Reba McEntire’s Pineapple Upside Down Cake

A cast-iron skillet serves as the vessel for a country music legend’s version of a classic Southern dessert

Photo: Kris D’Amico Photography

“Mama loved to make this,” writes Reba McEntire in her new cookbook, Not That Fancy: Simple Lessons on Living, Loving, Eating, and Dusting Off Your Boots. “But instead of making it in a baking dish, she would use her cast-iron skillet. As a kid I thought this was the height of fancy cooking!” Read our interview with McEntire and find more recipes here.

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    • ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter

    • ½ cup brown sugar, packed

    • 1 (8-oz.) can pineapple rings, drained and patted dry


    • 1½ cups all-purpose flour

    • 1 tsp. baking powder

    • ½ tsp. salt

    • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

    • ¾ cup white sugar

    • 2 eggs

    • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

    • ⅓ cup sour cream

    • ⅓ cup whole milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

  2. Make the topping: Set a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat and add the butter. Once melted, add the brown sugar. Stir steadily until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the skillet from the heat. 

  3. Add pineapple to the skillet: Slice all but 1 pineapple ring in half. Arrange the pineapple in the skillet on top of the butter and sugar mixture, starting with the whole ring in the center and building the half-rings around it.

  4. Prepare the cake: Place the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine. In a separate bowl, place the melted butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and sour cream. Whisk until smooth and combined. Create a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour in the wet mixture. Mix the dry and wet ingredients together with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. When the batter starts to come together, pour in the milk. Continue mixing until the batter is smooth. Pour the batter into the skillet over the pineapple rings. Gently smooth the top with a rubber spatula so it’s even. Transfer the skillet to the middle rack of the oven.

  5. Bake the cake: Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove the skillet from the oven. Allow the cake to rest for 15 minutes—no more, no less, or the topping will stick!

  6. To serve: Hold a serving plate facedown over the skillet, then swiftly flip the skillet to invert the cake on the plate. Allow the cake to cool completely before serving.

Taken from Not That Fancy: Simple Lessons on Living, Loving, Eating, and Dusting Off Your Boots by Reba McEntire. Copyright © 2023 by Reba McEntire. Used by permission of Harper Celebrate.