Diethood » Recipes » Desserts » Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

This retro pineapple upside down cake tastes like a million bucks, and it’s SO easy to make. It’s a moist and tender vanilla cake topped with buttery cherry-filled pineapple rings, bursting with bright fruity flavor!

Close-up of a pineapple upside down cake on a plate.

Easy Pineapple Upside Down Cake Recipe

This pineapple upside-down cake is so flippin’ good! Pun totally intended. It’s a moist, fluffy vanilla cake topped with a layer of gooey caramelized pineapples and dotted with maraschino cherries underneath a buttery brown sugar glaze. It’s easy to make, requiring your basic pantry ingredients, but the flavors and texture are next-level delicious.

This cake is baked – you guessed it – upside down. These retro cakes originated in the 1920s, and this classic recipe is a delicious throwback that’s perfect for the holidays and beyond. 

Why You’ll Love This Upside Down Cake Recipe

  • Classic. Like a strawberry pretzel dessert, a perfect pineapple upside down cake is wonderfully vintage. I don’t know about you, but I love cracking out a good old-timey dessert every now and again.
  • Sweet fruit flavors. This cake recipe is topped with fresh pineapple, juicy maraschino cherries, and a decadent brown sugar glaze. All the flavors come together in a sweet dessert that’s delicious as is and even better topped with whipped cream or ice cream!
  • Easy to make. An upside-down cake might look fancy, but it’s actually so simple to make. This recipe walks you through creating a moist and tender vanilla cake with the signature pineapple topping.
The ingredients for a pineapple upside down cake.

How to Make a Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Just like any retro dessert, this pineapple upside down cake uses simple ingredients. Together, they create a gorgeous cake with a buttery, caramelized top! Below is an overview of how to make this cake. Be sure to scroll to the recipe card for the full ingredient amounts and recipe directions.

Ingredients for the Cake

  • Butter and Brown Sugar: Melted butter caramelizes with brown sugar and pineapple juice to create a rich, sticky glaze over the pineapple topping.
  • Pineapple: You’ll need pineapple juice for the glaze, and fresh pineapple, sliced into rings for topping the cake.
  • Maraschino Cherries: These are sweet preserved cherries in syrup. I don’t recommend substituting maraschino cherries with fresh cherries, as it takes away from the classic flavor of the cake.
  • Flour
  • Baking Powder and Salt
  • Sugar
  • Eggs and Vanilla: Eggs give the cake structure, while vanilla deepens the flavors.

Directions

  1. Prepare the brown sugar glaze. Begin by brushing a bit of butter over the inside of a 9” cake pan. Next, you’ll combine a ½ stick of melted butter with brown sugar and pineapple juice and pour the mixture into the bottom of the pan.
  2. Add the pineapple rings. Arrange the pineapple rings over top of the brown sugar mixture, and place a cherry in the middle of each ring. 
  3. Make the cake batter. In a new bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients for the cake. Next, separate the yolks from the egg whites. Beat the egg whites until fluffed, and beat the yolks until smooth. Stir additional pineapple juice, vanilla, and the remaining melted butter into the yolks, then add this into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Finally, fold the egg whites into the batter.
  4. Assemble and bake. Pour the cake batter over the topping in the cake pan, and bake at 400ºF for 30 minutes. The cake will need to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before you can flip it out.
Close-up overhead view of a pineapple upside-down cake on a plate.

How to Flip an Upside Down Cake

The main things to keep in mind when inverting your pineapple upside-down cake are 1) use a plate that’s wider than the cake pan and 2) use oven mitts if your cake pan is still hot when you go to flip it. Here’s how to invert this cake:

  1. Let the cake cool for about 10-15 minutes. This allows the topping and the cake to set up enough to flip. Afterward, run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen any sticky edges.
  2. Cover the cake pan with an upside-down plate or cake platter – so that the surface of the plate is facing downward against the cake. Then, grip both sides of the plate and cake pan firmly.
  3. Quickly and carefully flip the cake so that the plate is now on the bottom and the cake is facing upwards, pineapple-side-up. Slowly remove the cake pan, and voila! Dig into your cake while it’s still warm.
Slice of pineapple upside down cake on a stoneware plate, next to a fork and a swirl of whipped cream topped with a cherry.

