A slice of pineapple upside-down cake with a small pine cone in the pineapple ring and apple slices inside the cake.

Pine-Pineapple-Apple Upside-Down Cake


Like all good stories this cake started as a joke. Chris suggested an apple and pineapple cake, and then amended saying surely you could get some good pine flavor in there. Years later Ida ran across the unexpected Russian delicacy, pine cone jelly, and simply had to make this cake. The pine flavor is shockingly subtle but brings an unexpected “Christmas tree” flavor, as Chris puts it. Feel free to replace the pine cone jelly with honey for a regular pineapple-apple cake if pine cone jelly is too hard to find.



  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Line 2 cake pans (9 inch) with parchment paper.
  3. Arrange a layer of pineapple rings in each pan.
  4. Pour a thin layer of the pine cone jelly syrup over the pineapple rings, reserving about half of the jelly to pour on top afterwards. Next, place the mini pine cones from the jelly inside and between each pineapple ring.
  5. Peel the apples and then slice at coin thickness on a mandoline such that the slices are no more wide than half the width of the apple (one trick for this is to cut the apple to the core from top-to-bottom on opposite sides, and then mandoline the apple across those cuts).
  6. Toss the apples, cinnamon, and 3 Tbsp sugar together in a bowl and set aside.
  7. Combine the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  8. Next, pour a thin layer of batter into each pan, over the pineapple.
  9. Add a layer of sliced apples (about two slices thick).
  10. Continue alternating batter and apples, ending with batter.
  11. Bake at 350°F in the middle rack of the oven for ~55 minutes until the top is no longer wet looking and a cake tester comes out clean, or until the internal temperature reaches 210°F.
  12. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  13. Turn the cakes out upside down to show off the pineapple ring decorations, top with another thin layer of the pine cone jelly, and optionally decorate with more pine cones.