Pineapple Lime Upside Down Cake

I am living in topys-turvey land. Nothing seems the right way up any more.

For one, I’m spending an inordinate amount of time peering under things. Who knew there was so much hunching and crunching in setting up life for a new being? It started with the undercarriages of prams and baby capsules (half of which seemingly require a MENSA membership and fingertips of steel to negotiate). And then there’s the continuing need to turn over dozens of packets of pills and potions, reading frantically to see if this will be the one to stem the sudsy tides of bile that still rise with every kick from the stowaway.

It seems that now we’ve got something the size of a pineapple sheltering, head down, below my rib cage the excitement really starts.

And so begins the time when you give up your Saturday nights to go to ‘natural birth classes’ on lumpen beanbags in the local public hospital, under harsh fluorescent lights (and then ten minutes into the first video of yawning chasms of crimson flesh and women making noises like they’ve suffered demonic possession you being to wonder why in heck you didn’t sign up for the ‘drug me with everything you’ve got’ class down the hall).

It’s around about now that you realise how morbid you are at the core. You see, there’s a bunch of baby stuff that’s gathering dust under the stairs – half of which I can’t bring myself to take out of boxes- because of the creeping paranoia; what if it all goes pear shaped and I need to return it?

It’s the time when you no longer look forward to a great belly laugh or the satisfaction of a well cultivated sneeze- because of what might follow in its wake.

It’s when you start turning down enticing invitations; film premiers and nights out for tacos and dumplings- because sitting in a semi social setting for more than an hour at a stretch is no longer that appealing. Add to this the fact that you’ve plum run out of interesting things to talk about. Competing in my brain for space for salient opinions on Australia’s political landscape and DOMA are the merits of various nappy disposal schemes. And really- there is nobody in their right mind who wants to hear about those.

This is also the stage  when you find yourself defending the indefensible. I’ve always tried to be careful with language; to me it’s as important as an allen key in a sea of flat pack. Words and names will break things down as much as they can build us up. But when The Hungry One turned to me and asked; ‘why does all this stuff have such ridiculous names? Why are there seven different terms for a baby bed?’  it took me five minutes before I  realised he’s got a point. It’s confusion and complexity for the sake of…. what? Perhaps we’d all be better off, if like the Finns we began our lives in the simple confines of a white paper box.  Somewhere in between navigating the differences between a bassinet, cot, Moses basket and capsule I lost my true north.

So it’s time to return to what we know.

And what I know- what The Stowaway knows, is cake.

In an attempt to right things, the only thing that’s turning upside down today is dessert. So this week I’ve given a retro classic a tropical twist, care of lime zest – and – if you fancy an adult kick- a generous sprinkle of black pepper.

Once the domain of pappy rings from tins and terrifying cerise blobs of maraschino cherry, this is a pineapple upside down cake that tries to be taken seriously. The pineapple is fresh. The caramel is sticky and dark- and the sponge is positively buoyant. And the black pepper adds a cheeky hit of warmth and spice.

It’s a delight warm with a scoop of coconut gelato. It’s positively charming cold with a cup of tea. And it’s a special treat when you find yourself forking the last bit into your mouth at 3 am when insomnia, kicks and a screaming coccyx pluck you once more from sleep.

Here’s my suggestion; invite some friends over. Sit on a comfortable chair. Talk about the world. Talk about anything that doesn’t come from a place named baby ‘village/kingdom/universe/planet/stratosphere’.

And then if you start to feel lost, you can begin to chew over some much bigger stuff; like what the heck you’re going to call the stowaway when he makes it out to the other size.

Pineapple Lime Upside Down Cake

The lime zest and the black pepper aren’t essential in this, but they do help add a bit of extra interest. Pine/lime is a classic combination for anyone growing up in Australia; made most famous by ‘Splice’ ice creams- though lemon or orange zest could also work well.

Serves 6-8


1/2 pineapple, skinned, cored and cut into chunks the size of a matchbook
3/4 cup / 185 grams unsalted butter
1/2 cup / 60 grams light brown muscavado sugar
2/3 cup/ 140 grams white sugar
2 eggs
Zest of 1 lime
1/2 cup Greek yoghurt
1/4 cup of milk
1 2/3 cup / 225 grams plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
Optional: Black pepper to taste

Here’s how we roll

1) Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

2) Cut the skin off the pineapple, cut in half and remove the core (reserve the second half for smoothies or pineapple salsa) . Cut the pineapple into matchbook sized wedges.

3) Take 1/3 of the butter (60 grams) and lightly grease the sides and very generously grease the bottom of a 23cm cake tin. If it is springform, wrap the bottom in tinfoil as a safeguard (you are making a caramel base, you don’t want it to leak onto your oven).

