Pineapple and ginger upside-down cake

Pineapple and ginger upside-down cake

Pineapple and ginger upside-down cake, excerpted from Always Add Lemon: Recipes You Want to Cook–Food You Want to Eat by Danielle Alvarez © 2020 Reproduced by permission of Hardie Grant Books. All rights reserved. Photography by Benito Martin.

Always Add Lemon: Recipes You Want to Cook—Food You Want to Eat by Danielle Alvarez © 2020

Nourishing recipes and inspiring kitchen projects destined for the aspirational home cook’s repertoire.

Always Add Lemon is the highly anticipated first book from American-born Danielle Alvarez—one of the most exciting young chefs cooking in Australia today. Taking the lessons, skills and tastes acquired working alongside some of the best chefs in America, Danielle translates formidable kitchen smarts into an inspiring collection of recipes and projects for nourishing, vegetable-forward, seasonal food.

With more than 100 recipes across six chapters (salads; fruits and vegetables; pasta, grains, and legumes; seafood; poultry and meat; and dessert) paired with creative projects for the more adventurous (pastry from scratch, bread, dairy, meat and pickles), Always Add Lemon will inspire anyone with a smidgen of kitchen ambition and a free afternoon.

Always Add Lemon: Recipes You Want to Cook – Food You Want to Eat is available at and

Pineapple and ginger upside-down cake

Serves 8–10

225 g (8 oz) soft butter, plus extra for greasing

200 g (7 oz) caster (superfine) sugar

4 eggs, separated

20 g (¾ oz) grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

220 g (8 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour

½ teaspoon salt

2¼ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

100 ml (3½ fl oz) full-cream (whole) milk

ice cream, to serve



25 g (1 oz) butter

80 g (2¾ oz/⅓ cup) brown sugar

½ pineapple, peeled, cored, sliced and cut into pieces

I have a lot of love for upside-down cakes. They’re a perfect way to bring fruit and cake together without making separate components. The way the fruit softens and caramelizes and then mixes with the cake batter, which absorbs its sweet juices, is just perfection. And it looks so gorgeous. The best part is, this cake could be adapted to any fruit really: plums, nectarines, peaches, apricots, strawberries, blueberries, or, in this case, my favourite of all the upside-down cakes, pineapple. The ginger adds a spicy note that works well with the pineapple, but it doesn’t overpower. The cake element for an upside-down cake is very tricky, and this one took me a while to get right. Not enough air, or support, and the cake batter mixes with the fruit juices too quickly and becomes soggy. But, thanks to the combination of baking powder, bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and whipped egg whites, this batter lifts beautifully from the beginning, leaving a perfect, fluffy, buttery crumb.

You must start with ripe fruit. Yes, the sugar and the cooking of the fruit will improve things, but if you want this to be a fabulous cake as opposed to an alright cake, make sure the fruit is fabulous to start.

Grease and line a round 22–25 cm (8¾–10 in) round cake tin with baking paper.

Start by making the topping. Melt the butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan until the sugar crystals have melted and the mix is bubbling. Simmer for 1 minute, then pour this molten mix into the prepared tin. Arrange the pineapple pieces on top of this caramel in any pattern you like. Try to cover as much surface area as possible so you can have a lot of fruit in each slice.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).

Cream together the butter and sugar in a freestanding electric mixer until light and fluffy, then add the egg yolks, ginger and vanilla and mix until well incorporated. Separately, whip the egg whites in a clean bowl, either by hand or with an electric whisk, until soft peaks form. Set aside.

Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together. Add half the dry ingredients to the butter and gently mix, then, with the machine still running, add all the milk and mix. Carefully add the remaining dry ingredients and finish mixing with a spatula. Fold in the whipped egg whites. Pour this on top of the pineapple in the tin and spread it out evenly. Gently tap the tin on your work surface to ensure the cake batter has dropped into place. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly before flipping the cake out. To flip it over, place a flat plate or cake tray on top of the tin, then, holding the plate in place with your hand, flip the cake over quickly and carefully. Once flipped, simply pull the tin off and peel back the baking paper. Serve warm or when completely cooled.

Excerpted from Always Add Lemon: Recipes You Want to Cook—Food You Want to Eat by Danielle Alvarez © 2020 Reproduced by permission of Hardie Grant Books. All rights reserved.

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