Saturday, January 26, 2013

Pineapple Upsidedown Cake (State Fair Prototype Recipe #1)

Every mammoth journey starts with the first step....right?

Well even though the Great Minnesota Get Together (STATE FAIR) doesn't start until late August, if the show is to be stellar, the research has to start much earlier.

This year I am somewhat nervous since my theme is one for which I lack a strong skill set.

This year it will be all about cake.

I certainly know enough about some off shoot camps like Grooms Cakes and Bundnt's.

But I simply haven't baked as many cakes as most of you reading this column.

Klecko is a bread guy.

A pastry guy if need be.........

But a cake guy?

So the roster will contain 48 separate shows, I am guessing I will do 3 or 4 of them,

I did consider (and still am toying with possibly baking a Savarin Cake.

If you are not familiar with these, they are a yeast dough, much like a brioche. and they are shaped like a big doughnut.

The rings interior is then filled with a pastry creme and then that is topped with fresh fruit(often some type of berry collection.

But then I started to think why not make it more American, more Fair friendly..................

And that's when the Saints of Warsaw whispered "Pineapple Upside Down" cake.

As of this moment, I've never made one, but I looked through a 1/2 century worth of production notes and tips from industry periodicals.

Then I went to the internet.

Last night while you slept, I was stealing from the Pineapple Upside Down Cake muse.

Here is what I am starting off with, but if you L.A.B. Rats have ideas, chime in by all means.

Some might think 7 months of prep is a little much, and perhaps they are right, but when your entire State shows up to witness innovation.

It's not enough to simply execute your demo.......

You really want to own it.

Listed below is my prototype Pineapple Upside Down Prototype #1.

I sure many tweaks will follow.



  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 can (20 oz) of pineapple rings
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 6 Tbsp cake flour
  • 6 Tbsp coconut flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup salad oil
  • 1 shot (1 /12 ounces) dark rum
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup sour cream


1 Start by making the caramel topping. Take brown sugar and butter and combine and melt in a saucepan on medium heat until sugar dissolves and the mixture bubbles.  It should take several minutes. (After sugar melts, don't stir.) Pour mixture into a 10 inch diameter stick-free cake pan with 2 inch high sides. Arrange pineapple slices in a single layer on top of the caramel mixture.

2 Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Whisk the flours, coconut, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the sugar and butter together until light. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and rum. Add dry ingredients alternately with sour cream in 2 additions each, beating well after each addition. Pour cake batter over caramel and pineapple in pan.

3 Bake cake until tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Turn cake out onto a platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Makes 12 to 14 servings.

*Klecko Sidebar of Thought -

I am also thinking I might insert Maraschino Cherries inside of the pineapple rings -

Also we need to think about the pan.

I was thinking about using the Nordic Ware P.U.C.  pan, but some of the reviews from home enthusiasts said it was tricky to get the cake to "drop" if you used flour(s) with a protein level that was too high.

I'm not sure I'm buying this.

Also many P.U.C. peeps claim that you really are better served using the rectangular pan.

They said this gives the cake a much better chance of release.

If I thought simply as an engineer, I can see their logic, but as an artist......

Those circular Nordic Ware P.U.C. pans are pretty bad a**!

Anyways that all I got, do a brother a solid and give me input.

Thank you in advance.



  1. 1. You can get pretty much any cake to drop if you use a parchment sling. I use them in my round pans too. Never had trouble with an upside down cake, as long as the caramel (topping part) is warm. You can always torch it (holding the pan with tongs) if it cools and you need to reheat without an oven.
    2. I use all AP. I like a pretty firm base for all that fruit, and I think AP gets the best lift in this recipe.
    3. I use fresh pinapple chunks, caramelized in rum, brown sugar, and spices, then arranged in a mosaic pattern. Rings are a classic though!
    4. Nice touch with the sour cream!

  2. Re: item 3 above, I might use Malibu or another coconut rum if I wanted to go with a coconut flavor. :)

  3. Sandy's given you very good advice. For myself, I do like the fresh pineapple, too, and I've always been fine with a plain, rectangular pan.
    Judy Dickerson (SPBC)

    1. Thanks Judy, I should have known you would know such things....thanks so much.

  4. i like making pineapple upside down cakes in cast iron frying pans. i also use an ice cream scoop to put the cake on top of the pineapple slices. i also like the maraschino cherries

    1. I so had you pegged for the are so progressive. Ice Cream scoop huh????

  5. How did pineapple come to be the upside down fruit of choice?

  6. Mike, as pineapple being the upended fruit of choice, we must look to mid-century Lutherans who were confronted with the need for a dessert to bring with, but who also grappled with the ancient pagan desire to do a little something extra, also known as "show her." The challenge, as ever, was to achieve this next level of improvement, while not appearing as if you had tried too hard, i.e., had any sort of bone to pick with her.
    Caramelized fruit seemed a natural evolution, and the idea of baking in the fruit as a sort of surprise "reveal" has its roots in Loki, a god in Norse mythology know for his slyness.
    Still -- apples would have meant peeling, coring and slicing. Pears, same thing and far more seasonal. Plums, rhubarb, oranges, apricots -- they all spoke to a certain fussiness and premediation.
    Then along came canned pineapple rings. Imagine the impact of their appearance on the grocery store shelves. An exotic bit of the tropics just a can opener away. They were available year-round, and conveyed an "Oh, this can must have been hiding behind the baked beans" kind of vibe. With the rings arranged over butter and brown sugar, then capped with cake batter, the dessert could be easily transported to the church basement, picnic shelter or her house, looking plain as a hymn.
    We can, at this remove, only speculate on the impact of that first upending, when this -- let's say it -- scheming Lutheran woman casually laid a plate over the top of the pan, then turned the whole kit-and-caboodle UPSIDE-DOWN, lifting the pan to reveal the unimagined pattern of pineapple rings.
    There was no looking back.

    1. Kim, how can you have so much's not like you are even Catholic LOL. Thanks for the historical input, in my opinion....this makes it all the tastier.