Caramelized Pineapple Coconut Upside-Down Cake

serves 8-10

1/2 small ripe pineapple, peeled

6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus 3 tablespoons for sauteing

1 cup granulated sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for sauteing

3 extra large eggs

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Line an 8-inch round cake pan with parchment paper and lightly grease with non-stick baking spray.  Halve the pineapple into 2 wedges and remove the core.  Thinly slice into 1/4-inch slices.

Heat 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large non-stick sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add the 2 tablespoons of sugar and stir until melted.  Add the pineapple slices and cook until lightly caramelized, about 3 minutes on each side. Arrange the pineapple slices on the bottom of the prepared cake pan, overlapping so there are no gaps.  Using a rubber spatula, scrape any buttery pan juices over the pineapple.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the remaining butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla.  Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture.  Add the coconut and mix until blended.

Pour the batter evenly over the pineapple slices, smoothing with an off-set spatula.  Gently rap the cake pan on the edge of the counter to remove any air bubbles, smoothing out any air pockets. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until a cake tester comes out clean.  Tent it lightly with aluminum foil for the last 15 minutes if it appears to be browning too quickly.  Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Turn the cake onto a wire rack to cool completely.  Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream.  Enjoy!

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