Kids Kitchen: Pineapple Upside Down Cake

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I’m slightly embarrassed to admit this, but this pineapple upside down skillet cake is the first time we’ve actually used our cast iron skillet! And I can’t even take credit for this one — this is a kids kitchen recipe!

An easy, authentic pineapple upside-down skillet cake recipe - so easy, kids can make it! Seriously, you can see a 3 year old helping with every step of this recipe. I love that you can make and serve the skillet cake in the skillet.

I don’t know how or when, but Ella somehow heard about skillet cakes and begged to make one.

At first, I thought the idea was cool but probably only something people do when camping, and I doubted that it would be that good. However, we researched “skillet cakes” and discovered that pineapple upside down cakes were originally made in skillets. Just the thought of that sticky, caramelized topping and fluffy cake was enough to make me agree immediately!

I normally try to make our dessert recipes as healthy as possible, but this being our first skillet cake and a kids kitchen recipe, I didn’t want to risk having it be a total flop so while we’ve reduced the sugar compared to most other pineapple upside down cake recipes that I’ve seen (and replaced it with pineapple juice), there is still a bit in our version.

How to make a pineapple skillet cake - this recipe is so easy, kids can make it!

How to Make Pineapple Upside Down Skillet Cake

First, gather your ingredients:

And – don’t forget to grab a cast iron skillet

step by step instructions how to make pineapple upside down cake in a skillet

First, start off by melting some brown sugar and butter in your cast iron skillet to make a caramel. Use a candy thermometer if you have one and try to get the syrup between 250 and 300F.

Ella making a pineapple upside down skillet cake

While I was busy making the caramel sauce, Ella whipped up the cake batter. Since skillet recipes are supposed to be easy and bare bones, we simply used a wooden spoon to mix our batter and didn’t really follow any order — adding wet and dry ingredients in no particular order.

A pineapple upside down cake recipe so easy, a 3 year old can make it!

Layer your pineapple slices or segments overtop of your caramel sauce and then pour your cake batter overtop.

Place the whole skillet in the oven and bake at 350F for 40 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Remove the cake from the oven and allow the skillet to cool for this next tricky bit (which would make for a bit of wow factor in front of guests… provided you don’t drop the heavy skillet!)

Place your serving tray ontop of the skillet, secure the tray with one hand, and then slowly and carefully flip the skillet onto the tray to transfer and release the cake onto the serving tray! Your pineapple garnishes should be on top, held in place by that gorgeous, sticky caramel.

Pineapple Upside down cake in a skillet - what a fun twist on a classic summer dessert

This pineapple upside down skillet cake was light and moist, and incredibly easy! The hardest part was knowing when to turn off the heat on the caramel sauce, which is right at the beginning and easy enough to start again if you accidentally burn a batch (and undercooking is not anything to be concerned about).

I can’t get enough of the little crunchy bits of caramel and the tender, cooked pineapple that contrast the fluffy not-too-sweet cake, and Ella insisted this was the perfect “tea cake.” We opted not to garnish with maraschino cherries to try to keep our cake as authentic and natural as possible. I kind of think it looks prettier without them.

The best part of this kids kitchen recipe was that Ella was incredibly proud of her work, and really any kid can do the majority of this recipe independently — I hope you give it a try!

Kids Kitchen: Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Ingredients

  • CARAMEL TOPPING:
  • 8 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 can pineapple slices
  • CAKE:
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 Tablespoon dark rum, optional (adds to the caramel flavour)
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice

Instructions

Melt butter in skillet and add brown sugar to make a caramel. Use a candy thermometer if you have one and try to get the syrup between 250 and 300F.

Meanwhile, stir together the cake ingredients. If you want to, you can whip the butter and sugar, add in the eggs, mix the dry ingredients separately and then incorporate, but this recipe really can just be stirred together.

Once the caramel is complete, take it off the heat and layer on the pineapple slices in your chosen pattern overtop of your caramel sauce, and then pour on your cake batter.

Place the whole skillet in the oven and bake at 350F for 40 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Remove the cake from the oven and allow the skillet to cool for this next tricky bit (which would make for a bit of wow factor in front of guests... provided you don't drop the heavy skillet!)

Place your serving tray ontop of the skillet, secure the tray with one hand, and then slowly and carefully flip the skillet onto the tray to transfer and release the cake onto the serving tray! Your pineapple garnishes should be on top, held in place by that gorgeous, sticky caramel.

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How to make a pineapple upside-down cake in a skillet

If you liked this post, be sure to check out our other Kids Kitchen ideas, including No-Churn Root Beer Float Ice Cream and Chocolate Chip Monkey Bread.

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14 Comments

  1. I recently bought a cast iron skillet but still have yet to use it. This recipe looks like a great first try for my new skillet!

  2. Hello, as I read the recipe ingredients it calls for 8 tbs of butter along with brown sugar for the caramel.

    The cake ingredient section doesn’t call for any butter, but when I read the directions for assembling the cake I saw this:
    “If you want to, you can whip the BUTTER
    and sugar, add in the eggs, mix the dry
    ingredients separately and then
    incorporate.”

    Did you mean to reserve some of the softened buster for the cake batter? I ended up adding a little olive oil to the cake batter since it seemed dry.

    Thanks,
    Sarah

  3. Hello, as I read the recipe ingredients it calls for 8 tbsp of butter along with brown sugar for the caramel.

    The cake ingredient section doesn’t call for any butter, but when I read the directions for assembling the cake I saw this:
    “If you want to, you can whip the BUTTER
    and sugar, add in the eggs, mix the dry
    ingredients separately & then incorporate.”

    Did you mean to reserve some of the softened butter for the cake batter? I ended up adding a little olive oil to the cake batter since it seemed dry.

    Thanks,
    Sarah

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