Individual Pineapple Upside Down Cakes

If you’re afraid of butter, as many people are nowadays, just put in cream!”
Julia Child

These little cakes are just divine. I made them for the first time a few months ago when in was in California. My sister and I made them for a dinner we hosted at her home. I just loved them. I served them with honey pine nut ice cream, which was heavenly.


I had a dinner here a few nights ago, and I had 2 fresh pineapples on the counter, I saw them and this dessert immediately came to mind. This time I had no pine nuts. I scavenged the pantry and found macadamia nuts, a fine substitute, I thought. Honey macadamia nut ice cream I made, the base, that is. I went to the garage fridge to retrieve my mixture, ready to freeze it in the ice cream maker, and dropped the whole shebang on the floor.

Alas, no honey macadamia nut ice cream for us.


I ended up making banana coconut ice cream to serve with these delightful little cakes.


Rich with butter, with a hint of cardamom, these cakes are truly moist and delicious. The pineapple on the bottom (or top after it’s all said and done) is loaded with butter, brown sugar and flavored with vanilla bean.

I purchase my cardamom in the bulk spice section of my natural food store. It’s very reasonably priced there. If you buy it at a regular grocery in the spice aisle, it can be quite spendy.

For a more traditional cake, just omit the cardamom, it will still be delicious.


Individual Pineapple Upside Down Cakes

adapted from this recipe from Firefly Bistro in South Pasadena, Ca.

this recipe makes 13 ish individual cakes, if you don’t need that many, it can easily be halved


2 whole pineapples peeled. cored, and diced into small pieces, or about 4 cups (750 g.) diced pineapple
1 1/2 cups (260 g.) brown sugar
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) (349 g.) of unsalted room temperature, butter,  plus a few tablespoons for buttering ramekins
1 vanilla bean
1 cup (122 g.) sour cream or yogurt
4 eggs
3 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups (252 g.) all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups (292 g.) granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 – 2 tsp. ground cardamom

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, 180 degrees Celsius, Gas Mark 4.

Melt the 2 tablespoons butter in a small dish, and brush the sides of 13, 1 cup (8 oz) or (250 ml.) size ramekins, set aside.

In a large skillet, melt one stick of the butter (113 g.) with the brown sugar on medium heat. Split and scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean, place the bean and the seeds into the brown sugar mixture. Add the pineapple pieces and cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whisk half of the sour cream (or yogurt) (1/2 cup) with the eggs and vanilla extract.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cardamom and mix it together. Then add the remaining butter (2 sticks) and remaining sour cream (1/2 cup) and beat on low speed until smooth, then beat on medium speed until fluffy. Add the sour cream, egg mixture and beat again until fluffy, 2 minutes.

Spoon the pineapple and sauce into the ramekins, covering the bottom with pineapple, and spooning about 3 tablespoons sauce over the pineapple. Then scoop the cake batter over the pineapple mixture and smooth it out. Put the filled ramekins on a baking sheet with sides then put in the oven.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for at least 10 minutes on a wire rack, then using a knife, go around each cake to loosen it, then flip over on a plate. If you made these early in the day, to serve at night, it’s o.k. to leave them in the ramekins until then.

Serve room temperature, or warm.

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