Sunday, 3 July 2011

Upside Down Cake - about as retro as it gets!

Ages ago I made a pineapple upside down cake at work. The height of 1970s sophistication (or was it 1960s? before my time anyway), the upside down cake is sadly no longer as popular as it once was. Perhaps it's because fewer people eat tinned fruit these days? I don't know. Anyway I found the recipe in an old Good Housekeeping cookbook from the early 70s that used to belong to my boss's mother, and I liked it so much that I snapped a quick iPhone photo of it and was going to share the recipe on my blog.

Except I completely forgot about it.

Until today, when I went to a car boot fair and found a copy of the book (in much better condition, it even still has its dust jacket) for a pound. Obviously I snapped it up, and I remembered that I was supposed to share this lovely recipe with you. So here it is, in its original Imperial measurements because I feel it would be wrong to convert them, and in its original wording with my comments in parenthesis.

Pineapple & Gingerbread Upside Down Cake


1/2 lb butter
9 oz demerara sugar
1 15oz can pineapple rings (the equivalent size can nowadays is 432g)

2 eggs
10 oz self raising flour
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsps milk

Preheat the oven to 350ºF/gas 4/180ºC. Grease a baking tin about 8" square. (I used a 10" round tin. Don't use a loose-based tin because it will leak!)

Melt 2oz butter, add 3oz demerara sugar and dissolve, add 3 tbsp pineapple juice from the tin. Bring to the boil and cook until a thick syrup is formed. (I did this in the microwave, by the way - it only took a couple of minutes.) Pour this into the tin and cover with slices of pineapple. (I also added glacé cherries in the holes in the pineapple ring, which is how I always remember seeing upside down cake.)

Cream the remaining butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs and fold in the dry ingredients to give a soft consistency. Pour this mixture over the pineapple and bake in the centre of the oven for 1 1/4 hours (in fact I found it only took about 50 minutes in a fan oven, so be careful).

This cake smelled absolutely gorgeous while it was baking; I reckon it's worth making just so you can have a sniff!

My boot sale find :)

There are lots of lovely retro recipes in this book, so look out for more of them in future.


  1. Oh I love it! The Viking loves this and I never make it so I must!!

  2. Oh, I think they might be more popular than you think. I've made a few upside down cakes now and they are so delicious. I used fresh pineapple for the one I made. Do give it a go.

  3. What a great pudding, I have some lovely pineapple upside down trays (Nordic Ware) and really must try your recipe.
    Also the Goodhousekeeping Book, my all time favourite, just love it and use it all the time, and everything works!

  4. Hello! Thanks for commenting, I hope you get some Hobmother dust coming your way! I have been a bit obsessed with pineapple upside down cake this year and have made a couple, but I love the sound of adding spices. Sounds like an excuse to bake another one methinks! Also, I actually prefer Imperial measurements, clearly I am stuck in the past!

  5. An oldie but goodie -- what a great cake =). Love the caramelly goodness on top that drips down.


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