Tips and Recipe Variations

One of the things I love most about these vintage desserts is that they keep the fuss to a minimum. Keep these tips in mind for the perfect pineapple upside-down cake:

  • You can make this recipe with canned pineapple. Canned pineapple rings are the retro choice, and they’re perfect to use if you’re pressed for time. If you’re using canned, I recommend that you drain and pat dry the pineapple slices before adding them to the pan. This way, the top of your cake won’t turn out soggy.
  • Not a fan of maraschino cherries? Try replacing the cherries with pecans or another type of nut.
  • Don’t overmix the cake batter. A pineapple upside down cake is naturally more dense than your average vanilla cake because something needs to hold up all that juicy fruit. However, the cake shouldn’t be overly dense or dry. Make sure that you don’t overmix the batter – this can yield a tough, dry cake.
  • Don’t overbake. Like overmixing, overbaking is another reason your pineapple upside down cake may turn out dry and crumbly. Not all ovens bake the same, too, so make sure that you keep an eye on the cake while it bakes. 
  • To tell if your cake is done baking, insert a toothpick into the center. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done.
  • For another variation made with yogurt, try my pineapple upside down yogurt cake. It’s ultra-moist and made as a sheet cake so it’s great for sharing.
Close-up shot of pineapple upside down cake on a plate next to a swirl of whipped cream topped with a cherry.

Why Is the Top of My Cake Soggy?

While this cake is best served warm when the top is still a little moist, there’s a difference between moist and soggy. If the top of your cake is overly gooey, it could be because you used canned pineapple and didn’t blot away the excess syrup first. Too much moisture in the topping can result in a soggy cake. Also, make sure to serve your cake soon after it’s baked since this is when it has the best texture.

How Do I Keep the Cake From Sticking to the Pan?

The caramelized sugar and butter usually do an excellent job of preventing this cake from sticking. If you notice that the edges of the cake are sticking to the sides of the pan before you flip it, run a knife around the edges to loosen them a bit. If one or two of your pineapple rings get stuck to the bottom of the pan, it’s no biggie. Simply peel them off afterward and place them back on the cake.

A slice of pineapple upside down cake on a stoneware plate garnished with a swirl of whipped cream topped with a cherry.

Serving Suggestions

This cake is perfectly served with a tall glass of milk or a cozy cup of coffee or tea. If you’re looking for some more tasty ways to serve a slice of pineapple upside-down cake, try these ideas:

  • Toppings. Top the cake slices with a swirl of fluffy whipped cream and a maraschino cherry. You can even sprinkle over crushed pecans, walnuts, or chocolate shavings. 
  • Sauces. Drizzle slices of upside down cake with homemade strawberry sauce, or try this boozy chocolate sauce recipe spiked with rum.
  • Ice Cream. Vanilla ice cream is classic, or you can amp up the fruity flavors with a scoop of homemade no churn mango ice cream or my 2-ingredient homemade ice cream with fresh berries. 
  • Brunch. Pineapple upside down cake is a perfect bright addition to a brunch table. Serve it alongside breakfast favorites like buttermilk pancakes and French toast or as a sweet finish to a savory breakfast casserole
Close up of a pineapple upside down cake with a slice missing.

How to Store

  • Fridge. This cake is best when served warm and fresh due to the moisture in the fruit topping. If you have leftovers, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or place the cake in an airtight container to store in the fridge for up to 3 days. The texture won’t be quite the same, but the flavors of the cake will still be delicious.
  • Freezer. For longer-term storage, double-wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap and store it in the freezer for up to 2 months. Defrost the cake in the fridge before serving. 

