Pineapple upside down cakes are always a crowd pleaser when I make them. I get the most requests – believe it or not – for my Hawaiian Spam Pineapple Upside Down Cake, which has an unusual sweet-savory element to it that makes it very addictive. This Pineapple Upside Down Loaf Cake is an easy and delicious version of a traditional pineapple upside down cake. Baked in a loaf pan, this cake has a slightly lower pineapple-to-cake ratio than some pineapple cakes, so you get plenty of tender vanilla cake along with your pineapple and there won’t be as much excess juice to turn your cake soggy if you can’t eat the whole thing in one day.
I used fresh pineapple for this cake, but canned pineapple rings can also be used as long as you drain them thoroughly. I always recommend using pineapples that are packed in juice, not syrup. For the fresh pineapple, I cut off the hard exterior of the fruit, then cut the rest of it into 1/4-inch thick slices. It is ok if your slices are slightly thicker, but you should aim for a uniform thickness. I removed the core of the slices and arranged them to fit on the bottom of the loaf pan. I also cut some little triangles of pineapple to fill in any gaps, as you want an even layer of pineapple over the whole cake.
Lining the loaf pan with parchment paper before you start will ensure that your cake comes out easily and that the fruit topping comes out intact. The finished cake looks impressive, but it tastes even better than it looks. The flavor of the pineapple is accented nicely by the touch of cinnamon added to the sugar topping, and it stands out well against the vanilla cake. The cake is dense, but tender, with a tight crumb that easily supports the weight of the fruity topping and slices neatly each and every time. This is a delicious cake and much easier to make than it looks, which means that it is the perfect “everyday” treat to make whenever you happen to have some pineapple waiting to get used up in your kitchen!
This cake is excellent on the day it is baked, but it keeps very well for at least two to three days after baking if stored in an airtight container. I like it with my morning coffee, as well as for dessert. If you want to dress it up, however, simply pair it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream.
Pineapple Upside Down Loaf Cake
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3-4 pineapple rings or 1/4-inch thick slices of pineapple
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
3 tbsp vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan and line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper.
In a small bowl, stir together sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the parchment-lined pan. Arrange pineapple rings to cover the base of the pan, cutting small pieces to fill gaps, if necessary. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, vanilla extract and almond extract. Pour into flour mixture and whisk until a thick batter starts to come together. Pour in vegetable oil and melted butter, whisk until batter is completely uniform and no streaks of butter or flour remain.
Pour batter into prepared pan over pineapple layer.
Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the top of the cake springs back when lightly pressed. Let the cake cool in the pan completely, then run a knife around the edge and invert onto a serving plate.