Pineapple Upside Down Cake in a Cast Iron Skillet

This recipe for pineapple upside down cake can be made in a regular cake pan, or like I did today, in a cast iron skillet. This is the same recipe I have used for years, but this is the first time I’ve actually baked it in a cast iron skillet. It was a total success and the caramel crusty topping that develops from the brown sugar and butter was considerably better than the crust that develops in a standard baking pan. See that crust?

Amazing hmm?? Need to see it again?

Ok, enough of that :) Yummy though! I made two cakes and gave one to my neighbor.

Amanda’s Notes:

1) The recipe below makes two 9″ cakes or one 13″x9″ cake. Alternatively, you can use a box yellow cake mix without a problem, just keep an eye on the baking time, but it should be pretty close.

2) This recipe uses a small amount of shortening along with the butter, but I’m sure you could substitute all butter if you prefer.

3) This is a no fuss yellow cake. The beauty of it is that everything goes into one bowl and is mixed as is. There’s no sifting, whisking, creaming or incorporating required.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake
printable version

Cake batter:
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into thin slices
3/4 cup milk
3 eggs
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

ANOTHER DELICIOUS IDEA >>  TWD: Espresso Cheesecake Brownies

1/2 cup unsalted butter, divided
2 cups packed brown sugar, divided
1 15-oz can pineapple chunks
maraschino cherries

(These instructions are for 2 cakes made in cast iron skillets. For instructions using standard cake pans, please see notes at the end.)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and center rack in the oven. I used only one skillet to make both cakes by doing one at a time. Simply wipe out your skillet after removing the cake and start over. If you have 2 skillets, even better, make them both at the same time by staggering the pans in the oven.

Prepare the topping first by placing 1/4 cup butter in cast iron skillet. Place skillet in the oven until the butter has melted, this only takes a few minutes.

Remove skillet from the oven and sprinkle 1 cup of brown sugar over the butter. Drain pineapple chunks, reserving the juice to store any leftovers.

Gently place pineapple chunks onto the brown sugar in the center of the skillet, forming a flower. Place a cherry in the middle of the pineapple flower. Decorate the outer edge of the cake using more of the pineapple and cherries.

Prepare the cake batter by combining all batter ingredients in a mixer bowl. Mix at low speed for 30 seconds or so to incorporate, then increase speed to medium and mix for 5 minutes, occasionally scraping bowl if needed.

ANOTHER DELICIOUS IDEA >>  Popovers with Cinnamon Butter

Separate the batter evenly between two bowls. Do not be concerned if there are some small butter bits still in the batter, it will still bake up beautifully!

Carefully, but fairly quickly, pour the batter over the pineapples. You want to pour the batter on top, moving around as you go, so that you don’t move any of the pieces of fruit around.

Bake 30 minutes. The sides should be bubbly and the top will be browned. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack.

Place flat cake plate over the skillet, then using oven mitts, invert the pan onto the plate. If necessary, use an icing spatula to scoop up any topping left in the pie to patch any bare spots on top of the cake.


The instructions are basically the same using standard 9″ round cake pans or a 13″ x 9″ baking pan. For a 13″ x 9″ baking pan, form pineapple flowers all over the cake, you should be able to fit about 8 or more flowers. Bake the 13″ x 9″ pan for 35-40 minutes. You may need to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan before inverting. For round cake pans, follow baking times for skillet above.

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  1. Kelly Polizzi says

    such a pretty cake. Pineapple upside down cake is my number 1 favorite. It will break my diet every time!!

  2. lisaiscooking says

    Pineapple upside-down cakes have started calling my name! I don't know why I've never made one. Yours from a cast iron skillet looks great!

  3. Von says

    The caramel crust looks so good!!! I'm craving for a cake now!

    've never made a pineapple upside down cake before =] But I love pineappe and this sounds so good! Such a shame I don't have an extra skillet (I don't think the one I use can go in the oven)……I'd have to bake it in a normal cake pan.

