Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Tomorrow we’re heading to NYC for a few days. It’s what we call our Let’s-Go-To-NYC-And-See-Folks-And-Catch-Up kind of trip. I suppose that’s what’s called networking, right? We try to make the trip a few times a year, although this past year has flown by with work and travel and this is our first visit to the city in 2011. And man oh man are we looking forward to it, even if Irene caused a slight reschedule. I’m no stranger to being uprooted due to hurricanes and hope everyone is safe and well. I’m glad to see my friends are ok.

I realize I haven’t been blogging much lately and for that I apologize. I feel as if the blog has been a wee bit neglected and that saddens me. To be completely honest I’ve been busier with the photography side of my life more than I ever thought I would be. Two cookbook projects, a wonderful holiday shoot for Food Network & Cooking Channel, even a very special photography project for a company you might have heard of have occupied every single minute of my day for the past 6 weeks. And I am so not complaining! I feel blessed to be doing something that I love and fortunate to work with amazingly creative people.

Oh, and I just signed another book deal. But more on that later. It should be fun.

As a way to celebrate a copious amount of completed work we thought we’d make a cake. With New York on my mind I thought back to my last visit in November when I joined my friends from Spice Islands at a taping of The Martha Stewart Show. One of Martha’s guests was Michael Kors, fashion designer and apparently a baker of cakes. Who knew? He made a Pineapple Upside Down Cake, a family recipe from his Grandma Bea and from my very special seat in the front row (Thanks, Martha!) I could smell the cake’s sweet pineappley goodness. Oh my god, I thought, I haven’t had a Pineapple Upside Down Cake since 1978. I was a child and I remember stuffing my face with it. Sweet and warm, sticky and crunchy on the edges, this was the cake I’d make when I needed to make my next cake. Which isn’t that often, ya know. I realize food falls in and out of fashion but I do miss Pineapple Upside Down Cake’s glory days immensely. With the exception of a few places making it for nostalgia’s sake you just don’t really see it. Of course if you do will you please let me know about it?

So Grandma Bea and Michael Kors, thank you for this recipe. It made me miss my mom’s Pineapple Upside Down Cake and also made me feel like I will need no sugar for the rest of the year. Seriously folks, this is one sweet cake. But since this is a family recipe I will not modify it here but let’s just say that next time I might reduce the sugar just a weeeeee bit.


Grandma Bea’s Pineapple Upside Cake from Michael Kors The Martha Stewart Show, November 2010

Matt’s notes: I’m pretty sure you could reduce the amount of white sugar in this recipe to 1 cup and still have a delightfully sweet cake. I was trying to run it by Mr. Kors but he hasn’t returned my phone calls yet.

1 (20.5-ounce) can pineapple rings in juice
3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 cup lightly packed light-brown sugar
1/3 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
4 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Drain pineapple rings and discard juice. Place pineapple on a paper-towel-lined plate to drain, turning once, for 5 minutes.

Melt 6 tablespoons butter and transfer to a 9-inch round cake pan to evenly coat bottom; sprinkle brown sugar evenly over bottom of cake pan and top with an even layer of pineapple rings and pecans, if using. Set prepared cake pan aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla until well combined; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat remaining 6 tablespoons butter with granulated sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture alternating with egg mixture; beat until batter is just combined.

Pour batter in prepared cake pan and transfer to oven. Cook until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.

Run a small sharp knife around edge of pan to release cake. Place a plate on top of cake pan and invert cake onto plate; serve.

Recipe reprinted from Martha Stewart.


  1. says

    Matt the cake looks awesome and the recipe from Michael Kors and Martha…ummm wow! Wish I had friends like that who were giving me recipes :)

    Congrats on your next book deal!! On a Stick! is one of the only books in my entire cookbook library that doesn’t collect dust. I love both the recipes and of course, the photography.

    Have fun in NYC and being busy and working in a field that makes you so happy and having all these amazing projects you’re working on…CONGRATS! Blogs…will always be here. That other stuff…so fabulous! Go do it all!!

  2. Heidi says

    Hey Matt!

    I’ve thought about that cake a beeeellion times since our Martha visit. I think your gorgeous photography finally convinced me to make it. I’m going to cut out 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the white sugar and I’ll keep you posted on the results.

    That reminds me – I also need to make the salted caramel ice cream from that episode . . . .

    Miss you!

  3. says

    Yay! A new post AND a very yummy looking cake recipe. BONUS. I’ve become addicted to your blog even though I’m all the way over here in London, so just don’t get TOO busy with your fab photography projects! 😉

    FYI- I think should be your next MattBites networking destination! I’ll happily be your full service foodie tour guide while you’re here…I have a feeling you’d be a blast to hit the town with!

  4. says

    Amazing looking cake! Pineapple upside down cake is one of my favourites and reckon the nuts in your recipe gives it a really great crunch.

    Congrats on the book deal and all the photo-work you’ve been getting yourself. I’m looking at upgrading my camera and lens so I can improve some of mine as well.

    Looking forward to your next update.

  5. says

    I do not like cake,but when I see your Pineapple Upside Down Cake’s photos, I think I will like this cake.I like to eat pineapple and pecans.This cake has them both.Thanks for you sharing.

  6. says

    Congrats on your new book deal!

    I just made my first upside down cake – it wasn’t pineapple – but it left scars of horror I tell you. There is an art to the upside down cake I never knew. This pineapple one looks perfect though!

  7. says

    Hi Matt!

    I love reading your blog. Really great recipes and the Pineapple Upside Down Cake looks delicious.

    I live in New York City and recently started my own cooking blog called “Cookin’ with the Kaptain” – I’m new to cooking and would love to hear what you think about my blog!

    Take a look and let me know what you think.

    Thanks – KK

  8. says

    I found your blog as I was looking at The Times 50 best food blogs in the world. I am so glad I have found it. I love the use of imagery and the insight you have brought to my attention. I will be keeping an eye on this little gem! thank you and keep up the brilliant work.

  9. says

    A great cake to celebrate a wonderful city. Have not been back to NYC in a few years now. My folks always come out here these days (from Long Island) so I don’t have to make the schlep. I really, really need to get my act together to make the schlep. With kids. They need to experience the city. Perhaps I should not feed them this cake before bed?

  10. says

    btw. a BIG congrats on all of the amazing projects you have been working on. You and Adam define true success to me. You love what you do, smile often, share wisdom, and are so freakin’ talented and creative. A template for success. *kisses*

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