10:56 pm #

    I inherited my nana’s set of iron skillets. One of them even has my name (misspelled) imprinted on the back–Sidney. I let my daughter and my daughter-in-law each choose one. It seems that everything cooks better and tastes better in an iron skillet.


  27. April 28, 2012 at 2:45 am #

    Will definitely try this at home. Thank you for the recipe!


  28. April 28, 2012 at 3:30 am #

    Thanks for the recipe… this looks amazing!


  29. Kenton Lewis
    April 28, 2012 at 8:29 am #

    Besides peanut and butter sandwiches, pineapple upside down cake was the first dessert I made.
    This looks terrific.


  30. AJ's Mom
    April 28, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

    ‘Mom, make this cake pleaseeeeeee..’ is what I actually said to my Mom next to me when I saw this post. Me love this cake. Oh My. Thanks for a yummy-licious post.


  31. Brian
    April 29, 2012 at 1:46 am #

    I’ve been wanting to try a pineapple upside down cake in my cast iron, but wasn’t sure how exactly… Thanks for posting! I’m going to try this on my Big Green Egg!


  32. April 30, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    Looks so delish!


  33. May 3, 2012 at 5:54 am #

    I liked this post even though it has coconut in it. lol

    Thanks for letting me camp out in your blog today. I had a great time and tried to leave my campsite as clean as when I arrived. If I weigh an extra 50 pounds next time I come camping, I’m blaming it on you.


  34. June 1, 2012 at 12:13 am #

    I’m stealing this one. yum! 😉


  35. September 21, 2013 at 11:20 am #

    Reblogged this on Catholic Glasses and commented:
    I love Pineapple Upside Down Cake. I’ll try it.



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