Introduction: Easy Pineapple Upside Down Cake Over the Grill
We grill a lot in the summer. And Spring. And Fall. Heck, I've dug through four feet of snow just to grill a Super Bowl feta-stuffed lamb burger.
In the summer we try not to cook inside, but that restricts dessert choices. "Grilling" a pinapple upside down cake is simple, quick, and makes use of all that residual grill heat. With minimal prep, you can bake your cake while you eat and have fresh, warm cake after you polish off that butterfly pork chop.
(please take it easy on me. this is my first Instructable.)
Step 1: Gather Ingredients
I get everything together once I start the coals. You can do this over a gas grill, but where's the fun in that?
- 2 T Butter
- 1/4 C Packed Brown Sugar
- 1/2 C Cold Water
- 1 Egg
- 1 Box Jiffy Golden Cake Mix (not the cornbread)
- 1 Can Pinapple Rings
- 1 Jar Maraschino Cherries
- 8 inch Cast Iron Pan
- Rubber Scraper/Spatula
- 1 Large Plate
Step 2: Heat the Coals and Mix the Wet Ingredients
While the coals are heating so that half the grill is over coals and the other half setup for indirect cooking (and after the dinner portion is prepped) I mix the wet ingredients.
I use Jiffy cake mix. It is super cheap, requires few extra ingredients, and reminds me of walking up the street to The Eagle to drop $.45 on a box mix my sister and I would throw into her Easy Bake Oven.
Jiffy just requires 1/2 cup cold water and an egg. That's it! So to prep, I just mix the 1/2 cup water and egg together. I throw that into the fridge until show time.
I also crack open the can of Pinapple rings and drain it. Sometimes I add the juice to 1/4 cup of water to make the 1/2 cup of liquid, other times I give it to the kids. Sometimes I use it for a mixed drink or take it straight from the can. Shhhhhhhhh.
Step 3: Let's Do This
Once it's time to pull that flat iron steak off the indirect heat and tent it before you slice it, drop the cast iron pan and butter over the hot coals. While butter melts, add the cake mix to the water/egg mixture and stir. Place to the side for the moment.
DO THE FOLLOWING STEPS CAREFULLY! Molten brown sugar will burn your skin like nothing you've felt before.
Once the butter is melted, add the brown sugar and stir. Let it bubble up. If it looks too thick, add a lil butter to thin it out. I could have added a little more brown sugar and butter here, but it was still within cake baking tolerances.
Carefully add a pineapple ring to the center of the pan, then two more to flank it. Add pineapple rings around to fill. It's okay if they creep up the side a bit.
Drop a cherry in the center of each ring.
Pour the cake mix over the brown sugar, pineapple, and cherries. Lightly jostle the pan to even out the batter, but don't shake it too much. You don't want the cake to sneak under the pineapple.
Move the pan over to the indirect side of the grill and try to position it so it is level.
Step 4: Control Temp, Cover & Bake
Now that the cake is together, the Monsterella Marinara, Swiss, BBQ Cheddar and 1/2 Cheese burgers are off the grill and the buns are toasted, we can bake that cake.
Slowly, gently, lovingly close the lower vent. If you close this too fast you risk stirring up ash into the cake. And nobody likes ashy cake. (Please excuse the upside down image of the lower vent. Each time it uploads it flips. I guess it wanted to be more like the cake.)
Put the lid on the grill and rotate the top vent until nearly closed. If you have a thermometer, try to stay around 350F. Closing the vents helps cut the heat, which you really need to do. I usually pop the lid after a few minutes to let the extreme heat escape. When I did this cake, I ended up closing the top vent all the way after popping the top once.
Step 5: Check Then Flip and Serve
If dinner goes longer than 25 minutes, you might wanna check the cake. Jiffy is pretty forgiving, so as long as you have the cake on the indirect side and don't leave it in at +425F for 45 minutes you should be okay. In fact, if you spin the pan after 25 minutes you should be golden.
I gently touch the top of the cake to test the doneness. It's not scientific, but as long as it doesn't feel like a bog you should be good.
To unmold, I take the pan off the grill and place it on a table on which I don't mind leaving a mark. You can also place it on a potholder, but you're gonna need to wash it later.
I put a large plate over the pan, use a potholder to help grip the plate and pan together as I flip it over. You may want to shake the pan a bit, but it should unmold with little effort.
To serve, I cut it so each piece has a full pineapple ring. You can cut it as you wish, but if everyone gets a full ring, they also get a cherry. If you serve the full cake, leg wrestle for the center cherry!