The Best Pineapple Upside Down Cake

5 from 6 votes
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Deliciously caramelized and packed full of bright, tangy flavors, this pineapple upside down cake recipe is fluffy, light, and so easy to put together.

top view of Pineapple Upside Down Cake

With the best cakes, you can get a lot out of a little and this homemade pineapple upside down cake delivers a beautiful dessert that tastes as good as it looks. With a simple recipe and fresh ingredients, you can create a soft, delicious cake that’s perfect any time of the year.

closeup of cut slice of pineapple upside down cake

If you’re a beginner baker, this classic pineapple upside-down cake is a great place to start. It’s all baked in one tin and requires just a simple vanilla sponge, chopped fruit, and brown sugar to mix to create a real showstopper.

The ingredients

For the topping:

  • Pineapple: Use canned pineapple rings in juice.
  • Cherries: I use glace cherries as they have the best color and sweetness. You can substitute for maraschino cherries or any kind of preserved cherry, as they’ll keep their shape while cooking.
  • Brown Sugar: Light brown sugar or dark brown will work equally well – the darker the sugar, the richer the caramelization.
  • Butter: Melted.

For the sponge:

  • Flour: All-purpose flour or plain flour works best as there are other raising agents in the recipe.
  • Butter: Softened and unsalted.
  • Eggs: Whisked.
  • White Sugar: This will make for the fluffiest sponge, though in a pinch you can use golden caster sugar.
  • Vanilla Extract.
  • Desiccated Coconut: The secret ingredient to making this the best pineapple upside down cake – it’ll give your sponge texture and taste.
  • Baking Powder.
  • Baking Soda.
  • Pineapple Juice: from the canned pineapple rings.
ingredients for upside down cake

How to make pineapple upside down cake

Preheat your oven to 350°F/175°C.

Prepare the topping

  • Prepare the Cake Pan: If, like me, you’re using a round cake pan with a removable base, make sure the tin is tightly sealed to prevent any leaks during cooking. You can use an ordinary round tin without a removable base – an 8-inch (20cm) tin is usually large enough for this recipe.
  • Butter and Sugar Layer: Pour the melted butter into the bottom of the tin, making sure the butter also coats the sides. Sprinkle the brown sugar all over the base so that it covers the melted butter – it will likely start to soften. This will make the “caramel” that gives the cake its gorgeous shine and rich sweetness.
  • Arrange Pineapple and Cherries: Then, place the pineapple rings in a single layer in whatever pattern you desire – you can cut pieces in half or quarters so there’s plenty of fruit. Place a cherry in the center of each pineapple ring to finish.

Prepare the batter

  • Cream the Butter and Sugar: To make the sponge, cream the butter and sugar together using a hand mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. This should take about three minutes.
  • Add the Eggs and Vanilla: Then, add the whisked eggs and vanilla extract. Using the hand mixer, gradually incorporate them into the butter and sugar until combined. You can use a stand mixer if you prefer.
  • Prepare the Dry Ingredients: In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, and baking powder.
  • Combine the Wet and Dry Ingredients: Then, to the flour, add the butter and sugar mixture, pineapple juice, and shredded coconut. Using a spatula, gently fold until everything is combined. Go gently with the mixture – overmixing will give you a dense, tough sponge.
Steps for preparing the batter of pineapple upsidedown cake

Assemble and bake

  • Pour the Cake Batter: Pour the cake batter on top of the pineapple base and use a spatula to level off the top. Be careful not to fill the tin completely – the cake will rise in the oven and can spill out if it’s too full.
  • Bake: Bake in the center of the oven for 45-50 minutes. I covered mine with a foil tent halfway through to make sure the top didn’t burn – it should be a delicate golden brown color.
  • Check for doneness: You can check if the cake is completely cooked by using a knife or a wooden toothpick. Insert the pick into the center of the cake – it should come out dry but a few crumbs are OK. If it has wet mix still on it, cover the cake and return to the oven for a further 5-7 minutes, then check again.

Cool down and flip

  • Allow your cake to cool before attempting to flip it – sponges are very delicate when they’re warm and can break if you try and remove them from the tin too early.
  • When the cake is cooled, place a large plate on top of the baking dish – it should be just slightly larger than the tin. Using both hands, flip the cake over and remove the tin. If you’re using a tin with a removable bottom, take the sides off first, then the base to reveal the pineapple side.
  • If your cake won’t come out, invert it back over tin-side up and run a knife around the edge to release it, then try again.

