If your pineapple seems a bit under-ripe, this is a perfect recipe for you, since the pan goes into the oven while it’s preheating. If your pineapple is over-ripe, this recipe is perfect for you, because you can skip that preheating the pineapple step. (oh, but be sure to preheat the oven!)
Which technically starts on the bottom because it’s an upside-down cake. Funny how that works, huh.
1/4 cup (56g/1/2 stick) butter
1/2 cup (106g) packed brown sugar (light or dark is fine)
8–10fresh pineapple slices (peeled and cored), sliced about 1/4″ thick, sliced into rings, then cut in half-moons
8–10fresh cherries pitted and sliced in half
1 and 1/4 cups (150g) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (28g) cornstarch*
1 teaspoonbaking powder
1/4 teaspoonbaking soda
1/2 teaspoonfine salt
8 tablespoons (113g) butter, room temperature
2/3 cup (132g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoonvanilla extract
2/3 cup (152g) buttermilk, room temperature
For the topping
Preheat oven to 350°.
Over medium-high heat, add the butter to the cast iron pan (no need to spray or butter the pan) and melt until it becomes bubbly, foamy, and lightly browned (keep an eye on it!).
Add the brown sugar and stir until melted and evenly distributed for about 2 minutes. Scatter the cherries over the butter, and arrange the pineapple half-moons on top of the cherries and brown sugar butter mixture. I like to do it in a fan shape, this is a casual one-pan cake, do as you please.
Put the pan in the oven while it pre-heats, this will help get the pineapple cooking and soften it a bit about 15- 20 minutes. If your pineapple is really ripe, you can skip this step.
Prepare the cake batter while the fruit is in the oven.
For the cake:
Sift the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together, passing through the sieve at least 3 times. Set aside.
With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on high until light in color, about 1 more minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
With the mixer on medium speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Add vanilla and mix.
Turn the mixer to low, alternate adding half the flour mixture with half the buttermilk, repeat. Work quickly as to not over mix the batter (or it will be a tough cake).
Scrape down the sides to check there isn’t any dry flour at the bottom of the bowl. The batter should be slightly thick.
Remove topping from the oven (if you needed to cook your under-ripe pineapple). Pour the batter evenly over topping, spread with an offset spatula to the edges.
Bake for about 40-43 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a couple of moist crumbs. (Note: sometimes the cast iron pan cooks faster than a glass or metal cake/pie tin) Check around 35 minutes for doneness.
Remove the cake from the oven and cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes. Using hot-pads or towels to protect yourself from juices overflowing and the hot pan, invert the cake onto a cake stand or serving platter. Cool the cake completely at room temperature before slicing and serving.
*adding cornstarch and sifting at least 2 times, preferably 3, turns regular flour into cake flour. The cornstarch lowers the gluten level of the flour, which leads to a softer texture. Pretty cool huh.
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