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Pineapple Upside Down Cake - Torta de Piña


Pineapple Upside Down Cake - Torta de Piña

Pineapple Upside Down Cake - Torta de Pina

Marian Blazes

Upside down cakes are made by placing fruit and sugar in the bottom of a cake pan or skillet, topping the fruit with cake batter, and then inverting the cake out of the pan once it has baked. This technique is said to date back to the Middle Ages. In Europe, apples and pears were the likely ingredients, but it seems natural that pineapple and other tropical fruits would become preferred substitutions once this recipe came to the New World. The convenience of canned pineapple helped this cake to become a staple in the US in the 20th century.

In Venezuela, torta de piña navideña is especially popular at Christmas and for birthday celebrations.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 1 9-inch single layer cake


  • For the Pineapple Slices:
  • 1 small fresh pineapple
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup rum or Pisco
  • Pinch of salt
  • ____
  • For the caramel:
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • ____
  • For the cake:
  • 1/2 cup butter (8 tablespoons), softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with a circle of parchment paper. Place the pan on a cookie sheet.

  2. Peel and slice the pineapple into eight 1/2-inch thick rings (use a small round cookie cutter to remove the core from each slice). Carefully place the slices of pineapple into a large saucepan, and cover with the sugar, orange juice, rum, and a pinch of salt. Bring to simmer and cook gently until the liquid is reduced to about 1/4 cup, and the pineapple slices are lightly caramelized (about 8 minutes). Remove from heat and let the pineapple slices cool in the syrup.

  3. Make the caramel: Place 4 tablespoons butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon milk, and a pinch of salt in another saucepan. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and darkens in color slightly. Remove from heat, stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla, and pour caramel into the prepared springform pan. Tilt pan so that the caramel coats the bottom of the can evenly.

  4. Arrange the pineapple slices in the bottom of the pan, placing them on top of the caramel. Place a maraschino cherry is the center of each pineapple ring. Reserve 4 tablespoons of the pineapple syrup.

  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the cake batter: Place the butter in the bowl of a standing mixer and beat until creamy. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs one a time, beating until well incorporated.

  6. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the reserved pineapple syrup and the sour cream and beat just until the batter is smooth.

  7. Spread the cake batter over the pineapple slices and caramel. Place cake pan (on the cookie sheet in case some caramel leaks) into the oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until cake springs back lightly to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 5 minutes.

  8. Run a knife around the edge of the cake and then loosed the springform gently. Invert cake onto a serving platter, and carefully lift the bottom of the pan and the parchment paper off of the top of the cake. Let cake cool for 10 minutes more before serving. Cake can be served warm with ice cream or at room temperature.

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