Northern hospitality: a pineapple adventure

Being an exotic fruit, pineapples aren’t found around our house too often.  But the other night, after disappearing on a bike and digging around in something that rhymes with “bumpster,” N. returned victoriously with… one pineapple.  And I don’t know about you, but when someone brings home an unexpected pineapple I make pineapple upside down cake.

The last of the pineapple upside down cake

Did you know that the pineapple is a symbol of hospitality?  I’m trying to tie that fun fact in to the fact that I forgot to take any pictures of the intact cake, but failing.  Let’s blame it all on the freak snowstorm that blew in yesterday and turned everything upside down.

Community cookbooks rule

My usual go-to cookbooks failed me and I had to turn to my stash of plastic-bound community recipe compilations.  My WNY cookbooks came up short (other than a pineapple cheesecake recipe that’s probably worth a try next time), but Atlanta Cooknotes did not disappoint.  It’s an especially professional effort on the part of Atlanta’s Junior League, featuring calligraphy, watercolor illustrations, and a historical introduction.  And most importantly, a recipe for pineapple upside down cake.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake adapted from Atlanta Cooknotes (1982)


4 T butter

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 eight oz. can sliced pineapple, drained, juice reserved OR one small pineapple’s worth of sliced pineapple

optional: maraschino cherries and chopped nuts to taste


4 T butter

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 t salt

2 t baking powder

1/2 cup reserved pineapple juice OR 1/4 cup pureed pineapple + 1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350.  To prepare topping, melt butter in 9in. round pan.  Remove from heat and stir in brown sugar, spreading evenly over pan.  Place one whole pineapple slice in center of pan and arrange halved pineapple slices in spokes around it.  Place one cherry in center of each slice and add chopped nuts if desired.  Set aside while preparing cake batter.

Cream butter and add sugar and egg; mix well.  In separate bowl, mix flour, salt, and baking powder; add to creamed mixture alternately with pineapple juice (or puree+milk).  Beat until smooth and pour over topping in pan.  Bake 30 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.  Remove from oven and invert on serving plate immediately.  Serve cake warm, whipped cream optional.

Future pineapple tree

Final fun fact: did you know that you can plant a pineapple top and theoretically grow more pineapples with it?  This is going to be a challenge in frosty Buffalo, but that won’t stop me.  Logic never really has, much to my housemates’ chagrin.  But if N. can grow salad in his room and K. can plant borage in the front window, I can try to cultivate pineapples in the kitchen.

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2 Responses to Northern hospitality: a pineapple adventure

  1. Tiny pineapples from a tiny tree in your kitchen? I am in love with that idea.

  2. Kayte says:

    I know…you can grow it next to the coconut! lol I can tell this was one fine cake just from what’s left…Mark is not a cake eater for the most part, but he never turns down offers to make Pineapple Upside Down Cake or Carrot Cake. I made the Carrot Cake today. Might be time to go in search of a pineapple, however.

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