Martha Stewart’s Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

As the legend goes: Dole sponsored a recipe contest in 1926, and of the more than 2,000 submissions, a version of this syrupy-spongy cake was a clear winner. Here's Martha's take on the classic:

Martha Stewart’s Pineapple Upside-Down CakeCourtesy Clarkson Potter


• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

• 2 teaspoons baking powder

• 1/4 teaspoon salt

• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus 3 tablespoons cut into small pieces

• 1 2/3 cups sugar

• 2 large eggs

• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

• 1/2 cup milk

• 7 thin rounds cored pineapple (from ½ small pineapple)


  • 1

    Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream 6 tablespoons butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined. Add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour. Mix just until combined.

  • 2

    Place remaining 2/3 cup sugar in a 10-inch cast- iron or heavy ovenproof skillet and heat over medium until beginning to liquefy, then stir with a wooden spoon until completely melted and golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat; add remaining 3 tablespoons butter, stirring to incorporate. Place a pineapple round in center of pan; arrange remaining rounds in a circle around center slice, overlapping slightly as needed.

  • 3

    Carefully spoon batter over pineapples in skillet. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and let cool 5 minutes. Run a sharp knife around edge of cake, then carefully invert onto a platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.

All-American Backstory
Just ten years after Jim Dole founded the Hawaiian Pineapple Company in 1901, canned pineapple slices were available in every state of the union at an affordable price, allowing homemakers everywhere to bake a popular dessert of the day, pineapple upside-down cake. A recipe contest sponsored by the company in 1926 reportedly resulted in more than 2,000 entries, and this cemented the cake’s place in the canon of American desserts. The contrast of the syrupy fruit on the “bottom” and the buttery cake layer on top is what keeps it so popular today. In fact, you’ll find variations using other types of fruit in place of the pineapple, including mangoes, pears, apples, and berries. But pineapple remains the nostalgic choice, the one and only among the dessert’s most devoted followers.

Reprinted from the book Martha’s American Food by Martha Stewart. Copyright © 2012 by Martha Stewart. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc.

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