"Better Than Grandma's" Pineapple Upside Down Cake

When special guests were on their way to visit, my great-grandmother would always make a pineapple upside-down cake.  Thankfully, her recipe was written down and passed down through my grandmother and mother, and now to me.   However, I must admit I always found the cake to be a bit too dense, and frankly, a bit boring.  Yikes!  I may get in trouble for saying that!  So, I worked with the recipe a bit by reducing the sugar (the original has 3 cups,) and then added a few ingredients here and there, all taking special care not to alter the integrity of the recipe or the cake.  The first time I made this new and improved version at home, it totally disappeared in about 2 hours.  While it still displays the spirit of generations before me, and of course is still baked in a cast iron skillet, this new and improved version offers a lighter, more flavorful cake that is sure to please the whole family.  I feel sure my great-grandmother would be proud!


½ Cup unsalted Butter (1 stick)
1 cup light brown sugar
1 can (20 ounces) sliced pineapple, drain and reserve ½  cup of juice
3 eggs, separated into yolks and whites
1 TBSP lemon juice
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
 Small jar of Candied Maraschino Cherries


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup) in heavy 10’’ iron skillet. 
Cover melted butter with 1 cup brown sugar, spreading evenly.
Place 1 pineapple slice in center on top of sugar, and cut rest of pineapple slices in half.  Arrange these in a circle around the center slice like the spokes of a wheel with the rounded edges facing the same way. 
Place 3 cherries in the middle of center pineapple slice.
In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks, ½ cup of the reserved pineapple juice,  1 TBSP lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract until smooth.
In a separate medium bowl, sift together 1 cup flour,  1 cup sugar,  1 teaspoon baking powder,  and 1 teaspoon  salt.
Fold in approximately ½ of dry sifted mixture into egg mixture and stir.  Then fold in other ½ of dry sifted mixture and stir until smooth. 
In small mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. 
Gently fold stiffly beaten egg whites into cake batter. 
Pour batter gently over pineapple in iron skillet.
Bake for 35 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.
Let cool and rest for 5 minutes.

Gently loosen edges of cake with a butter knife, and then remove cake from iron skillet by gently turning upside down onto serving dish.

 (Optional) When serving, garnish individual slices with an additional maraschino cherry.