National Pineapple Upside Down Cake Day on April 20th celebrates a sweet cake that contains pineapples and cherries. Americans have been enjoying this springtime cake since the early 1900s when many cakes were made in cast iron skillets.
- The term ‘upside down cake’ wasn’t used very much before the middle of the 19th century, but the style of baking probably dates back much further, probably to the Middle Ages.
- The early recipes for fruit upside down cakes were made in cast iron skillets on top of the stove.
- The classic American ‘Pineapple Upside Down Cake’ dates to sometime after 1901, when Jim Dole invented canned pineapple.
- The Hawaiian Pineapple Co. (now Dole Pineapple) held a pineapple recipe contest in 1925, with judges from Fannie Farmer’s School, Good Housekeeping and McCall’s magazine on the judging panel. The 100 winning recipes would be published in a cookbook the following year.
- The Hawaiin Pineapple Company ran an ad campaign in 1926 based on the fact that so many recipes for the cake had been submitted, naturally making the Pineapple Upside Down Cake even more popular.
- Caribbean Indians placed pineapples or pineapple crowns outside the entrances of their homes to symbolize friendship and hospitality.
- The Spanish explorers thought pineapples looked like pinecones, so they called them “Pina.” The English added “apple” to associate it with juicy delectable fruits.
- Pineapple, “halakahiki” in Hawaiian, meaning foreign fruit, has been grown in Hawaii since the early 1800’s.
- The word “pineapple” in English was first recorded in 1398, when it was originally used to describe the reproductive organs of conifer trees (now termed pine cones).
- Raw pineapple is an excellent source of manganese (76% daily value) in a one US cup serving) and vitamin C (131% DV per cup serving).
- The first pineapple to be successfully cultivated in Europe, is said to have been grown by Pieter de la Court at Meerburg in 1658.
- Once harvested, pineapples don’t continue to ripen.
- The first mention in print of Pineapple Upside Down cake was in 1930, and was so listed in the 1936 Sears Roebuck catalog.
- Unripe pineapples don’t just taste vile, but can actually be quite poisonous. Eating it causes serious throat irritation and it has a strong laxative effect.
- traditionally pineapple juice was used as a diuretic and to induce labor.
- The Bromelain enzyme in pineapples breaks down proteins. This means that you can use pineapple or pineapple juice as a meat tenderizer.