for the love of cake – coco-mac pineapple upside down cake

by hungryrabbit on April 20, 2012

Coco-Mac Pineapple Upside Down Cake

A couple of posts ago, I spoke of my former fondness for cakes with fruit cocktail filling and whipped cream. I ate them because: 1.) I loved desserts as a child and that’s what was given to me, and 2.) cake represented celebration. I have evolved in my choice of desserts, but the second reason has become ingrained into my lifestyle.

Be it for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and/or occasions that call for celebration, cake serves a noble purpose. The cake that I love does not need a specific reason to create. For non-bakers, you simply go to a bakery and purchase the right one for the occasion. For us bakers–to me anyway–it’s the love, care, and process of baking a cake that makes the final product special.

The moment I take the butter and eggs out of the fridge in preparation for a cake, I get excited—almost as excited as I got as a kid building a mega structure with Legos. (more on my Lego obsession another time). The smell of butter and sugar, while beating them together to form fluffy swirls, is seductive all by itself. The addition of eggs, flour, leavening agent, maybe spices, and a flavorful liquid (milk, sour cream, buttermilk, etc) magically blend to yield the final batter. The methods of cake preparation may vary, but the science of baking is irrefutably a rewarding process.

I love pineapple upside-down cake. The pineapple, specifically from a can, brings back childhood memories. The character of this classic is heightened by the caramelization of pineapples on top, as well as in the batter. These mini cakes may not be the decorated tiered cakes that one envisions for a celebration, but the addition of coconut and macadamia nuts gives a tropical twist—and rum intensifies it. That’s a party in itself.

Coco-Mac Pineapple Upside Down Cake

recipe by hungry rabbit
yield: six 3-inch cakes


Pineapple mixture and topping
1 (20 ounces) can pineapple slices in natural juices
1 teapoon fresh ginger, finely grated
1 tablespoon dark rum
1/2 cup sweetened coconut, shredded
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
1/2 cup (4 ounces) light brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tablespoon dark rum


1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325℉. Place six 3-inch cake pan on baking sheet, set aside.

2. Select 6 rings of pineapple on paper towel and press another layer of paper towel on top to absorb the juices, set aside until ready to use.

3. Chopped up remaining (4 slices) pineapple and place it in a small sauce pan; add 1 tablespoon of pineapple juice and ginger. Cook mixture over medium heat until almost dry and slightly caramelized. Stir in rum and continue to cook until mixture becomes sticky, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in coconut, cool mixture to room temperature.

4. Combine butter, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan, cook over medium heat until sugar has melted and fully incorporated. Continue to cook until mixture starts to bubble around the edges, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and rum (Mixture will bubble up slightly, so be careful). Divide mixture evenly among six baking pans; place reserved pineapple ring, one each in baking pans. Set aside

1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup macadamia nuts
1/2 cup (4 ounces) light brown sugar, packed
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely grated
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt in a small bowl, set aside.

2. In a food processor, add nuts and sugar, process until nuts are finely chopped, about 20-30 seconds. Add flour mixture and process until just combined, 15 seconds. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse sand, about ten 1-second pulses.

3. Add egg, sour cream and extract; process until smooth, about 5 seconds (scrape bowl if needed). Add pineapple mixture and pulse until just combined, about five 1-second pulses (mixture should not be 100% smooth).

4. Divide batter evenly among cake pans, spread batter evening to pan edges and smooth surface with small spatula. Bake until cake is golden brown and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 35-45 minutes. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, invert onto plates. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Meeta April 20, 2012 at 8:25 am

Divine in every way. Flavors, aromas and it simply looks stunning! And honestly I prefer such flavor packed cakes more than fancy tier cakes! Hugs!

thelittleloaf April 20, 2012 at 8:57 am

I love the idea of making individual upside down cakes with a single slice of pineapple – so cute!

Georgie April 20, 2012 at 9:33 am

Gorgeous cake. I wish I lived next door.

Wendy Read April 20, 2012 at 10:25 am

Gorgeous shots Ken! Beautiful little cakes..I never used canned pineapple, we always have gorgeous fresh ones here, but these cakes look just divine.

Nancie McDermott April 20, 2012 at 2:35 pm

What a lovely and inspired cake, or rather make that: cakes. Cake-lets. Cake-ettes. I adore them and cannot wait to make this. Perfect for family reunion. Birthday. New job. Bon voyage. Welcome home. Friday night. I’m with you about cakes (and the very process of making them). They have magic along with all the other goodnesses. I am a fan of canned pineapple for this one; it’s cool to go with fresh pineapple, but this old-school dessert was not ever broken and I think you’ve expanded its charm in your inimitable smart way.

vic@cakebook April 21, 2012 at 5:59 am

Wow – too cute.
Have always wanted to do an individual upside down cake – just gorgeous :)

Sara{OneTribeGourmet} April 21, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Ken, I have a thing for pineapple upside down cake, maybe because my mom used to bake for me when I was feeling down! It’s like a ray of sunshine! Love the recipe & the pics!

Paula- bell'alimento April 21, 2012 at 1:22 pm

This is completely adorable and scrumptious and I’d like to have one now to celebrate celebrating : )

Cyndy April 21, 2012 at 6:50 pm

The ingredients all compliment each other beautifully. Love the photo’s too. I would love to have one NOW!

Deb April 22, 2012 at 12:12 am

What a delightful jelly! Delicate yet vibrant, a perfect ode to spring. I only wish I knew where forage violets locally. An very enjoyable post.

Brian @ A Thought For Food April 22, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Can you please make this for me the next time I come… I’m not even a big dessert person, but you have my stomach gurgling for one of these.

Part Time House Wife April 22, 2012 at 12:50 pm

These little babies look like my dream come true. I’m not the biggest cake person but pineapple and coconut together is heaven an your pictures make my sweet tooth hurt! 😉
Congrats on Top 9!

CJ at Food Stories April 22, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Major congrats on your foodbuzz top 9, today!

leeann April 23, 2012 at 2:13 pm

adorable and look delicious. Thank you. do you bake the cake in cupcake tins? what is the cake pan?

hungryrabbit April 23, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Hi Leeann, I used a 3×3 cake pan. You can certainly use a jumbo muffin tin. -Ken

Jeanne @ CookSister! April 27, 2012 at 9:24 am

OMG, that is a chewy cocktail, not a cake! I have a huge weakness for pineapple upside down cakes and these babies look so delish – love the bright summery colours too!

Jess August 1, 2013 at 7:47 pm

I love the ingredients for this cake but don’t want to make individual cakes – do you think I could bake it as one big one? Thanks!!

hungryrabbit August 1, 2013 at 11:35 pm

Hi Jess, I believe you can do it in a 9-inch cake pan. You’ll have to adjust/extend the baking time accordingly. Happy Baking! -Ken

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