ENJOY!

More Easy Cake Recipes

Close-up of a pineapple upside down cake on a plate.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Katerina | Diethood
This retro pineapple upside-down cake is a moist, tender vanilla cake topped with buttery pineapple rings and maraschino cherries. It's easy to make, and it's so delicious!
No ratings yet
Servings : 10 Servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients
  

For the Topping
  • 12 tablespoons butter, (1-1/2 sticks), melted, divided
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened pineapple juice, divided
  • 1 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, and sliced into rings
  • maraschino cherries
For the Cake
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400ºF.
For the Topping
  • Melt 8 tablespoons (1 whole stick) of butter in one bowl. In a separate bowl, melt 4 tablespoons of butter (or 1/2 of a stick). Brush some of the melted butter on the inside of a 9-inch cake pan.
  • Mix the 1/2 stick of melted butter (4 tablespoons) with the brown sugar. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the pineapple juice. Pour the brown sugar mixture into the bottom of the prepared cake pan.
  • Arrange the pineapple rings on top of the brown sugar mixture. Place a cherry in the center of each pineapple ring and as many cherries as desired in the gaps between the rings. Set the pan aside.
For the Cake
  • Stir together the flour, salt, white sugar, and baking powder.
  • Separate the eggs, the whites in one bowl, and the yolks in another. Beat the whites until stiff.
  • Beat the egg yolks until smooth and lemony yellow. Stir in the remaining pineapple juice, vanilla, and remaining melted butter. Add this mixture to the flour mixture, then gently fold in the egg whites.
  • Pour the batter over the top of the brown sugar and pineapple rings layer.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and let the cake cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes before flipping it.
  • Flip the cake by covering the pan tightly with a serving dish and invert so that the pineapple side faces up.
  • Cut and serve.

Notes

  • Opt for canned pineapple rings for a quick, vintage touch. Drain and dry them to avoid a soggy cake top.
  • Not keen on maraschino cherries? Substitute with pecans or another nut.
  • Be cautious not to overmix the batter. It should be dense to support the fruit but not tough.
  • Avoid overbaking; ovens vary. Monitor the cake as it cooks.
  • Check doneness by inserting a toothpick in the center. It’s ready if the toothpick emerges clean.
  • To remove the cake from the pan: Cool the cake for 10 to 15 minutes, then use a knife to free any edges. Place a plate or platter face-down atop the cake pan, holding both securely. Invert so the cake sits pineapple-side-up on the plate. Lift off the pan and enjoy.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 Slice | Calories: 364 kcal | Carbohydrates: 55 g | Protein: 4 g | Fat: 15 g | Saturated Fat: 9 g | Cholesterol: 85 mg | Sodium: 262 mg | Potassium: 266 mg | Fiber: 1 g | Sugar: 36 g | Vitamin A: 545 IU | Vitamin C: 45 mg | Calcium: 77 mg | Iron: 1.6 mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: easy pineapple upside down cake, pineapple upside down cake
Did you make this recipe?Leave a Rating!

Categories:

Ask a Question or Rate this Recipe

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating:




55 comments on “Pineapple Upside Down Cake”

  1. Directions look simple enough and cake looks delicious…but, who has actually made it and tasted it?… I want to hear from them…

    1. Katerina - Diethood
      Kate @ Diethood.com

      Hi Julia!

      I made it, who else? I tasted it, my family… I’ve made it for friends, company, etc… It’s a delicious cake.

  2. I feel exactly the same about fruits this time of year! Apples and pears are fall/winter fruits, and it’s pointless to buy berries and cherries, even with the sale signs. They’re just not in season.

    Pineapple upside-down cake is good any time of year, though. Looks delicious!

  3. Beautiful pic. Looks moist, sweet, and delicious. One of my favorite desserts and anything with pineapple! So sorry to hear you can’t get your hands on any good berries, I have been on a lucky streak I guess…blueberries are huge and sweet!

