Pineapple Upside Down Cake Is Summer's Happiest Dessert (Recipe)

When the summer sun beats down upon my forehead, I often crave the sweet, refreshing taste of pineapple -- and when I eat it, I usually feel just a bit cooler. I’ll slice it into spears and eat it on its own, splash its juice into smoothies or margaritas, or even throw it into a sweeter salsa for fish tacos.

The other day, though, I had a hankering for cake, a cake that would suit the sunniest of days. This craving, as most of them do, led me to the internet in search of the perfect recipe.

And thus, a kitchen mission was born: Operation Pineapple Upside Down Cake.

Easy on the wallet and easy on the eyes, Family Circle’s pineapple treat is the perfect way to showcase summer’s most cheerful fruit -- and to enjoy the equally scrumptious flavors of butter and sugar, of course.

The dessert is a triple threat; one layer closely resembles a light and fluffy angel food cake, another adds an element of decadence with buttery brown sugar, and the last combines picture-perfect pineapple rings and maraschino cherries for a tangy finish. Follow the photo-guided recipe below, fall in love with this drool-inducing recipe, and see why pineapple is my favorite summer symbol (even if it does make my mouth feel a bit tingly!).

The first step (after you totally don't forget to preheat the oven to 350 degrees) is arguably the most fun, as it involves watching a healthy half stick of butter slide across a cake pan until it melts.

Next in the mix is brown sugar, which combines with the melted butter to create a sweet-smelling, toffee-like paste. Spread it evenly until it coats the bottom of the pan with dark and fragrant wonder.

Now, it's time to be a food artist. Crack open a can of ringed pineapple, and lay each slice side by side in the pan so the edges touch. I made two rows with a gap in the middle, but you're free to get creative, depending on the shape of your pan.

Sure, you could leave the pineapples empty, but dropping a maraschino cherry inside each ring is so much more satisfying. Admire your handiwork before moving on to the cake section.

Grab a medium-size bowl and whisk together your dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt and, the unexpected yet completely pleasant, nutmeg. 

In a larger bowl, beat granulated sugar, more butter and eggs until blended.

When the mixture looks ready, beat in half of the flour mixture at a low speed. Then add milk and the leftover pineapple juice from the canned fruit. Finally, dump in the rest of the flour mixture, and beat in one of the most important key players in any dessert: vanilla.

Now, carefully pour the batter over the pineapple-covered pan. After about 40 minutes in the oven (an agonizing wait, I know), the cake will be fully baked and filling your kitchen with the sweetest aroma you've ever known.

However, you mustn't let your eagerness to devour the dessert make you forget the final step: the cooling stage. A 10-minute rest at room temperature prevents the pineapples from sticking to the pan.

Drum roll, please -- it's time for the grand reveal. Place a baking sheet over the cake, put a hand underneath the pan, and flip the whole thing over (hence, upside down cake). You will then be met by the welcome sight of a golden cake, bejeweled with bright pineapples and cherries.

Cut yourself a hearty slice and top with your ice cream of choice. You've earned it.

For the full recipe with measurements from Family Circle, click here.