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Birthday Dinner, Part V and Mini Pineapple Upside-down Cakes

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Upside-down cake–that phrase might describe our lives at certain challenging moments. It certainly describes Becca’s situation in Part V of Birthday Dinner. The return of Latonya and her immediate disappearance with her son have left Becca’s plans to help Jonah in disarray, and time is running out on her options. She’s not sure if those plans, or her hopes for Jonah, will ever get turned right-side up again.

These mini pineapple upside-down cakes are a different matter entirely. They may get assembled and go into the oven upside-down, but we know they’ll come out right-side up–just before they end up in our mouths! The mix of flavors–caramel, vanilla cake, pineapple, and cherry–and colors and textures may seem a jumble (like our lives sometimes), but this mixture turns out perfect–delicious, unique, and even beautiful on the plate!

So give this recipe a try, and hope that the upside-down jumbles that inevitably afflict our lives all turn out so well–and that Becca finds her way through her challenges, for her sake and Jonah’s!


Mini Pineapple Upside-down Cakes

1 egg

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 Tablespoons pineapple juice (from canned pineapple rings or chunks)

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt (about 1/8 teaspoon)

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1/3 cup brown sugar, packed

1 can of pineapple rings or chunks

6 maraschino cherries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a regular size muffin pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

To make the cake batter, add the egg, granulated sugar, pineapple juice, and vanilla extract to a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixture on high for one minute, or until ingredients are well blended. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt to the egg mixture. Slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until everything is incorporated. Set aside.


In a small pot, add the butter and brown sugar. Put over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted. Continue to stir ingredients together over heat until brown sugar is mixed into butter.

Divide the brown sugar/butter mixture between six muffin cups in the prepared muffin pan. Next, add pineapple pieces around the border and one maraschino cherry in the middle. Top the fruit with the cake batter.


Bake the mini cakes for 18-20 minutes, or when the cake turns golden brown and toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven. Let cool for 5 minutes. Run a knife around each cake. Place a wire rack on top of the cakes and a cookie sheet underneath the cakes. Quickly flip the cakes so that the wire rack is on the bottom and is sitting on top of the cookie sheet to catch the extra juices. Let cool. Serve warm or room temperature.

Makes 6 mini cakes.


{Adapted from Big Mama’s Home Kitchen}

Birthday Dinner cover

Birthday Dinner, Part V, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Birthday Dinner, Part V, text © Jeffrey Anderson

To download the entire novel in the format of your choosing for $1.99 (and provide support for my writing), go to


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One response »

  1. Pingback: Mini Pineapple Upside-down Cakes | cika

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