angostura bitters pineapple upside down cake

pineapple upside down cake

If you like pop music, I am utterly convinced that you would, like me, find Hanson’s 2010 release Shout it Out to be the penultimate pop record. I would like to preface by stating that if you don’t like Hanson, you are either a guy, or are someone who must not actually like pop music. Or both.

Between them, the brothers Hanson have about 35 kids, and yet they are still able to devote time to crafting perfect pop music. With each record they’ve released, their sound has remained essentially the same (due to Taylor’s charismatically identifiable vocals), and yet their songs have become richer, deeper, and – I believe – respectable to the point of being labeled as perfect pop songs. If all you know of them is MMMBop, then to be honest, you don’t know jack.

Their new one. And it is amazeballs!

The Hanson of present-day seem to be a well-kept secret, closeted amongst women who spend their days reminiscing of the 1990s, clutching their dog-eared copies of Baby-sitters Club and Saddle Club novels, wearing their faded ☆NSYNC t-shirts, and occasionally re-watching Spice World while staring at those impossible platform boots and remembering how damn much they wanted that one pair with flames down the sides available from the dELIA*s catalog that one time. Err, right. So I’m just describing myself, but that’s only because I haven’t yet met any other fans of Hanson’s recent discography.

The above enamored discourse is coincidentally well-timed. While I had planned to just write paragraph upon paragraph on why listening to the 3-year old Shout it Out while baking made for the best-tasting pineapple upside-down cake ever, I found whilst doing my bimonthly “where are they now?” search that [sound the bugles!] Hanson have a new single being released tomorrow, on April 9th (SQQQQQQQUUUUUEEEEEEE!!) with a full album and world tour to follow in June. From my strategically-placed location in the middle of nowhere (get it?!???), I could make it to like four stops of the tour. Ohmygosh.

pineapple upside down cake

Anyway, the guy in my life much prefers pineapple upside-down cake to Hanson. I try to make it for him a few times every year, although I’ve never made it the same way twice. That might change now that I’ve baked up what you see here.

The juicy sweetness of the canned pineapple and maraschino cherries is fancifully paired with Angostura bitters – that same mysterious mixture of herbs and spices commonly used as an additive to cocktails. Given that my drink of choice is an Old Fashioned (Sweet), garnished with orange and maraschino cherry and flavored with bitters, finding myself in the kitchen liberally dousing pineapple cake batter with Angostura isn’t such a stretch.

Angostura Bitters Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

{recipe inspiration here}

2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
3-4 dashes Angostura bitters
6 pineapple rings (canned, juice reserved)
Maraschino cherries

Heat oven to 350F. Butter an 8″ square pan, line with a square of parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Cream butter, brown sugar, and bitters in a small bowl. Spread mixture into the prepared pan – I find that five or six seconds in the microwave helps to give this mixture sufficiently easy spreadage. Place pineapple rings and Maraschino cherries as desired on top of the butter mixture. I was able to fit five rings, plus a sixth that had been cut into quarters.

10 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 c. granulated sugar
1 1/2 c. flour
heaping 1/2 tsp salt
heaping 1/4 tsp baking soda
heaping 1/4 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1/4 c. Greek yogurt (I used peach-flavored)
4 tsp pineapple juice (reserved from can)
5-10 dashes Angostura bitters

In the bowl of a stand mixer (using the paddle attachment), or by hand if you’d like a brief workout, beat the 10 tbsp butter with granulated sugar for several minutes, until light, fluffy and fully mixed. Meanwhile, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a medium bowl.

When the butter mixture is fully incorporated, add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture in two parts, alternating with the Greek yogurt, pineapple juice, and bitters.

Pour batter into pan over fruit, spreading evenly with a spatula, pushing batter into the corners and along the pan’s edges.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, rotating once, until cake is caramelized and golden brown on the edges, and cooked through. Remove from oven, and set on a cooling rack for 30-45 minutes. When cool, turn out onto a plate, remove parchment paper, and serve.

cat bombcat bomb

Pineapple upside-down cake: making cats jealous since always.


34 thoughts on “angostura bitters pineapple upside down cake

  1. Pretty cat! Almost as pretty as Taylor Hanson was in the 90s. I was always a Spice Girls girl through and through, but you knew that…

    This reminded me just how much I adore Angostura Bitters and how I should really get my hands on a bottle already.

    1. Funny thing, I wasn’t into Hanson when I was younger. I’ve only come to adore and obsess over them as my tastes have…. matured.

      Get yourself some bitters! I only have some because a friend gave us a bunch of her kitchen things when she (sadly) moved away. I’m slowly but surely putting all of her items to great use.

  2. I actually hold a special place in my heart for Hanson (though I can’t say I’ve listened to them in recent years). When I was an undergrad, I spent some time one summer working in Thailand. There was a small TV in my room that I would put on early in the morning when getting ready. The only channel that had any English was MTV Asia and at that time “Penny and Me” was very popular and I heard it almost every time!

    Lovely cake, too – it looks pretty scrumptious and moist.

    1. Penny and Me reminds me of my undergrad days too. Hanson as a band has done some pretty cool things – around that same time they toured college campuses promoting their documentary movie (for free!), and gave away cds as well (also free!). Pretty nifty.

      Hey so Thailand sounds incredible! I’ll remember to look up MTV Asia if I ever make it over there;)

  3. Oh my dear…I don’t know what to say about your taste in music. While truly I believe you and I would get along IRL, it’s clear that our shared baking escapades would have to be done in silence…there is no way would ever be able to agree on background music XD (though I too often yearn for the 90s…but perhaps more in a grunge-y way than a pop-y way).