  4. Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] says

    This is so pretty! And you're right, that looks like a delicious crust. Did you make this in the oven, or over the stove. Because the pictures look like you've placed the skillet on the stove. I'm going to try this, as soon as I manage to find such a pan.

    • Mary Ellen says

      I think from the picture shows melting the butter in the cast iron skillet on the top of the stove and then adding the brown sugar, pineapple, cherries and the cake batter. After doing this place the skillet in the oven to bake this cake. This cake is not cooked on top of the stove.

  5. triolus says

    I love cast iron cooking, and I definitely want to try this one soon! I'm going to try it out this Saturday!

  6. Carolyn @ My Backyard Eden says

    Amanda, that looks delicious! I've never tried to bake in my cast iron skillet, but it turned out great!

    Thanks for sharing at My Backyard Eden!

  7. Lanie Ree says

    Are you kidding me? this is the tastiest thing I've ever seen. My husband LOVES pineapple upside down cake (I do too), and he is gonna die when I make this for him.

    Thanks for linking this up to A Little Creative Therapy with Life in the Pitts.

  8. biz319 says

    I usually do my corn bread in a cast iron skillet – love the crusty crunch on the outside!

    That looks so pretty Amanda! Hope you have a great weekend!

  9. Lila says

    I love it. I just made a pineapple yogurt bundt cake. I totally should have put brown sugar on the bottom!
    Lila Ferraro
    Queen Bedroom Sets

    • says

      Love the looks of this upsidown cake……yummm!…my chauurch is having a Hawaiian lou”au. on Sunday! I’m bringing this! I’m doing the skillet !”. I need. cupcakes too!
      So. Im going to try doing skilled this w/ cupcakes to ,Im not quite shure hilow to pull off the upsidown thing w/cupcakes yet ….but Im share to figure. it out !!”
      Thank you for. the lovely. recipe ! I hope you. have a great 2012!
      Thanks ,Harmony

  10. Kathryn says

    My Mom used to make this but I never got the recipe from her on how she did it – thanks for sharing this with us!

  11. Stephanie Lynn says

    Oh my goodness…beautiful and yummy! Thanks for sharing this recipe…I'd love to try it! Thanks so much for joining The Sunday Showcase Party. I greatly appreciate it! ~ Stephanie Lynn

  12. Sue says

    Love your cake! I tried it last year and it bubbled over in the oven causing a disastrous sugary mess. After seeing yours, I am so tempted to try again.

  13. michelle@somedaycrafts says

    Oh yummy!! I bet it was so great!! I am with Romaine, can we live on the other side?? Thanks for linking up!!

  14. says

    Yumm! love the idea of using the skillet. Thanks for sharing your cooking talents too, on Craft schooling Sunday! all the best, Sara

  15. LINDA says


  16. Gertrudis Duenas says

    Una delicia de pastel y se ve tan bonito que cualquiera salta la dieta, voy a hacer uno para empezar, amo todos los dulce que contengan pina o naranja.

  17. Gertrudis Duenas says

    Es una delicia de pastel y con una presencia que hace que cualquier persona pierda la dieta, voy a comenzar haciendo uno porque ya se me hace agua la boca,amo todos los dulces donde aparesca la pina o la naranja, riquisimo!.

  18. Vernie Dunham says

    Why do you divide the batter into two bowls? Does it make two cakes or is it for the easy poring of batter? How big is the skillet you used? Thanks for the answer in advance, Vernie

  19. Colleen S says

    I have never made a pineapple upside down cake in anything but a cast iron skillet. I don’t think it would taste as good made in a cake pan!

  20. Paula Watkins says

    If you cut a circle of waxed paper to fit the bottom of the skillet and then proceed with the recipe as instructed when you turn the cake out of the skillset you can peel the waxed paper off and nothing will stick to the pan.

  21. lindaibach says

    Probably a good recipe, however, I=the recipe did not state how to do it on top of the stove. Very disappointing when that was what was advertised.

  22. Judy Hatfield says

    My mother made all her upside down cakes in cast iron skillets. She used pineapple slices & put the cherry in the center of each slice & put slices around the sides of the skillet before pouring the cake mix in. Never any leftovers.


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