Pineapple upside-down cake has been part of the American baking lexicon since 1925, when the Hawaiian company now known as Dole sponsored a contest using their canned pineapple. Even today, when fresh pineapple is readily available at every local corner store, the canned version wins out for its consistent shape and color, its subtle acidity, and its lack of stringy fibers. A bit of lemon zest in this recipe punches up the freshness.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 9" round cake pan or deep pie dish.
- Mix the melted butter with the brown sugar, and distribute the mixture across the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Place the pineapple rings on top of the brown sugar mixture, so that they're close together but not overlapping. Place a cherry in the center of each ring.
- Beat the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg, then the salt, baking powder, and vanilla.
- Add a third of the flour, mixing at medium speed, followed by half of the milk, followed by another third of the flour. Mix in the rest of the milk, followed by the rest of the flour, until just combined.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it so it reaches the edges of the pan.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
- After the cake has been out of the oven for exactly 3 minutes, place a serving plate on top of the cake pan, and invert the cake onto the plate. After 30 seconds, lift the pan off. If anything pieces of pineapple have stuck to the pan, just reposition them onto the cake.
Anna Hezel is the former senior editor of TASTE.