Deconstructed Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Deconstructed Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Pastry Chef Brigette Contreras takes the traditional pineapple upside down cake and turns it on its head.

October 15th, 2018

Photography courtesy of Anthony Mair
Brigette Contreras

Pastry Chef Brigette Contreras is the Executive Pastry Chef of STK at the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas. Her novel take on the classics and her own creations are making waves in the desert. In 2016, she was named Pastry Chef of the Year by the Nevada Restaurant Association and continues to push the Vegas pastry scene forward.

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This isn't your typical pineapple upside down cake—that classic cake that looks like it's ripped straight out of an 50's dinner table. The dessert was long due for an update and pastry chef Brigette Contreras turns it on its head at STK Steakhouse. Her version is a tart, buttery, and sweet plated dessert that is sure to wow your guests. The great thing about tropical fruits is that they're in season all year long, so serve it up as the spectacular end to a Holiday feast.


Makes 12 servings

Pineapple Chips
  • 32 thinly-sliced pineapple rounds
  • 285 grams water (10 ounces, 1 1/4 cup)
  • 113 grams sugar (4 ounces, 1 1/8 cup)
Pineapple Chips
Pineapple Sponge
  • 255 grams cake flour (9 ounces, 2 1/4 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 140 grams neutral oil (5 ounces, 1/4 cup)
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 255 grams pineapple juice (9 ounces, 1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 egg whites
  • 85 grams sugar (3 ounces, 5/6 cup)
Pineapple Sponge
Pineapple Compote
  • 1/2 pineapple, cleaned, peeled, and cut in small cubes
  • 255 grams light brown sugar (9 ounces, 1 cup)
  • 113 grams butter (4 ounces, 1 stick)
Chantilly Cream
  • 235 grams heavy whipping cream (8.3 ounces, 1 cup), as cold as possible
  • 25 grams (0.9 ounces, 2 tablespoons) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or 1 vanilla bean pod
Chantilly Cream


Pineapple Chips

This step should be prepared one day in advance.

  1. Combine hot water and sugar to make a simple syrup. Once cooled, soak thinly sliced pineapple rounds.
  2. Soak for 24 hours.
  3. Lay flat on a silicone baking mat and dry in oven for 1 hour on 200°F (93°C) with a low fan.

Pineapple Sponge

The sponge will be torn so you can use whatever shape cake pans you have on hand.

  1. Combine all dry ingredients, sift and set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl fitted with a whisk attachment, combine oil, pineapple juice, yolks and extract. Whip on high until light and fluffy. Once you reach full volume, drop the speed and add the dry ingredients gently (trying to not deflate yolk mix).
  3. In another bowl whip whites and slowly stream in sugar. Whip to medium stiff peaks
  4. Fold the whites gently into batter using a silicone spatula.
  5. Once everything is fully combined, bake at 325°F (162°C) for 10 minutes. Then rotate the pan to evenly bake for another 10 minutes.

Pineapple Compote and Pineapple Rounds

  1. Using round pastry cutters, core the pineapple and cut circles.
  2. Using a sauté pan, add the butter and sugar. Once the sugar melts, add the pineapple circles. Cook until you reach a quick boil.
  3. Remove the rounds from the pan and set aside to cool.
  4. Repeat this process with the diced pineapple.
  5. Remove from heat and cool.

Chantilly Cream

  1. In a mixing bowl with whisk attachment, combine both of the ingredients.
  1. Set aside and keep chilled until ready to spoon.


  1. Using a serrated knife, trim all brown edges from the pineapple sponge cake. Tear small bite-sized pieces away using your hand.
  2. Plate the cake pieces on one side of a plate and spoon some pineapple compote staggered with the cake pieces.
  3. Place three pineapple compote rounds staggered with the cake.
  4. Place three pineapple chips on each plate.
  5. Using a deep spoon or dedicated quenelle spoon, spoon a football-shaped quenelle alongside the cake.

Recipe published with permission from Brigette Contreras (recipe slightly modified). Photography courtesy of Anthony Mair © 2018

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