Adapted from The Complete Electric Skillet Frypan Cookbook by Roberta Ames (Heartside Press, 1960)
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Line a 10-inch cast-iron skillet with aluminum foil, completely covering the bottom and sides and extending extra foil over edges of the pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Make the topping: Place butter in skillet, place skillet in oven, and melt butter. As soon as butter is melted, remove and stir in brown sugar, carefully mixing well with a rubber spatula so as not to tear foil. Arrange pineapple slices over butter/sugar spread. Place cherries in center of pineapple and pecans between the slices.
Make the batter: In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter, adding sugar gradually, and then add eggs and beat well. Stir flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl. Combine buttermilk, syrup, and vanilla in a small measuring cup. Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk/syrup mixture, beating well after each addition. Spread batter evenly across mixture in skillet.
Bake for approximately 45-50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Place a large cake plate over pan, and invert to remove. Peel off aluminum foil, pressing back any pineapple that may be stuck to the foil.