    Regardless! As usual your recipes are so interesting! I’ve always wondered what bitters are (Mr. and Mrs. The Peche are often talking about them on the Twitters), so I have learned something today! Perhaps I will try this recipe out to expand my tiny, chocolate-loving palette?

    1. If you can’t say anything nice then don’t say anything at all.

      No just kidding, say whatever you’d like. I knew I was opening the door to cricism and slanderous hate and far-flung insults and the like. But I honestly don’t see how it’s possible to dislike such happy pop music. It just makes me feel so great!

      Grunge isn’t my thing, but I’m sure we could find some common ground;) My musical palate is pretty wide, and ever-expanding.

  4. I was actually a HUGE Hanson fan when I was younger. I even won a radio contest to go see them in concert, it took an entire day of listening and calling in to win those tickets. I’m no longer really into pop music, but I greatly respect the music they’re still making.

    Love this pretty little cake! It has all the charm of the retro classic with the shimmering cherry-stained pineapple, but it sounds like a delicious cocktail in cake form with the addition of the bitters. Genius move!

    1. Oh my gosh Alayna you might have just become my hero! What incredible effort, I’ve never done anything of the sort for Hanson. Well, I wrote this post, and for someone in her mid-20s, that’s almost akin to listening and calling in to a radio station all day, right? Wrong?

      I love love love how retro fabulous pineapple upside-down cake looks! So fun to eat:)

  5. I didn’t know Hanson was still around! I wouldn’t mind listening to them while you bake this gorgeous cake for me. And I mean it is seriously gorgeous and the texture and topping looks so enticing. And your cat is so fluffy and adorable, I’ve always had a soft spot for that look – is he/she Siamese/Ragdoll?

    1. Hah! Sure, I’ll bake you a cake if we can listen to Hanson together!

      They are indeed still around, and they just keep improving. They are quite the well-oiled musical machine at this point!

      Awww, my sweet sweet kitty! She is indeed a Siamese-Ragdoll mix, to the best of my knowledge. She is a gem of a cat, and so so nice! And she likes Hanson.

    1. Thank you Mumsy! And what about Beata’s eyes? Don’t they sparkle too? Don’t they sparkle and say “pet me more, NOW?”

  6. I haven’t listened to any new Hanson material, I’ll admit. But it wouldn’t take much to turn me into a superfan for their freaking world tour! So, in all seriousness…we should go see them in Boston. Tickets are wicked cheap–and way cheaper than the JT and Jay-Z stadium tour. So let’s do it! We could eat pineapple upside-down cake in the car on the way there.

    1. OH MY GOSH. Brianne, first, you must listen! There are so many good albums. Sometimes for fun while I’m working, I categorize my favorite Hanson albums based on merit and catchiness and the like. So uh my results don’t ever change, but I really just want an excuse to think about Hanson when I can’t listen to them. I suggest starting with Shout it Out, and then The Walk, and then Underneath. I like The Walk and Shout it Out just about equally. So good.

      Second, yes. I would love to go, and I would love to go with you! I pretty much plan on going at this point, so if you are serious and you are down, LET’S DO IT.

  7. Oh my gosh, your kitty!!! So cute!!!

    Do you know, I don’t think I’ve ever made or had pineapple upside down cake, but it does look tasty. I’ll have to bake it up some time, as I think my husband would def enjoy it :)

    1. Eeeee, I know! She is undeniably cute.

      Jiggawha, no pineapple upside-down cake? It is the best. All upside-down cakes are the best, really, because they are so moist and juicy and sugary all at the same time. Give it a go, for yourself as much as your husband!

  8. Holy smokes, did you just put the manfriend on the blog?! Hello manfriend!

    I had not the slightest idea that Hanson was still creating, but I did get the Middle of Nowhere reference. Also, I don’t know if this is something to do with our connection or not, but an hour or so before reading this post, I had a strange inkling to track down and listen to some old school Savage Garden.

    I then forgot, but you have reminded me. I shall now go listen.

    Angostura… is this orangey? (And therefore bad?) Or what is used in Lemon, Lime, and Bitters? (And therefore good?) xo

    1. Hey there he is, he’s a man, and he’s my friend! Manfriend! I obtained his permission and everything.

      Wow, our connection is now affecting your daily life – luckily, in an awesome way. Any way I can bring cheery pop music joy to you, I will;)

      Angostura does make orange bitters too, but regular Angostura bitters are separate. I don’t know this lemon, lime & bitters drink that you speak of, but Keren mentioned it too and it has got me curious! It sounds really yummmm.

  9. listen: i love it when you go nuts over Hanson: it’s like my favorite thing. And i enjoy how your brain works, because you know a lot about things i don’t know about. like bitters. like how to find amusingly-formed potatoes. Like how to form a meaningful relationship with the forest. Just saying…you’re smart in a lot of fun ways. And i want you to make me this cake, because i swear i haven’t had a pineapple upside down cake in probably a decade. at least.

    1. You should hang out with me in real life, I am absolutely no different. I mostly just freak out about Hanson, eat a lot, and see things like potatoes or tree branches that look like other things and wish I could take pictures of them. To no end.

      Example about eating a lot – all week, I cooked up sort of enormous meals out at my camp, but I didn’t have any Tupperware to store my leftover food in. So I just ate it all, night after night after night, while trying to watch Canadian teen girl horse drama on my slow internet connection. It was like enough dinner for three people, Shannon, it was ridiculous.

  10. I won’t lie to you: I hate pineapple. HOWEVER, you’ve done so much to promote Hanson, The Super Band, that I can overlook the use of pineapple in this cake.

  11. Ah! Another upside down cake! I made my first today, let me know what you think!? I also love your cat! So adorable :)

And now I'd like to pass the mic / So you c'mon and do anything you like ...aka, Leave your reply.

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