Pineapple Upside Down Johnnycake

What is a johnnycake, you ask?

Your new best friend, that’s what.

A johnnycake is a mix of cake, cornbread and pancake. That means you can eat this for breakfast- not that you need my permission to eat cake for breakfast.

In fact you never need permission to eat cake for breakfast, remember that!

This pineapple upside down johnnycake is a favorite of mine warmed up next to my cup of coffee.

I mean look at that color! Why wouldn’t you want to wake up to that?!

Think of how easy it is to make pancake batter or cornbread batter. That is how easy it is to whip this beauty up.

As far as the pineapple, it was sitting on my counter and needed to be used. Make this with Anjou pears or apples. The fruit first cooks and caramelizes in a bubbling bath of butter, sugar and nutmeg. Once that ever perfect golden brown color has been achieved, you simply pour the batter over the fruit and bake away.

As the johnnycake only has maple syrup in it, it is barely sweet and gets most of its sugariness from the fruit on top. So if you feel like you need an extra hit of sugar- whip yourself up some whipped cream for the top.

Like cornbread, this johnnycake can dry out easily so be wary of over baking it! I recommend in the days after, to throw your piece in the microwave for a few second before devouring.


I can not stress enough how much this johnnycake can change your “go-to” list of recipes. Since the first time I made Bon AppĂ©tit’s Maple Pear Johnnycake years ago- I have been enamored by johnnycakes since. Plus the name is a gem.

Pineapple Upside Down Johnnycake 

Makes one 9-inch cake

1 stick unsalted butter

2 tablespoons sugar

Pineapple sliced 1-inch thick and cored or Anjou pears, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cored

1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg, divided

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup stone-ground cornmeal (preferably white)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup whole milk

1/4 cup pure maple syrup (preferably dark amber )

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with the oven rack at the middle position.
  2. Melt butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet.
  3. Brush a 9-inch cake pan (2 inches deep) with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter.
  4. Reserve 6 tablespoons in a small bowl.
  5. In the skillet with the remaining 1 tablespoon of melted butter, sprinkle sugar evenly over butter.
  6. Arrange pineapple in skillet and sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes, then turn pears over and sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg. Cook until liquid pears give off has evaporated and cut sides are lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes more.
  7. Transfer pineapple to cake pan in a decorative pattern.
  8. Whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg in a bowl. Whisk in milk, syrup, eggs, and reserved 6 tablespoons of butter until just smooth.
  9. Pour over pineapple and bake until golden and a tooth pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
  10. Cool in pan on a rack 15 minutes, then run a knife around edge of cake to loosen and invert. Serve up!