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Pineapple upside-down cake picture

Pineapple upside-down cake

Pineapple upside-down cake is a proper childhood memory for me, but I’ve given it a whole new lease of life here. Traditionally this cake is made using tinned fruit, but I like to poach a fresh pineapple in star anise, vanilla and bay leaves just to give it a bit more of a flavour kick.

Serves 6
Cooks in Preparation Time: 30 mins to 1 hour, Cooking Time: 30 mins to 1 hour
Difficulty Easy


1 super-sweet pineapple

500ml water

200g caster sugar

2 star anise

2 bay leaves

1 vanilla pod, split lengthways, seeds scraped out

1 cinnamon stick


For the topping

150g softened butter

150g dark muscovado sugar

100g stoned, chopped dates

3 teaspoons cracked black pepper

50ml dark rum


For the cake

100g self-raising flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

200g softened butter, plus slightly more for buttering the tin

200g light muscovado sugar

4 eggs, lightly beaten

50ml dark rum

2 vanilla pods, split lengthways, seeds scraped out

Finely grated zest of 1 lime


For the whipped coconut cream

2 x 160ml tins coconut cream

2 tablespoons caster sugar


For the toffee sauce

75g butter

100g light muscovado sugar

30ml dark rum


Trim the outside of the pineapple and cut out all of the eyes. Shape the pineapple into a cylinder. Cut into slices; you should get about seven 2cm slices, though you will only need four to five of these. Cut the centre out of each slice with a small ring cutter and use a larger ring cutter to ensure all of the slices are a uniform shape.

Pour the water into a medium saucepan and add the sugar, star anise, bay leaves, vanilla pod and seeds, and cinnamon stick. Warm and stir until the sugar dissolves then bring to the boil. Lower the pineapple rings into the liquid and turn the temperature down to a low simmer. Cook for 15–20 minutes until the pineapple is just tender. Turn the heat off and let the pineapple cool in the liquid.

Lightly butter a 20cm square, solid-bottomed cake tin. Line the base and sides with baking parchment and butter the parchment. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4.

Make the topping. With a stand mixer, hand mixer or simply with a wooden spoon, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy. Fold in the dates and cracked black pepper.

Drain the pineapple slices and place them in the cake tin. Spread the topping mixture all over the pineapple. Drizzle on the dark rum.

Next, make the cake. Sift together the flour and baking powder. Using a stand mixer, hand mixer or simply with a wooden spoon, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy. Slowly beat in the sifted flour, eggs, rum and vanilla seeds (reserve the pods for making vanilla sugar or custard).

Spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth it down so it’s level. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to stand for 10–15 minutes, then turn it out on to a plate, ready for serving.

Whisk together the coconut cream and caster sugar until you have a light and fluffy mixture.

Make the toffee sauce. Put the butter and sugar into a medium saucepan and warm over a medium heat. Stir until the mixture is well combined. Stir in the rum and keep warm.

Sprinkle the lime zest over the cake and serve it with the toffee sauce and the coconut cream on the side.

Recipe cta

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