This is my favorite cake (and husband’s favorite cake) from my favorite baking book – Alton Brown’s I’m just here for more food. I’ve made it for countless dinners and potlucks over the last 15 years- it is always a hit. Two things to remember- a cast iron pan is essential as is the pineappe in heavy syrup. Fresh pineapple and pineapple in juice will work in a pinch but the cake won’t be glorious. Cast iron pans are cheap and last for ever and are totally worth it. For the perfect toffee bottom and the delicious sponge on top- you need the cast iron pan and the pineapple in syrup
Preheat oven to 350F. Melt 1 stick of butter (8 tbsp) in a 10 inch cast iron pan and 1 cup of dark brown sugar together. It melts in about 5 minutes. Don’t burn this. Then scatter the pineapple pieces from 1 can of pineapple chunks in heavy syrup on top. Scatter 1/4 cups of chopped walnuts on top too along with 3 tbsp of the pineapple juice from the can. If you like- add a few maraschino cherries here and there. I skip those. This is the “top” of your upside down cake. Try to get the pineapple and the nuts in one layer so they will all get candied.
Wet ingredients: Whisk 3 eggs, 5 tbsp of pineapple juice and 1 cup of white granulated sugar till the sugar dissoves. Dry ingregients: Mix 1 cup of all purpose flour, 1 tsp of baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt
Mix the wet and dry together till they just come together- an occasional lump is fine. Dump batter into the cast iron pan. The butter will float to the top. Bake at 350F for 40 minutes. A toothpick should come out clean and the internal temp should be 210F.
I’m all for instant gratification but this cake needs about 10 minutes for the hot sugar and butter to cool down. Invert on a cake platter and eat vast quantities of it with joy.