This recipe for the classic American cake is an adaptation of one that appears in SAVEUR consulting editor Marion Cunningham’s The Fannie Farmer Cookbook (Alfred A. Knopf, 1990).

Yield: makes One 9" Cake


  • 12 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 5 canned pineapple rings, drained (reserve juice)
  • 5 maraschino cherries, drained and stemmed
  • 1 12 cups flour
  • 12 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 12 tsp. salt
  • 12 cup milk
  • 1 egg


  1. Preheat oven to 400°. Melt 4 tbsp. of the butter in a 9″ cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Add brown sugar and stir until well combined. Remove skillet from heat, add 1⁄4 cup of reserved pineapple juice, and stir well to combine. Arrange pineapple rings in a single layer in bottom of skillet and place a cherry in the center of each. Set skillet aside.
  2. Put flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and stir to combine. Melt remaining butter in a small pot over medium-low heat. Remove pot from heat, add milk and egg, and beat with a wooden spoon until well combined, about 1 minute. Pour milk mixture into flour mixture and beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Pour batter into skillet, covering the pineapple slices completely, and smooth out batter with a rubber spatula.
  3. Bake cake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, 30–35 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Cover skillet with a large plate and carefully invert the cake onto it. Serve warm or at room temperature, if you like.