If you don't have a high-sided 10-inch cake pan, you might try making this in a springform pan. Line the inside with foil so the caramel doesn't leak, and bake on a rimmed baking sheet just in case it does.
My dad's alternative caramel topping: 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, 1/4 cup light corn syrup, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup butter. Combine sugar, corn syrup, and water in a medium saucepan. Heat on medium until all sugar is dissolved. Boil until syrup becomes warm amber in color (5 to 10 minutes). Remove from heat. Add 1/4 cup butter, carefully as it will foam up a bit. Swirl the pan so that the butter is all incorporated, stirring with a wooden spoon if necessary. Pour out into cake pan. Continue with recipe as noted.
For the topping:
- 1 cup (200g) of firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 can (20 oz) of pineapple slices (Dole brand works best)
For the cake:
- 1 1/2 cups (200g) all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons (55 g) cake flour
- 6 tablespoons ground almonds (from about 2 oz or 56g of blanched almonds)
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 3/4 cups (350g) of sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 4 large eggs
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 8 candied or maraschino cherries
1 Grease the pan with butter: Generously grease (with butter) a 10-inch diameter non-stick cake pan with at least 2-inch high sides.
2 Make caramel topping: Heat brown sugar and butter in a medium sized saucepan on medium heat until sugar dissolves and the mixture is bubbly, several minutes. (After sugar melts, don't stir.)
3 Pour into pan, top with pineapple slices: Pour the caramel mixture into the pan. Arrange pineapple slices in a single layer on top of the caramel mixture.
4 Preheat oven to 325° F.
5 Make cake batter: Whisk the flours, ground almonds, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the sugar and butter together until light. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
Add dry ingredients alternately with sour cream in 2 additions each, beating well after each addition.
6 Pour cake batter over caramel and pineapple in pan. Spread the cake batter over the pineapple and caramel so that it is smooth on top.
7 Bake: Bake the cake at 325°F until a tester inserted into the center comes out mostly clean (internal temperature of about 205°F if you have an instant read thermometer), about 1 hour.
8 Turn out cake: Cool cake in pan on a rack for 5 minutes. Turn the cake out onto a platter, after the cake has cooled for 5 minutes, and while the cake is still warm.
If some of the topping sticks to the cake pan (it often does), just scoop it out with a butter knife and patch the cake.
9 (Optional) Add cherries: If you want to add candied or maraschino cherries for decoration, just put one in the center of each pineapple round.
Serve warm or at room temperature.