    Okay also I want to let you know that I have been tagged in a game “Tag you are it”! and I am tagging you now!:) Visit when you have time!

  4. Avatar photo
    The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time

    I hope that your weather is still behaving! It was all of 72 degrees here today. Beautiful. Your cake looks like sunshine. It made me want one so bad I will head to the store tomorrow just to buy a pineapple to make it. I love this cake and haven’t made it in years. Thank you for the reminder and the recipe.

  5. Avatar photo
    A little bit of everything

    here it’s getting warmer and warmer lately too. I’m so longing for sunny days, probably most of us do.
    your cake make me dream of tropical beaches and tons of relaxing moments.
    thanks for sharing this tribute to the spring. hope you’ll have a wonderful Monday

  6. Horay for spring!! As I type this it is snowing again here….crud! Gorgeous looking cake Kate! This looks way better than the ones we used to try to bake at camp in a reflector oven. You are so smart to bring spring into the kitchen….I am so ready for the warm weather!

  7. Avatar photo
    Kim - Liv Life

    When I was younger I asked for Pineapple Cake every year for my birthday and my mom lovingly made it for me. I have never made one for my kids though! I actually have a full, ripe pineapple on my counter, I might just give this a go tomorrow. My son loves pineapple like I do, I bet he will be happy. Now if only I could get pictures as nice as yours I’d be set!!

  8. I love pineapple upside down cake! I don’t remember the last time I ate some and you just made me crave it ;).

  9. I’m glad the weather is all sunny and balmy, here in LA this week the weather decided to be not as peppy. But really I can’t complain…we had the best winter ever…. compared with what east coast had to endure. Your cake looks divine, I love pineapple in any way possible, it’s Just delicious.

  10. We had five days of spring-like weather and winter returned today. It has been winter in myome until I opened your blog and sawyour perfect, spring cake! My mood instantly lifted.

  11. This looks so pretty! Pineapple upside down cake always reminds me of spring – right around the corner!

  12. Avatar photo
    Lora @cakeduchess

    Your cake is so pretty Kate! I love upside down cakes. I have to try your recipe:)Thank you for sharing. Hope you have a nice weekend!!

  13. Avatar photo
    the constant hunger

    I haven’t had this in forever. It is the perfect cake to eat with a deep, robust cup of coffee.

  14. Avatar photo
    Jenny @ Savour the Senses

    Yum! I have been wanting to make an upside down cake for a few weeks, you might have just inspired me to actually do it! This looks amazing =)

  15. For you, Kate, an award! I have so enjoyed visiting your site. Your posts are always bright and beautifully photographed. Your site is clean and crisp and your banner is cleverly stylish … hence a Stylish Blogger Award! If you’d like to play along, check out the link below for the award badge and particulars! keep up all your hard work!

  16. This cake is sunny, warm, bright and I bet very delicious and hard to stop eating. Glad to hear it made for a very happy day 🙂

  17. Trying not to get too excited about this lovely weather here in Michigan. Mother Nature is just baiting us in for the next round of winter weather. I am however baited in by your beautiful pictures. Thank you for that round of sunshine and great recipe.

  18. Avatar photo
    happywhennothungry

    This cake looks amazing! I’ve actually never made pineapple upside down cake, but definitely love your recipe and will have to try!

  19. I haven’t made pineapple upside down cake in many years, but it’s time to make one now. Yours looks so yummy, bursting with flavor and thoughts of Spring. Here in Chicago it was 50 degrees today with no sun.

  20. I haven’t made pineapple upside down cake in many years, but it’s time to make one now. Yours looks so yummy, bursting with flavor and thoughts of Spring. Here in Chicago it was 50 degrees today, so for now I’ll settle for Spring:)

  21. Avatar photo
    Vicki @ Wilde in the Kitchen

    Made with fresh pineapple, this cake sounds amazing. I think spring is trying to take hold around here too and I’m so excited! Let’s hope it sticks around!

