Upside Down Cake (Pineapple or Kumquat!)

Rick and Lauren brought over an AMAZING upside down cake, made using Eric and Marilyn's frozen kumquats (which had thawed out during our 2.5 day power outage). Omg, it was one of the best cakes I've had. Rick did a mashup of this non-vegan kumquat upside down cake and this vegan pineapple upside down cake. Definitely use a cast iron skillet if you have one; I think it makes a difference (and I bought a 10" skillet just for this recipe!) If you don't have kumquats, try with pineapple or another citrus-y fruit!


2 T vegan butter (original was 4; reduced)
2 T brown sugar, packed
6 slices of pineapple (1/4" thick) OR 20 kumquats (seed removed), sliced 1/4" thick, OR mix of mango and pineapple chunks

Dry mix:
1 3/4 C flour
3/4 C sugar (original was 1 C; reduced)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1 pineapple ring or 6 kumquats (seeds removed), diced finely
3/4 C non-dairy milk (almond or oat)
1/4 C pineapple juice (or kumquat juice)
2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 T apple cider vinegar

Optional rum glaze:
1 T rum
1/2 C powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Kumquat version

Mango pineapple chunk version

Lightly grease the sides of a 9 or 10-inch cast iron skillet, then heat over medium-high heat and melt butter.  When butter is bubbling and just starts to brown, stir in brown sugar.

Cook until sugar has dissolved into the butter and starts to melt, then remove from heat. Spread sugar mixture evenly across the bottom of the pan.

Slice 20 kumquats crosswise in ¼ inch thick slices, seeds removed. Arrange kumquat slices tightly over the brown sugar into desired pattern and set aside.

Mix flour, sugar, baking soda and salt together. Add in the non-dairy milk, pineapple juice, vanilla, oil and vinegar and whisk together with a hand whisk until just combined.  Stir the 6 diced kumquats into the cake mixture. 

Pour the cake mixture over the kumquat slices and smooth down with the back of a spoon or spatula.

Note: put a cookie sheet below the skillet before placing in the oven. Sometimes the cake runs over!

Place into the oven and bake for 55 minutes. Bring it out at the 30-minute mark, cover loosely with foil that’s been lightly greased to prevent sticking, and return to the oven for another 25 minutes. The foil will prevent it from over-browning.

It's ready when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean (don't push it too far down or you'll hit the base and then the toothpick won't come out clean even if it is ready).

Let the cake cool for 10 minutes (not longer) before inverting it onto a plate or cake stand. First, losen the edges with a soft spatula. Then, to flip it, place a plate or cake stand against the cake pan and – using hefty potholders and summoning your biceps for all their strength – flip it so that the cake pan is upside down on top of the plate or cake stand. Let it sit for a few seconds for the caramelized brown sugar to run down over the sides of the cake, and then lift the cake pan off.

Optionally mix rum glaze and pour over top.

Slice and enjoy!

Keep leftovers covered in the fridge, if there are any. It is also freezer friendly for up to 3 months. 

Making the cake with fresh pineapple, and with the help of my new 10" cast-iron skillet and bicep guy:

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