Indulge in tropical flavors with this Pineapple Upside Down Cake that is made from scratch! This classic dessert combines caramelized luscious pineapple slices, juicy Maraschino cherries, and a moist, buttery cake base. With just a few simple ingredients and step by step instructions, you can whip up this impressive looking cake with ease.
Pineapple upside down cake is a classic dessert that has tropical flavors like pineapple and sweet cherry on top of a buttery cake. It’s a fun and popular dessert because it is baked upside down, and then flipped over once it’s slightly cool to reveal the pretty decoration of fruit on top.
The best part about this cake is that it looks so impressive when flipped over but truthfully its so easy to make! What helps create the design is a brown sugar like caramel glaze thats poured into the bottom of the cake pan. Then you add the pineapples and maraschino cherries in a pretty design and pour the batter on top.
When you flip the baked cake over, the caramel helps the cake slide out and keeps the design together- so cool!
As a professional baker who loves easy yet impressive desserts, I knew I had to have this recipe on here! So much so that I also created pineapple upside down cupcakes, and a pineapple upside bundt cake that looks so cool when you slice into it!
WHY YOU SHOULD MAKE THIS RECIPE
- I know it looks scary to make but really, its so easy!
- These flavors will make you feel like you are on vacation.
- Serve with vanilla ice cream as a topping.
- Canned Pineapple Slices – The star of the show, canned pineapple slices provide the sweet and tangy tropical flavor that defines this cake. They also add moisture and texture.
- Unsalted Butter – Adds richness and a buttery flavor to the cake batter. It also helps to create a caramelized glaze when combined with the brown sugar at the bottom of the cake pan.
- Brown Sugar – Contributes a deep, molasses-like sweetness to the caramelized glaze. It adds a deliciously sticky and caramelized texture to the top of the cake when it’s inverted.
- Maraschino Cherries – These vibrant and plump cherries not only provide a pop of color to the cake but also infuse each bite with a burst of fruity sweetness. Placing them in the center of the pineapple slices adds visual appeal and an extra layer of flavor.
- Granulated Sugar – Sweetens the cake batter and enhances the overall sweetness of the cake.
- Flour – Makes up the foundation of the cake, providing structure and stability.
- Baking Powder & Baking Soda – These leavening agents work together to give the cake its light and fluffy texture. They create air bubbles in the batter, causing it to rise and become tender as it bakes.
- Kosher Salt – Plays a crucial role in balancing the sweetness and enhancing the overall flavor of the cake. It helps to bring out the natural flavors of the other ingredients.
- Pineapple Juice – This not only adds a burst of pineapple flavor but also contributes moisture to the cake batter.
- Vegetable Oil – Adds moisture and tenderness to the cake by contributing to the light and fluffy texture while keeping the cake moist even after it has cooled.
- Egg – Acts as a binding agent, helping to hold the ingredients together.
- Vanilla Extract (Optional) – Adding a hint of vanilla extract enhances the overall flavor profile of the cake. It adds a subtle, sweet aroma that complements the pineapple and cherries.
How To Make Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Prepare for baking: Preheat the oven to 350° F and spray a 9” round cake pan with baking spray- preferably one that is made with flour. Set aside as you prepare the cake ingredients.
Prepare the pineapple: Drain the pineapple can, reserving ¾ cup of juice. Dry the pineapple slices or pieces well on both sides using a paper towel.
Assemble the brown sugar glaze: In a small bowl, melt the butter. Add the brown sugar and stir until combined. Break up any hard pieces. Add the brown sugar mixture to the bottom of the cake pan.
Arrange the pineapples and cherries: Add the pineapple slices around the pan with one in the center. Add the cherries to the holes of the slices and around the pineapple.
Make the cake batter: In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt and whisk lightly to combine. Next, add in the reserved pineapple juice, vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla extract if using. Mix until combined but do not overmix.
