Upside down Italian pan bread

A colourful and delicious quick loaf!

One of the first things I ever baked on my own as a very young child was pineapple upside down cake. I loved the sorcery of flipping over the plain-looking cake to reveal the caramelized fruit that became the dessert’s crowning glory. I recently decided to try a similar method to make a savory baked treat and it was a great success. We enjoyed this puffy, tasty loaf as-is, warm from the oven but it would also be delicious with a balsamic-olive oil dipper, like focaccia.


Vegetable layer:

  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) olive oil, divided
  • 1 cup (150 g) cherry tomatoes, halved (quartered if large)
  • 1/2 cup (26 g) chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon (4 g) white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.5 g) salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 g) dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup (90 g) pitted, halved Kalamata olives

Bread dough:

  • 2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (12 g) minced fresh basil, divided
  • 1/2 cup (45 g) grated parmesan, divided
  • 1 tablespoon (14 g) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 g) dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons (8 g) white sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons (7.5 g) salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.3 g) freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup (250 mL) milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) freshly-squeezed lemon juice or cider vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons (75 mL) olive oil


  • Preheat oven to 375F.
  • Prepare the vegetables. Heat the olive oil in a 12 inch (30 cm) oven-safe frying pan placed over medium high heat. When oil begins to shimmer, add the tomatoes, onions, sugar, salt and oregano. Stir gently as you sauté for 4 – 6 minutes, until tomatoes and onions are softened and lightly browned.
  • Remove pan from heat and spread the sautéed vegetables out in an even layer in the pan. Scatter olives evenly over top and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the flour, half the minced basil, half of the Parmesan, baking powder, oregano, sugar, salt and pepper.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, lemon juice and remaining olive oil. Add the liquids to the dry ingredients and stir gently to combine, just until no traces of dry ingredients are visible.
  • Spoon the dough evenly over the tomatoes, covering them as much as possible (dough will spread just a little as it cooks).
  • Return the pan to medium-high heat for 2 minutes to kick-start the baking process then place the pan in the preheated oven and cook for 25 – 30 minutes, until golden on top and internal temperature is 190F.
  • Let cool for 5 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate or cutting board.
  • Sprinkle remaining basil and parmesan over top then slice into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 1 loaf.

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

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