Individual Fresh Pineapple Up-Side-Down Cakes with Coconut Ice Cream, and Macadamia Nut Brittle

If you grew up in the 1950's or '60's, chances are your mom or grandmother made a Pineapple Up-Side-Down cake on occasion.  Most everybody I knew who made the cake used canned pineapple as it was more readily available than fresh then.  
Canned will do in this recipe ~ but fresh just moves it up a notch.

When I saw a version that Tyler Florence serves at his San Francisco "Wayfare Tavern" restaurant I was reminded that I hadn't made this cake in a long time.

I wanted to make individual cakes but the dilemma was finding the right size baking containers.  I have seen recipes where the cake is baked in jumbo muffin tins, but unless you get an exceptionally small pineapple, you have to trim the pineapple rings to fit.  That idea didn't appeal to me so much, so I ended up using these little Chantal® crockery pie dishes. They hold about 11 ounces.  If I had smaller suitable containers, perhaps an 8-ounce size, it would have worked out better as I felt this size portion was a little too large, we ended up serving 1/2 cake for each serving.  

To me what makes this dessert really special is the combination of tropical flavors ~ so quite honestly, the next time I'd skip the hassle of making individual servings and just make the cake the usual way ~ in an 8 or 9-inch baking pan.

You'll get the same luscious flavors with a fraction of the work!
I'm all for that.

The Macadamia nut brittle is a nice extra touch, but it certainly could be omitted. It provides a nice counterpoint to the not-too-sweet coconut ice cream.  For the brittle I just used my favorite nut-brittle recipe, substituting toasted macadamias and sprinkled a little Fleur de Sel on top while it was cooling.

To make assembly of the dessert easier, I made the brittle two days ahead and stored it in an air-tight container.  I made the Coconut Ice Cream the day before, and baked the cakes the day of. 

If you're looking for a great recipe for coconut ice cream, look no further... and it is as easy as can be.

I always use 'Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut'® (yes, the same ingredient that makes killer piña coladas.)  I've tried other brands, but this one is the best, in my opinion.  And even though it is sweet, sweet, sweet straight out of the can, by the time it is mixed with the milk and cream, it is just perfect and not cloyingly sweet at all.

You can also add toasted coconut to the ice cream, but this time I thought there was enough going on with cake and the nut brittle, so I left it out.


About the cutter for fresh pineapple ~

I've used the plastic pineapple cutter, but unfortunately a plastic part broke after only a couple of uses, rendering it useless ... money wasted.

I like that this one is made entirely of sturdy metal, PLUS it cores and cuts the pineapple flesh into a hollow cylindrical shape so you can cut the pineapple into thick or thin rings or spears. For the cakes, I cut them thicker than canned pineapple rings, a delicious improvement!

It also leaves the pineapple shell in tact which allows you to serve tropical drinks in it (or use it as container for fruits, desserts, etc.)

Other suggested uses (from the label): 

"Use it to chop & mince fruit, vegetables & hard boiled eggs. Great for breaking up ground meat as it browns. It can cut better into sugar/flour for recipes. Also great as a cookie/donut cutter"

AND, it is proudly made in the USA!

So, the verdict regarding this dessert?

1.) These are fabulous flavors that were meant to go together.
2.) Canned pineapple is okay, but fresh is far superior.
3.) The Macadamia Nut Brittle is delicious,  and a nice extra but definitely not a necessary component.
4.) The Coconut Ice Cream put this over the top... (it has been a family favorite for years.) I urge you to try it even if you skip the cake. 

And # 5...  Ice Cream is a PAIN to photograph. Thankfully the room temperature was not too warm. :)

If you would like printable copies of the recipes, please check out my recipe blog HERE.

Thank you for stopping by today, friends!


  1. This takes up this retro dish that I remember up a notch, all I need is the right sized pans.

  2. What a great idea..individuals:) Wow Mary..You are so creative.
    They are beautiful.

  3. Will you marry me? Or just come stay with me and make this everyday? K, thanks :)

  4. I would love the make the cake plus the coconut ice cream! The cherry on the top makes a perfect finishing touch. :)

  5. Thank you, Mari, this sounds like a perfect combo! I've been searching for a tropical dessert for an upcoming dinner but nothing seemed quite right. I was planning on making coconut ice cream but wanted more oomph and I think both your macadamia nut brittle and the pineapple upside down cake fits the bill. =)

  6. I love that you combined all of these elements together into one dessert! Like a pina colada on steroids!! :-D Amazing photos, Mari - I want to try this very soon!!

  7. Hi Mari....this post was near and dear to my heart....When I was a senior in high school Crisco was having a contest and I made pineapple upside down cake....using Jiffy cake mix but I used pineapple juice instead of water. The cake mix cost back then like 20 cents. The day of the contest I showed up with my beautiful cake the only problem was only two other people entered.....I won 1st. place and the honor and trophy of Crisco's Home Ec Student of the Year...When they wanted the winning recipe to post in the local paper I just ignored their request until they stopped asking....I couldn't very well tell them it was Jiffy mix....I still have the trophy!!

  8. Yes you're bringing back memories. This was the cake I always requested my mom to bake on my birthday. Those individual cakes and the photos are just so enticing. Great work as always.

  9. Wow, what a fun and delicious sounding recipe! I will definitely be trying this one out. I love new twists on old classic recipes. The macadamia brittle looks divine!

  10. All I can say is WOW...simply gorgeous pics and I can just taste the cake by seeing it! I must try this! What a blast from the past!

  11. Thank you so much for your very nice comments.

    Julia, you crack me up!

    I'm so happy KarenLana ~ if you make it, I hope you like it.

    Sue, what a great story!! :D

    CCLinda, how FUN that Pineapple USD Cake was the one you requested for your birthday. I haven't made it in so long, I almost forgot how much I like it too.

  12. Sorry Mari, I can't marry you—I'm already spoken for.

    But, Pineapple Upside-Down Cake has always been a favorite of mine, and shall always be. The brittle is a nice, crunchy touch.

  13. Love these little individual desserts and those are beautiful photos!

  14. You just broke my heart Sol... ;)

    Hi Karen! Thank you so much. Thank you both for stopping by and leaving a comment. xo

  15. I made the coconut ice cream today and it is amazing! SO EASY and really delicious - thank you, thank you! You were right about the Coco Lopez. I've used various coconut milks before but there is no comparison. Tomorrow I'll be making the nut brittle. =)

  16. The Macadamia Nut Brittle.....It's incredible! So buttery and perfect. =D

  17. Hi KarenLana! Thank you so much for your reviews. I'm so happy you liked the coconut ice cream (is that a crazy-easy recipe, or what?!)

    And I'm glad you liked the Macadamia Nut Brittle ~ it so nice of you to come back and leave feedback!

    I hope you have a wonderful weekend. :)

  18. Hi Mari, you always inspire me to get into the kitchen to do some baking. Your skills are incredible. I haven't thought of doing indivual ones.. yummy.... hugs ~lynne~


Thank you for your comments, friends ~ they make my day!

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