This recipe makes an old-fashioned pineapple upside down cake in an iron skillet from scratch. This dessert is an old favorite in my family and many throughout the South. My grandfather would request it on his birthday. There is something special about making it in an iron skillet–gives it more of an homemade feel. This version of pineapple upside-down cake calls for pecans, which many recipes of this nature do not.

Skillet Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Ingredients:

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter or margarine, use butter for a better tasting cake
  • 1 cup of dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup of chopped pecans
  • 1 20-ounce can of pineapple slices, reserved the juice
  • 6 to 7 maraschino cherries
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour, sift before measuring
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 5 tablespoons of butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar


  1. Turn on the oven to preheat at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place the 1 stick of butter in an 8 or 9-inch iron skillet. Set the iron skillet on low heat to melt the butter.
  3. Stir in the brown sugar and nuts. Once it's combined nicely, remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. Drain the pineapple slices and save 1/3 cup of the juice.
  5. Place the pineapple slices, single layer in the bottom of the iron skillet.
  6. Arrange a cherry in the center of each pineapple slice. Set aside and prepare the cake batter.
  7. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together, then set aside.
  8. Separate the eggs, put the egg whites in a medium mixing bowl and the yolks in a large mixing bowl.
  9. On high speed, beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Set aside.
  10. Oh medium speed, beat the egg yolks until they become thick and smooth.
  11. Add the softened butter, 5 tablespoons, to the egg yolks and beat until well blended.
  12. Gradually add the granulated sugar while continuing to beat at a medium speed. Beat for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is creamed, light and fluffy.
  13. Add in the flour and beat on low speed for about a minute.
  14. Gently fold in the stiff peaked egg whites.
  15. Transfer the cake batter into the iron skillet, over the pineapple mixture.
  16. Spread evenly and/or shake the pan gently to even out the batter.
  17. Put the iron skillet in the center of the preheated oven. Bake until the cake is golden brown and center test done. This will be about 30 to 35 minutes in a calibrated oven.
  18. Once the pineapple upside-down cake is finished baking, remove the iron skillet from the oven and place on an wire rack to cool for just a few minutes.
  19. Use a blunt end knife to loosen the edges of the cake and invert the cake to a serving platter or cake dish. Be careful as it will be very hot and the skillet is very heavy.
  20. Serve the cake immediately, or cool before serving.

* If there is not an iron skillet available to make this old-fashioned pineapple upside down cake from scratch, a 9X9 inch cake pan can be used. Nuts and the cherries can be omitted.