Pineapple Upside Down Cake Frozen Yogurt

Thanks to twitter I recently discovered it’s possible to make ice cream without an ice cream maker. I honestly had no idea this was possible and have been actively contemplating buying an ice cream maker this summer after seeing so many great homemade ice cream recipes. But then my popcorn popper died (after weekly use for almost 2 years it was worth it’s $30 price tag) and I decided it was much more important to replace it than to buy an ice cream maker. But just as I had given up on being able to make ice cream, someone on twitter complained about not having an ice cream maker and another person replied with a link to instructions for making it by hand. I did some googling and found some more tips. Turns out it’s really easy. No, not as easy as pouring it into a machine, but for the most part with this method you are letting your freezer and a hand mixer do all the work, so it’s still not especially labor intensive.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake Frozen Yogurt

First, I had to decide what recipe I was going to use. But after going through a bunch of recipes nothing really stood out. Plus everything was full of heavy cream/sour cream/whole milk, etc. and since I’m trying to stick to my diet, I knew those would not be good at all. But I had also read how important fat and sugar are for good, creamy homemade ice cream so I knew attempting to make something with fat-free yogurt was just not going to work either. After looking around at lots of low fat ice cream/frozen yogurt recipes I compromised by using low-fat Greek-style yogurt (supposedly the best kind to use) and adding some half and half to up the creaminess factor.

As for the flavors, I wanted something fruity and summery. I had a pineapple sitting on my counter that was begging me to use it. It’s no secret than I love anything with pineapple. One of my most favorite desserts is pineapple upside down cake. Pineapple just goes so well with that buttery brown sugar mixture, it’s one of my favorite combos. And in fact, that mixture is very similar to the butterscotch sauce I made for my brownie tart and boy, do I love that sauce. That sauce is so good, I just wanted to pour it into a glass a drink it. I am not exaggerating one bit when I say that.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake Frozen Yogurt

So this is my version of pineapple upside down cake, but in ice cream form. I made up the pineapple/vanilla yogurt mixture and froze it following the instructions I found. I made the butterscotch separately, using half and half instead of heavy cream to lighten it up. It was thinner, but still tasted just as good. When the frozen yogurt was thick and creamy and mostly frozen I swirled in the butterscotch (it’s kind of hard to see in the pictures because it’s pretty much the same color as the ice cream, but you can sure taste it) and chilled it for a bit longer. Then I scooped it out and topped it with even more butterscotch.

This is one of my favorite things I’ve ever made. I’ve never seen pineapple ice cream before and after making this, I don’t really understand why. It was Just. So. Good. And the pineapple frozen yogurt was great by itself, but mixing it with the butterscotch took it to a whole other level of flavor. The tartness of the pineapple combined with the buttery sweetness of the butterscotch, melting together in your mouth… It was amazingly good.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake Frozen Yogurt

Pineapple Upside Down Cake Frozen Yogurt

adapted from David Lebovitz

Dessert | Yield: 1 quart
Prep time: 30 min | Total time: 8 hours


  • 16 oz. fresh pineapple, cut into chunks
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. vodka*
  • 1 cup low-fat Greek-style vanilla yogurt**
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 2 tbsp. orange juice

*This is optional, it’s supposed to help make the ice cream softer after it’s frozen, but I didn’t use any and mine turned out perfectly soft.

**You can use regular instead of low-fat to get an even creamier consistency, but reduce the half and half to 1/4 cup.

Butterscotch Sauce
from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

  • 3/4 cup half and half or heavy cream
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt


  1. In a medium bowl, mix together pineapple, sugar and vodka (if using). Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 2 hours (at room temp), stirring a few times.
  2. After the 2 hours, pour pineapple mixture into a blender along with the yogurt, half and half and juice. Mix well.
  3. Pour mixture through a fine-mesh strainer (to get out any pulp, seeds, etc.) into a medium metal or plastic bowl, preferably one with a cover. If you don’t have a cover for it, then cover with plastic wrap.
  4. Place in freezer to chill. After an hour, take it out and use a hand mixer or a sturdy whisk to whip it vigorously (you’ll get the best results with the mixer). Make sure to break up all the frozen sections around the edges. This may seem counter-intuitive, but this helps make it really creamy in the end. Put back in the freeze.
  5. Keep checking every 45-60 minutes and whipping/breaking it up. It took me 4-6 hours of total freezing time to get it to the right consistency. It depends on how hard you want it to be.
  6. When the frozen yogurt gets to a consistency you are happy with, start making the butterscotch. (Though you can make it earlier and just heat it up when you need it. It keeps up to a week in the fridge.) Combine half and half and butter in a small saucepan, cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is melted.
  7. Add in sugar and salt. Stirring frequently, cook until the mixture is thicker and shiny, about 10 minutes.
  8. Set aside to cool off. You want it to be warm (so it’s smooth and easy to pour) but not hot (you don’t want to melt the frozen yogurt too much).
  9. Slowly pour in 3/4 cup of the butterscotch (that’s about half of what you made), gently folding it into the frozen yogurt using a spatula. Don’t whip/stir anymore or it’ll just get mixed up in there. You are aiming for swirls of butterscotch throughout.
  10. Put back into the freezer to harden for another 30 minutes to an hour. Scoop out into bowls and top with the remaining butterscotch sauce (warmed up).