Pineapple and Ginger Upside-Down Cake

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pineapple and ginger upside down cake recipe
Benito Martin/Always Add Lemon

Looking for a baking project that will elicit all the oohs and ahhs? Look no further than Danielle Alvarez’s recipe for pineapple and ginger upside-down cake, from her new cookbook, Always Add Lemon. It’s sweet, spicy and practically decorates itself.

“I have a lot of love for upside-down cakes,” she writes. “They’re a perfect way to bring fruit and cake together without making separate components, and it looks so gorgeous. The best part is, this cake could be adapted to any fruit really: plums, nectarines, peaches, apricots, strawberries, blueberries or, in this case, my favorite of all the upside-down cakes, pineapple.”

A note from Alvarez: While the sugar and the cooking of the fruit will boost its flavor, if you want this to be a fabulous cake as opposed to a just-alright cake, make sure the fruit is sweet, juicy and ripe to start.

Recipe excerpted with permission from Always Add Lemon by Danielle Alvarez, published by Hardie Grant Books, November 2020.



2 tablespoons (25g) butter

⅓ cup (80g) brown sugar

½ pineapple—peeled, cored, sliced and cut into pieces

Cake Batter

2 sticks (225g) soft butter, plus extra for greasing

1 cup (200g) superfine sugar (see note after step 5)

4 large eggs, separated

1½ tablespoons (20g) grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1¾ cups (220g) all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

2¼ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ cup plus 1 tablespoon (100ml) whole milk

Ice cream, to serve


1. Grease an 8¾-inch to 10-inch round cake pan with softened butter and line with parchment paper.

2. Make the Topping: In a small saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar until the sugar crystals have melted and the mixture is bubbling. Simmer for 1 minute, then pour into the prepared pan. Arrange the pineapple pieces on top of the caramel in any pattern you like. Try to cover as much surface area as possible so you can have a lot of fruit in each slice. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

3. Make the Batter: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, then add the egg yolks, ginger and vanilla and mix until well incorporated. In a separate, clean bowl, whip the egg whites (either by hand or with a handheld mixer) until soft peaks form. Set aside.

4. In a medium bowl, add the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda, and whisk well to combine. Add half the dry ingredients to the butter and gently mix, then, with the machine still running, add all the milk and mix. Carefully add the remaining dry ingredients and finish mixing by hand with a spatula. Fold in the whipped egg whites. Pour the batter on top of the pineapple in the pan and spread it out evenly. Gently tap the pan on your work surface to ensure the cake batter has dropped into place.

5. Bake until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool slightly before flipping the cake out. To flip it over, place a flat plate or cake tray on top of the pan, then, holding the plate in place with your hand, flip the cake over quickly and carefully. Once flipped, remove the pan and peel back the parchment paper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Note: Superfine sugar, also known as caster sugar, is just sugar that has been ground into finer crystals than granulated sugar. (This makes it lighter in weight and quicker to dissolve.) If you can’t find it at the store, you can make your own: For 1 cup superfine sugar, grind 1 cup and 2 teaspoons granulated sugar in a blender or food processor for 30 seconds.

Nutrition Facts
  • 435 calories

  • 23g fat

  • 52g carbs

  • 6g protein

  • 34g sugars

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Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.

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