Bake the cake: Pour the cake batter over the pineapple slices and bake for 35- 40 minutes. The cake is done when the top is firm.
Cool and invert: Let the cake cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Then set either a wire rack or a serving plate on top of the cake and invert. Cool completely before slicing and serving. Enjoy!
TIPS FOR RECIPE SUCCESS
- Make sure to thoroughly dry the canned pineapple slices before placing them in the cake pan. Excess moisture can result in a soggy cake, so pat them dry with a paper towel to remove any excess liquid.
- When preparing the brown sugar mixture for the bottom of the cake pan, ensure that all the sugar is dissolved in the melted butter and there are no clumps. This will help create a smooth and even caramelized glaze that coats the pineapple slices beautifully.
- Only allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes. Any longer than that and the caramel can start to cool and harden making it impossible to come out.
- For a truly tropical twist, add a sprinkle of shredded coconut over the pineapple slices before pouring the cake batter. The coconut will toast as the cake bakes, adding a delightful nutty flavor and extra texture to each bite.
- To add a touch of indulgence, try soaking the pineapple slices in a rum or coconut rum marinade for about 30 minutes before arranging them in the cake pan.
- For a refreshing citrus twist, add the zest of a lemon or orange to the cake batter. The bright citrus notes will uplift the flavors and provide a zesty contrast to the sweet pineapple.
- If you enjoy a little crunch in your cake, sprinkle a handful of chopped pecans or walnuts over the brown sugar mixture before arranging the pineapple slices. The nuts will caramelize during baking, adding a delightful crunch.
STORAGE AND FREEZING
Storing: Once cooled, cover the cake tightly with plastic wrap or transfer it to an airtight container. It can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days. To extend the freshness, store it in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
Freezing: Once cooled, wrap the cake tightly with plastic wrap, followed by a layer of aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. Alternatively, you can cut the cake into individual slices and wrap each slice individually. Frozen cake can be stored in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy the frozen cake, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. For individual slices, they can be thawed at room temperature for a few hours.
Can you make pineapple upside-down cake ahead of time?
Yes, you can absolutely make pineapple upside down cake a day early. In fact, it is often recommended to make it in advance as the flavors tend to develop, and the cake becomes even more moist and flavorful over time.
Is pineapple upside down cake served warm or cold?
Pineapple upside down cake can be enjoyed warm or cold, depending on personal preference. Some people prefer it warm, shortly after it has been baked, while others enjoy it chilled from the refrigerator. Both ways offer a delightful taste experience, so feel free to enjoy it according to your liking.
More Fruit Filled Dessert Recipes
Homemade Pineapple Upside Down Cake
- 20 oz can pineapple rings (reserve juice!)
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 jar Maraschino cherries
- ¾ cup granulated sugar 150g
- 1 ¼ cup flour 160g
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¾ cup pineapple juice
- ¼ cup veg oil
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp Vanilla extract (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350° F and spray a 9” round cake pan with baking spray- preferably one that is made with flour. Drain the pineapple can, reserving ¾ cup of juice.
- Dry the pineapple slices or pieces well.
- In a small bowl melt the ¼ cup butter. Add the ½ cup brown sugar and stir until combined. Break up any hard pieces. Add the brown sugar mixture to the bottom of the cake pan.
- Add the pineapple slices around the pan with one in the center. Add the cherries to the holes of the slices and around the pineapple to make a pretty design.
- In a large mixing bowl combine the ¾ cup sugar, 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour, 1 tsp baking powder, ¼ tsp baking soda, and ½ tsp kosher salt and whisk lightly to combine.
- Next add in the ¾ reserved pineapple juice, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1 egg, and 2 tsp vanilla extract if using.
- Mix until combined but do not overmix.
- Pour the cake batter over the pineapple slices and bake for 35- 40 minutes. The cake is done when the top is firm.
- Cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Then set either a wire rack or a serving plate on top of the cake and invert.
- Cool completely before serving.