Upside-Down Cakes: Cherry Pecan and Chocolate

Not long ago, I made an apple upside-down cake for my son’s 17th birthday. The recipe was in the 1940 Culinary Arts Institute’s 250 Classic Cake Recipes cookbook. There were several other upside-down cake varieties in the book. Having never had anything other than the pineapple version at that point, I decided I’d try at least one more of the recipes.

Here are the two I made this week. One was a fail that tasted like a win, and one was just a win all the way around.

Cherry Pecan Upside-Down Cake

Chocolate Upside-Down Cake

  • 2 oz (squares) chocolate
  • 1 1/2 cups (1 can) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 c sifted cake flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 6 tbsp shortening
  • 1 c sugar
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c milk

Melt chocolate. Add condensed milk and mix well. Line greased pans with paper and grease paper. Pour chocolate mixture into pans and cool. Sift flour, salt, and baking powder together. Cream shortening with sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat thoroughly. Add sifted dry ingredients and milk alternately in small amounts, beating thoroughly after each addition. Pour carefully over chocolate mixture and bake in a moderate (350°F) oven for 35 minutes. Makes 2 (8 inch) layers. Suggestions: Add 1/2 c chopped nut meats to chocolate mixture. Or sprinkle 1/2 c shredded coconut on top of chocolate mixture.


I only have one square cake pan at the moment, so I had to make the layers one after the other. For the first one, I followed the directions exactly. The paper stuck to the top of the cake when I turned it out of the pan, and I had greased it well. Some of the chocolate topping pulled off when I tried to carefully peel the paper off. I tried the second layer without the paper, and only half of the cake came out when I overturned the pan. The chocolate topping was thick and rich and heavy. It was good, but this is one of those cakes where a little slice goes a long way.

Cherry Pecan Upside-Down Cake

  • 1 c butter
  • 2 c sugar
  • 1 c pecan meats, chopped
  • 2 c pitted tart cherries, well drained
  • 2 1/2 c sifted cake flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 2/3 c milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • whipped cream
  • fresh cherries

Melt 1/3 c butter in heavy skillet, add 1/2 c sugar and stir until dissolved. Add nuts and cherries. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together. Cream remaining butter with remaining sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and beat thoroughly. Add sifted ingredients and milk alternately small amounts, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and pour batter over mixture in skillet. Bake in moderate oven (350°F) for 1 hour. Remove from oven and turn onto large platter. When cool, cover with whipped cream and garnish with fresh cherries. Serves 12.


This cake was delicious. I used frozen cherries because we can’t buy cherries at our local grocery store right now. I put the whipped cream on it, but I might have liked it even better without. The cherry mixture was warm and sweet and the cake was also lightly sweet. This would make an impressive cake to take to a potluck or a brunch. Add the whipped cream last minute if you choose to use it, especially if you are eating it warm from the oven.

Do you have a favorite upside-down can recipe?

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