Recipe Image
Carol Kicinski
Aside from making it gluten-free, there’s no need to put a “spin” on this classic – it’s perfect just the way it is!

Keep it classic on Grandparents Day with Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Author Byline Image   I’m all for the food innovations that chefs come up with. I’m fascinated by the unusual flavor combos like pink peppercorn ice cream and the remaking of classic dishes.
   However, some classics are classic for a reason; they invoke childhood memories, bring a sense of continuity and comfort in a world that changes at the speed of light, and, well, they became classic because they simply taste great!
   Take pineapple upside down cake. I have seen chefs and foodies attempt to make this classic cake “better” by grilling or roasting fresh pineapple, making a hard caramel that cracks like crème brulee topping and adding “interesting” ingredients to update this time-honored favorite.
   While I am sure that roasted or grilled fresh pineapple or expensive rum may add something to the cake I have to say when I eat a slice of pineapple upside down cake I want it to remind me of the way my grandmother made it – with perfect slices of canned pineapple, brown sugar and bright red maraschino cherries that create a stained glass effect on the top of the cake. I want the cake to be moist and light, but not too light. I want to be transported to a time when my family sat around my paternal grandparents’ dining room table, catching up, telling old stories (for maybe the hundredth time), and having the sense of belonging to
Gluten-Free Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Makes 10-12 servings
1 (20-ounce) can pineapple slices in pineapple juice
7 whole maraschino cherries
1½ cups gluten-free all-purpose flour (make sure it contains xanthan gum)
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
3 large eggs, separated
1 cup granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar (light or dark), firmly packed
   Preheat the oven to 350°F.
   Drain the canned pineapple, reserving ½ cup of the juice. Lay the pineapple slices (you should have 10 slices) and the maraschino cherries on a layer of paper towel and pat them dry with another paper towel. Cut 3 of the pineapple slices in half.
   Whisk together the gluten-free flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl.
   In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, granulated sugar, reserved ½ cup of pineapple juice and vanilla until smooth. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and combine well.
   With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold the egg whites into the batter, combining well.
   In a 10-inch cast iron skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. When melted carefully swirl the pan so that the butter coats the sides of the pan. Add the brown sugar and cook, stirring, until the sugar has melted into the butter and is lump free, about 1 minute.
   Let the sugar mixture cool very slightly then lay in the pineapple slices carefully so you do not burn yourself. Start with the center, put one whole pineapple slice in the center then arrange the other six whole slices around it. Place the halve slices in the spaces between the whole slices around the outer edge, the curved side facing toward the center. Place a whole maraschino cherry in the center of each of the whole pineapple slices.
   Pour the batter over the pineapples and cherries and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
   Let the cake cool for 2 minutes, run a knife around the outer edge then invert on a serving platter and let finish cooling. Make sure you do not let the cake cool too long before inverting or the caramel will harden and the pineapple slices will stick to the bottom of the pan.
something much greater than myself.
   I guess this is just another reason why I am not really cool enough to be considered a “foodie.”
   The only updates I have made to my grandmother’s pineapple upside down cake is to make it gluten-free and to use pineapple slices canned in pineapple juice instead of heavy syrup. And because my
grandmother loved me and would above all else want me to remain free from harm, I know she would approve.
   Speaking of grandparents, did you know Grandparents Day is September 13th? This cake would make a delicious and classic gift!