Pineapple Upside Down Cake is so retro but always a favorite. Today I am putting the One Hot Oven twist on this classic dessert and making Grilled Pineapple Upside Down Cakes.
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This cake was my mother’s favorite dessert so she made it all the time. I have fond memories of this cake coming out of the oven all hot and bubbly. The fun, but scary part was flipping a super hot iron skillet over on a plate to see caramelized pineapple and the sweet red cherry on top.
So why the grill? The main reason is I just wanted to try to see what I could grill for dessert, especially when the days are hot and baking just isn’t happening. Plus, if you are going camping, you can prepare these cakes ahead of time, put in the cooler, and then after the hot dogs come off the campfire you can cook these cakes for dessert.
Why I love to grill these cakes
- This dessert uses 5 simple ingredients.
- You use foil to grill these cakes so there are no messy pans to clean up – oh yeah!
- Grilling these cakes takes 10-12 minutes, that’s it! No heating your kitchen up.
- These are individual servings.
I bet you are wondering what if I don’t have a grill or maybe it’s raining outside or worse it’s snowing; so the grill thing is just not happening. No problem then, just bake in a 350 F, degree oven for 10-15 minutes until you can hear the brown sugar and butter sizzling inside the packets.
The story of Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
Upside-down cakes have a long history, dating bake to the middle ages when cakes were topped with fruit then baked and flipped over when done. This is similar to the French Tarte Tatin which has a pastry crust or the American skillet cakes.
Thanks to James Dole and his pineapple canning business in Hawaii, canned pineapple became a household staple. Fresh pineapple wasn’t accessible to many people in the early 1900s, and canned pineapple started making its way into kitchens across the country.
Pineapple upside-down cake became a household dessert in 1925 thanks to Dole Pineapple. Dole sponsored a recipe contest using Dole pineapple and out of the 60,000 recipes submitted the pineapple upside-down cake was the winner.
The popularity of this cake has lasted through the years for good reason. It’s simple to make with basic ingredients and it is hard to resist a tender buttery cake covered in juicy pineapple dripping in caramel.
- Brown Sugar
- Pre-made dessert sponge cakes
- Maraschino Cherries
Making these Upside Down Cakes are perfect for a family bbq, a simple camping dessert, or for, I just want a great dessert.
Here’s the thing, you don’t have to be a super-duper baker to make these cakes because there is no mixing, measuring, rolling, kneading or frosting required. It just can’t get any easier.
Let’s Grill A Cake
All grills are totally different so you have to judge how hot your grill gets and adjusting your burners. I am using a Weber Genesis three burner grill which gets really hot, so I do have to adjust the burners to low, and sometimes I only grill with just two burners.
If you are using charcoal you may have to adjust the bricks for heat control or set the cakes to one side of the grill.
These cakes take about 10 minutes and you will be able to hear the butter and brown sugar sizzling inside the foil packets. You can pull one of the packets off the grill and carefully open it up to see if the cake has heated up and cooked.
Step 1 – Preheat the grill and after it has heated up, turn the burners to low.
Step 2 – Tear off some sheets of foil to fit the cake. I cut my foil in squares about 8″ x 8″ that fits the cake well.
Step 3 – Place a tablespoon of butter in the center of one piece of foil, then place 1 tablespoon of brown sugar on top of the butter.
Step 4. Place a whole slice of pineapple on top of the brown sugar, then put the cherry into the center of the pineapple.
Step 5. Place the sponge cake upside-down over the pineapple slice.
Step 6. Next, put the second piece of foil over the cake and crimp the edges to seal. You don’t want a snug fit, you should end up with a pillow.
Step 7. Lay the foil packets on the grill so the pineapple side is on the bottom. With the grill on low, grill for 10 – 12 minutes. You will hear a little sizzling inside the packets as they are grilling, this is the butter and brown sugar melting along with the juice in the pineapple.
Step 8. – After the cakes are grilled let them sit to cool because I’m here to tell you they are hot!! Flip the foil pouch over and cut it open and you can serve the cake in the foil, or move the cake to serving plates. Either way, you will still get to enjoy this sweet little cake that has the same caramelized pineapple and red cherry on top just like the one that comes from your oven.
Just like a pineapple upside-down cake from a big skillet or cake pan, these individual grilled cakes are a real crowd-pleasing dessert especially when you pull the foil packets off the grill and everyone can smell the sweet cooked pineapple.
Served in foil
Served on a plate
Yes, you can grill a dessert
Try these other One Hot Oven grilled dessert – Grilled Cherry Pie made in a pandowdy style has a delightfully flaky crust with juicy cherries. Or you might like these Grilled Strawberry Poundcake Sandwiches filled with juicy strawberries, lemon curd, and mascarpone cheese.
More upside-down cake flavors
These individual cake packets are not only fun to make but definitely fun and delicious to serve. But wait, I have other ideas for more delicious upside-down cakes. Try these other fruits too –
- Add an apple slice
- Raspberries, blackberries or blueberries
- Stone fruit like peaches, plums or nectarines
- Sweet red cherries
Here are some items to help you make this grilled dessert a success.
Try these other One Hot Oven desserts
Bake these buttery Peach Raspberry Crumble Bars for a fast and easy dessert
This Orange Caramel Creme is deliciously smooth and creamy with the wonderful taste of mandarin
If you are not into baking these Strawberry Shortcakes use frozen poundcake and juicy strawberries
Baked Apples with Cranberries and Pecans are baked in apple cider
If you like cake and pie you definitely need to make this Lemon Cake Pie for your next dessert
Grilled Pineapple Upside Down Cakes
- Turn on the grill for preheat.
- Make foil squares that are 8" x 8" (approximately)
- In the middle of a foil square place a small pat of butter, about 1 tablespoon
- Put a tablespoon of brown sugar on top of the butter
- Put one pineapple slice on top of the brown sugar
- Put a maraschino cherry in the center of the pineapple slice
- Place the sponge cake upside down over the pineapple slice.
- Take the 2nd pieces of foil and lay over the cake and lightly press around the cake then crimp the edges of both pieces of foil to make a packet Try not to make the packet too little as this grills better with an airier packet.
- Turn the grill burners on low and place the packets on the grates and grill for 10 to 12 minutes or until you can hear the butter and brown sugar sizzling. Move the packets around occasionally to avoid any hot spots.
- Remove the cake packets from the grill with tongs and let cool about 10 minutes.
- Turn the foil pack over and carefully open to reveal your cake. You can serve the cake in the foil or serve on a plate.
First Published: Aug.7, 2017… Last Updated: Aug. 15, 2019
I have never had a really nice grill even though we grill all the time, that was until last Mother’s Day and my hubby gifted me this amazing Weber Genesis grill. I must say that I love it.
It’s big and holds lots of burgers, slabs of ribs, a whole salmon, and these wonderful dessert cakes.
This grill also gets hotter than any grill I have used before so I can put a pizza stone on the grill and grill pizza.
With a small shelf inside and a side burner, I am able to cook whole meals without overcrowding the grill.
Thank you for stopping by the One Hot Oven blog. Please leave a comment to say Hello or just let me know what you are baking these days.
From learning to cook on a farm in Indiana to culinary school in California, my passion for food is never-ending. Turning on my oven to bake something for friends and family is my happy place, and I am glad to be here at One Hot Oven sharing both sweet and savory recipes with all my baking friends.
Have any questions or just want to chat about the recipe? Contact me here, and I’ll be happy to help!