National Upside Down Cake Day is here.
The holiday is on April 20th, so we all have a great excuse to celebrate this delicious dessert as well as its namesake—the perfect prickly pineapple!
Let’s discover a bit more about the origins of the pineapple upside down cake.
The History Behind the Pineapple Upside Down Cake
The term ‘upside down cake’ appeared in the late 1800s, but the style of baking ‘upside down’ dates as far back as the Middle Ages with skillet cakes.
Prepared in cast iron skillets, fruit and sugar were added to the bottom of the pan while a simple cake batter was placed on top. After cooking over a fire, the cakes were then ‘flipped’ in order to show off the fruit and let the fruit juices run into the cake for a tastier result.
The first upside down cakes were not made with pineapple, but with other seasonal fruits like apples and cherries.
The use of pineapple began in 1901 when Jim Dole established the Hawaiian Pineapple Company (now known as the Dole Company) and started to produce and market mass quantities of canned pineapple.
The pineapple upside down cake craze was officially documented during a 1925 contest sponsored by the Hawaiian Pineapple Company. Out of 60,000 entries submitted, a whopping 2,500 featured pineapple. The company was so surprised with the number of pineapple upside down cake recipes that they ran an ad about it, which further cemented this unique dessert’s trendy stature.
Fun Facts About Pineapples
Here is some interesting trivia about pineapples, the ‘star’ of the pineapple upside down cake:
- Caribbean Indians placed pineapples or pineapple crowns outside the entrances of their homes to symbolize friendship and hospitality.
- The Spanish explorers thought pineapples looked like pinecones, so they called them “Pina.” The English added “apple” to associate it with juicy, delectable fruits.
- Pineapples originate in South America but the majority of pineapples today come from Southeast Asia.
- One pineapple plant can produce only one pineapple at a time.
- A pineapple ripens faster upside down.
- Pineapples can take up to three years to mature.
The best way to celebrate is to make a Pineapple Upside Down Cake—but one that uses only whole food, plant-based ingredients.
Here is our favorite recipe for Pineapple Cake.