Top tips

  • Grease Your Tin: Especially with a cake where the bottom needs to look better than the top, make sure you grease your cake tin well with butter. This will help it release much easier after baking.
  • Don’t Overmix: Mixing a cake too much will give you a dense sponge. Make sure to mix until everything has just combined – doing this by hand can help.
  • Toppings: Pineapples and cherries contain a lot of extra moisture – which is fatal to a soft, well-textured cake. Pat your fruit dry with a piece of kitchen roll before using for a perfectly caramelized topping.
  • Keep It Cool: Let your cake cool for a few minutes before attempting to flip it. Not only will your cake be sturdier, but it will allow the fruity toppings to set properly – and stop it from sticking to the base of your cake tin.

Serving suggestions

Pineapple upside-down cake is best served in thick slices while still a little bit warm (you can warm it up in the microwave if you’re making it in advance). Serve with scoops of fresh vanilla ice cream, a dollop of whipped cream, or with custard.

Pineapple upside down cake with a slice cut off

More cake recipes

If you try this pineapple upside down cake recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

5 from 6 votes
By: Samira
Deliciously caramelized and packed full of bright, tangy flavors, this pineapple upside down cake recipe is fluffy, light, and so easy to put together.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 10

Equipment

  • 1 Cake Tin Loose-bottomed or standard
  • 1 Hand Whisk

Ingredients 
 

For the topping

  • 5.2 oz pineapple rings 6 rings
  • 1.2 oz glace cherries 6, (aka candied cherries)
  • 3 oz brown sugar 1/2 cup packed
  • 3 oz butter melted 1/2 cup, unsalted

For the sponge

  • 8.5 oz white flour 2 cups
  • 4 oz butter softened, unsalted
  • 2 eggs whisked
  • 7 oz white sugar 1 cup
  • 1.05 oz desiccated coconut 1/3 cup
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

Instructions 

Prepare the topping

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF/180ºC.
  • If using a round baking tin with a removable base, ensure the tin is tightly sealed to prevent leaks during cooking. You can use an ordinary round tin without a removable base – an 8-inch (20cm) tin is usually large enough for this recipe.
  • Pour the melted butter into the bottom of the tin, making sure the butter also coats the sides. Sprinkle the brown sugar all over the base so that it covers the melted butter.
  • Place the pineapple rings in a single layer in whatever pattern you desire. Place a cherry in the center of each pineapple ring to finish.

Prepare the batter

  • Cream the butter and sugar together using a hand mixer until they become light and fluffy. This should take about three minutes.
  • Add the whisked eggs and vanilla extract. Using the hand mixer, gradually incorporate them into the butter and sugar until combined.
  • In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, and baking powder.
  • To the flour, add the butter and sugar mixture, pineapple juice, and shredded coconut. Using a spatula, gently fold until everything is combined. Go gently with the mixture – overmixing will give you a dense, tough sponge.

Assemble and bake

  • Pour the cake mixture on top of the pineapple base and use a spatula to level off the top. Be careful not to fill the tin completely.
  • Bake in the center of the oven for 45-50 minutes. I covered mine halfway through to make sure the top didn't burn – it should be a delicate golden brown color.
  • Check if the cake is completely cooked by using a knife or a wooden toothpick. Insert the pick into the center of the cake – it should come out dry with a few crumbs on it.
    If it has wet mix still on it, cover the cake and return to the oven for a further 5-7 minutes, then check again.

Cool down and flip

  • Allow your cake to cool before attempting to flip it – sponges are very delicate when they’re warm and can break if you try and remove them from the tin too early.
  • When the cake is cooled, place a large plate on top of the baking dish – it should be just slightly larger than the tin. Using both hands, flip the cake over and remove the tin.
  • If your cake won't come out, flip it back over tin-side up and run a knife around the edge to release it, then try again.

Notes

Top  tips for success: 
  • Grease Your Tin: Especially with a cake where the bottom needs to look better than the top, make sure you grease your cake tin well with butter. This will help it release much easier after baking.
  • Don’t Overmix: Mixing a cake too much will give you a dense sponge. Make sure to mix until everything has just combined – doing this by hand can help this.
  • Toppings: Pineapples and cherries contain a lot of extra moisture – which is fatal to a soft, well-textured cake. Pat your fruit dry with a piece of kitchen roll before using for a perfectly caramelized topping.
  • Keep It Cool: Let your cake cool for a few minutes before attempting to flip it. Not only will your cake be sturdier, but it will allow the fruity toppings to set properly – and stop it from sticking to the base of your cake tin.
How to store: Store any leftover pineapple upside-down cake in a cake tin or airtight container. It’s best kept in the fridge, where it’ll keep for 3-5 days.
You can also freeze any leftovers or a cake made in advance. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and store in a freezer-safe container. It’ll keep for up to a month. To enjoy, allow to thaw overnight in the fridge before warming thoroughly and serving.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, British
Freezer friendly: 1 Month
Shelf life: 3-5 Days

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice, Calories: 399kcal, Carbohydrates: 54g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 75mg, Sodium: 215mg, Potassium: 105mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 33g, Vitamin A: 551IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 49mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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