Laura’s Upside Down Pineapple Cake


Series 11

This wonderful pineapple upside down cake seems like an impossibility. If you have four cake tins, you can make all four cake layers in one batch. However, the recipe assumes that you’ll have only two – so bear in mind that, when you’re shopping, you’ll need to shop for double the sponge ingredients.

Serves: 8-10
Difficulty: Needs skill
Hands-On Time: 2 hrs
Baking Time: 25 mins x 2
  • Ingredients
  • Method
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Step 1
Heat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/325°F/Gas 3.

Step 2
Separate out half the egg whites and freeze them to use another time. Leave the remainder in a small bowl. Put the egg yolks in a bowl with the sugar and, using a balloon whisk, whisk for 1 minute, until combined and paler in colour. Slowly add the pineapple juice, oil and vanilla, whisking continuously until smooth.

Step 3
Sift the flour and baking powder together into the bowl and mix again to combine.

Step 4
Whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar and salt in a stand mixer until they hold firm peaks. Using a large metal spoon, fold one third of the egg whites into the cake mixture to loosen, then fold in the remainder, until no streaks remain.

Step 5
Divide the cake mixture equally between the two cake tins and bake for 25 minutes, until golden and well-risen and a skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean. Invert the cakes, still in the tins, onto a wire cooling rack and leave like that (without removing the tins) until cold. Then, carefully remove the cake tins and repeat the sponge-making with another batch of ingredients to make a further two cake layers.

Step 6
To make the curd whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a small, heavy-based pan. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk to combine. Set the pan over a low heat, whisking continuously until the curd just starts to bubble, and it thickens enough to thickly coat the back of a spoon. Pour the curd into a bowl, cover the surface with cling film and leave to cool. Once cold, chill until needed.

Step 7
To make the fondant icing, tip the marshmallows into a heatproof bowl. Add 5 tablespoons of water and melt the marshmallows in the microwave in short bursts until smooth.

Step 8
Spoon the sifted icing sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment. Pour the melted marshmallow mixture into the bowl and mix on slow speed until combined and smooth.

Step 9
Lightly oil the work surface, a rubber spatula and your hands. Scoop the fondant onto the work surface and knead until smooth. Cut off three 40g pieces and colour one black and one red and leave the remaining piece white. Cover with cling film and set aside.

Step 10
Divide the remaining fondant in half and cover one half with cling film. Knead yellow food colouring into the other half and cover with cling film. Then, colour the other fondant portion green. Cover again and set aside.

Step 11
To make the buttercream put the egg whites and a pinch of salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk. Tip the sugar into a small pan, add 4 tablespoons of water and heat to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil and cook until the syrup reaches 110°C/230°F on a sugar thermometer. Start whisking the egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. As soon as the syrup reaches 120°C/248°F, slowly pour it into the bowl with the egg whites while also gently whisking.

Step 12
Beat on a medium–high speed for about 6 minutes, until the mixture has doubled in volume and is thick, stiff, glossy and cold to the touch. Gradually add the softened butter, whisking continuously until smooth and glossy. Add the coconut extract and coconut cream and mix to combine. Cover until ready to use.

Step 13
To assemble the cake, place one sponge onto a cake board and spread it with buttercream, top with one third of the curd and one third of the chopped pineapple. Continue layering until you have four layers of cake and three of filling. Cover the top and sides of the cake with a layer of buttercream and chill for 30 minutes. Transfer the cake to a cake stand.

Step 14
Roll out the yellow fondant on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar, into a neat disc large enough to cover the sides and top of the cake (about 50cm diameter). Using a rolling pin to help you, carefully lift up the fondant disc and lay it over the cake, smoothing the top and sides with your hands. Trim any excess from the bottom. Gather any offcuts together and re-roll. Use the flower-cutter to stamp out flower shapes.

Step 15
Using the back of a knife, mark a diamond pattern into the fondant all over the top and sides of the cake. Lightly brush the flowers with water and stick them to the top of the cake.

Step 16
Roll out the black, white and red fondant and use these to make the facial features of the pineapple, according to the picture. Lightly brush the features with water and stick them to the cake. (Remember to position them upside down.)

Step 17
Roll out the green fondant and, using a sharp knife, cut out long leaf shapes. Brush the pineapple leaves lightly with water and arrange the leaves, slightly overlapping each other, under the cake and over the cake stand to give the illusion that the pineapple is upside down.