  22. I love pineapple upside down cake too! It is finally warmer here in Austin. I’m savoring the sunshinet! Thank you so much for sharing…and thank you for visiting my blog!

  23. Avatar photo
    Sprinkled with Flour

    Oh how I love pineapple upside down cake! This was the very first thing I baked in my high school cooking class, so it gives me fond memories:)

  24. Avatar photo
    The Farmers Wife

    Yum!! I love pineapple upside down cake, especially when it’s made with fresh pineapple! Looks amazing! Nice work on getting going this morning!

  25. Avatar photo
    Priscilla - She's Cookin'

    So glad you all are getting some sunshine and warmer weather! My mom used to make pineapple upside down cake and its one of my all time favorites – especially with fresh pineapple! (when we were kids it was Dole canned all the way 🙂 )

  26. You’re certainly right about the weather…after a winter ranging in temp from -20 to 30 degree F weather, I’m really enjoying the 55 degrees it is right now!!

    I’ve been meaning to try mini pineapple upside cake using muffin tins, so I think I’ll have to use your recipe for that. Your cake looks delicious!

  27. I am such a sucker for pineapple upside down cake! Thanks for planting the seed! Your cake looks scrumptious!

  28. Avatar photo
    Angie's Recipes

    This is one of my all time favourites! Rich, aromatic and moist…perfect to go with some black coffee!

  29. mmmm looks really good. Gives me a good idea for a post for a GF pineapple upside down cake I’ll have to try tonight. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  30. what a beautiful tribute to the spring to come….sigh…and it can’t come soon enough for me! I love pineapple upside down cake in all its buttery sweet glory, if my wife see this post, I will be making one this weekend!
    cheers
    Dennis

  31. Avatar photo
    Cheryl and Adam

    This brings back memories! I remember my mother making and upside down cake when I was little and being totally confused by the concept. I couldn’t understand WHY anyone would want to make a cake upside down… and how could you eat it? Needless to say, with one bite my questions dissolved along with the cake in my mouth and I have been a huge fan ever since. Great recipe! Thanks for the memories!

  32. Avatar photo
    Sara @CaffeIna

    Pineapple upside down cake is one of the first I learnt to make from my mom 🙂
    And yes, it’s so summery, so full of joy.

  33. Yes, finally some sunshine!!! I love the caramelization of the pineapple…it looks so incredibly tasty, Kate~

  34. Kate,
    Thanks for bringing your ray of sunshine over here. What an early bird you are! That carmelised pineapple is just calling on us, EAT ME. Love the change to the classic apple. Cheers to sunny days!

  35. Avatar photo
    Sommer@ASpicyPerspective

    Yay, yay, yay–it’s beautiful here too! I definitely think we should ALL celebrate with upside-down cake!

  36. My mother used to make a fantastic pineapple upside down cake (with a maraschino cherry in the middle of each pineapple ring) and this has me feeling super nostalgic!

  37. Avatar photo
    Mina @ Angellove's Cooking

    Kate, that is one of our all times favourite cakes at home and yours looks absolutely perfect!!! You will now make my son forcing me do one for him when I get back home from work :)) your photos are so stunning!!

  38. Today was gorgeous day over here too..oh how much we enjoyed sunshine and warmth..your cake looks so delicious and I can’t believe you made it so early..I can’t open my eyes properly before 10am:))))) Even when I am driving kids to school I feel like I need to be in the bed :D..I am not morning person at all!:))
    Love the color on that beautiful piece of cake..yummy!

  39. Avatar photo
    Leanna @ Raptortoe.com

    I was JUST talking to a co-worker about one of these. I shared this amazing pineapple I came across, and she went on about how great the pinapple was and how I should have made an pineapple upside down cake. I argued that it was too good to be in cake 😛

Scroll to Top