4) On top of the butter and sugar lay your pineapple pieces in a mosaic arrangement. If you feel like a little more zip, crack black pepper generously over the pineapple.

5) Set about making your sponge. Take your room temperature butter (if it’s fridge cold you can always place it in a bowl of warm water for three -five minutes. It won’t dissolve into the water, but it will soften-just shake off the droplets before blitzing). Combine the butter with the caster sugar and beat together until light and fluffy.

6) Crack one egg into the creamed butter and sugar. Beat well to combine. Repeat with the second egg.

7)  Add the lime zest and fold to combine.

9) Alternate folding in the remaining dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, bicarb soda) and the wet (yoghurt, milk). Start with the dry and end with the dry.

10) Pour the batter over the top of the pineapple, smoothing to the edges.

11) Bake for 40 minutes, until a skewer emerges clean. Allow to rest for ten minutes in the tin, then gently turn out. If some of the pieces of pineapple cheekily cling with caramel to the pan, just fetch them and plonk them back into place. Nobody will ever know.

12) Serve with a little additional black pepper over the top, for an adult taste, or with vanilla ice cream or coconut gelato.


Forty Weeks of Feasting

Each week mad websites and baby books will tell you how big your baby now is in comparison to a seed, fruit or vegetable. It starts as a poppy seed and goes from there. To make this process a little more palatable, join me as I bake my way through. Here’s the journey so far.

Week 33 Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas. Recipe here.


Week 32 Chilled Honeydew, Cucumber and Mint Soup. Recipe here.
Week 31: Truffled (lower fat) Cauliflower Mac and Cheese. Recipe here.
Week 30: Broccoli, Lemon and Pine Nut Loaf Cake. Recipe here.
Week 29: Red Cabbage, Fennel and Pear Slaw with Pork Chops. Recipe here.
Week 28: Coconut and Almond Bread Pudding. Recipe here.
Week 27: Szechuan Pork Noodles with Smacked Cucumber Salad. Recipe here.
Week 26: Jicama, Chicken and Cashew Salad. Recipe here.


Week 25: Corndogs. Recipe here.
Week 24: Eggplant Moussaka. Recipe here
Week 23 Candied Grapefruit Peel and Dark Chocolate Cookies. Recipe here
Week 22 Roast Carrot and Hummus Soup. Recipe here.
Week 21. Spiced Pomegranate Meatballs with Mint and White Beans. Recipe here.
Week 20 Banana Berry Flax Muffins. Recipe here.
Week 19 Mango Pudding. Recipe here


Week 18 Sweet Potato, Red Onion and Feta Pie. Recipe here


Week 17 Red Pepper, Chicken, Onion and Date Tagine. Recipe here.


Week 16 Avocado Mint Salsa with Pea and Mozzarella Quesadillas. Recipe here.


Week 15 Orange, Polenta and Rosemary Cake. Recipe here.




Wk 14 Lemon Creme Fraiche and Parmesan Pasta. Recipe here


Wk 13 Clementine/Mandarin Curd. Recipe here.
Wk 12 Plum and tomato tartines. Recipe here


Wk 11 Sprout and mushroom gratin (in which we come out of the closet). Recipe here
Wk 10 Date tart. Recipe here
Wk 9 Roasted grapes with baby chickens. Recipe here.


Wk 8 Raspberries and elderflower spritz. Recipe here.


Wk 7 Blueberry pancakes. Recipe here
Wk 6 Lentil and Ginger Soup. Recipe here
Wk 5 Sesame Miso Crisps. Recipe here
Wk 4 Poppy Seed Scrolled Loaf. Recipe here.
  1. I can’t believe the stowaway is a pineapple now! It’s amazing to scan through all your posts watching him grow. I’m sure it’s easy to get lost in the complicated things, but your pineapple cake looks like the perfect thing to get a person right side up.

  2. I think the Finish baby box is the best idea a government ever had! But the pineapple cake looks like a very good idea too.

  3. Gday and wow, what a great assortment of recipes, true!
    I always have fond memories of upside down cakes, especially pineapple and your photo and step by step photos….are great too!
    Cheers! Joanne

  4. Cannot wait to eat cake on your couch with a cup of tea. X

  5. I remember that feeling of dread I had sometimes during both my pregnancies, the not wanting to count chickens before they hatch. Nobody tells you about that part of pregnany, you think it is just a rosy affair. My mother says it is a consequence of the excess of tests expecting mothers and their “stowaways” have to endure throughout the pregnancy. We are lucky to have all the attention but it does make you think of a whole bunch of things that could happen to you or your child that you never even considered before getting pregnant.
    I also remember the insomnia, heartburn etc. Twice was plenty… except then I read about the cardboard box and am thinking I could change my residence and have another ;o)

Leave a comment


{ 5 Trackbacks }