This pineapple upside down cake is a classic recipe that features caramelized pineapple and cherries with a homemade brown sugar cake batter. This is the best pineapple cake you’ll ever eat!
When I’m looking for a sweet treat that’s sure to impress, I make fruit pizza, banana split cake, or this traditional upside down cake. This cake is so good that everyone will be asking you for the recipe!
Pineapple upside down cake is popular for good reason – it’s easy to make, comes out looking beautiful, and of course tastes fabulous. My version features plenty of extra cherries, because let’s be honest, the cherries are one of the best parts of this sweet treat!
How do you make pineapple upside down cake?
This recipe starts with butter, brown sugar, pineapple slices and maraschino cherries, which are all layered in the bottom of a cake pan. A simple brown sugar cake batter is poured over the top, and everything bakes together until the cake is browned and pineapple is caramelized. The final step is to flip your cake over, cut it into slices and enjoy!
Tips for pineapple upside down cake
- You can use either fresh or canned pineapple slices in this recipe. I tend to use canned slices because they’re more uniformly shaped which makes for a nicer presentation.
- This cake can be made up to 3 days before you plan to serve it. You can also freeze your cake for up to 2 months.
- If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make your own by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to 1 cup of milk, then letting the milk stand for 5-10 minutes.
- This cake is perfectly delicious served as-is, but you can add a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a fancier presentation.
Do you have to refrigerate pineapple cake?
I recommend refrigerating this cake, as the topping can get gooey if the cake is sitting out on a hot summer day. I recommend taking your cake out of the refrigerator at least 20 minutes before you plan to serve it so that the cake can come to room temperature.
How do you keep pineapple upside down cake from sticking?
To keep your cake from sticking, you’ll want to take a few precautions. First, make sure to coat your pan with cooking spray. After that, take care to spread the butter evenly around the bottom of the pan to create a non-stick barrier. Finally, don’t try to invert your cake until it’s cooled in the pan for at least 1o minutes. You can loosen the cake from the pan by running a thin offset spatula around the edges. In the end, if you do experience any sticking of the pineapple, you can carefully remove a stuck pineapple slice from the pan, and gently place it back into place on the cake.
This cake looks so impressive; no one needs to know how easy it actually is to make!
More dessert recipes you’ll love
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
For the topping
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter melted
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 7 slices pineapple cored, can be canned or fresh
- 20 maraschino cherries
For the cake
- 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter melted
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup pineapple juice you can drain it from the can of pineapple
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9" x 2" cake pan with cooking spray.
- For the topping: pour the 1/4 cup of melted butter into the cake pan. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of brown sugar over the top.
- Top with pineapple slices and arrange the cherries between and inside of the pineapple slices.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Place the 1/2 cup melted butter, 3/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup granulated sugar in a bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the egg, buttermilk, pineapple juice, and vanilla extract. Stir until just combined. Slowly mix in dry ingredients until smooth.
- Spoon the batter into the pan on top of the pineapple and cherries. The batter should not be overflowing from the pan.
- If you aren't using a 9x2 inch pan you'll have extra cake batter, which you can bake on the side in a greased loaf pan.
- Bake the cake for 40-45 minutes. Check about 30 minutes into the bake time; if it looks like the top of the cake is getting too dark you can cover it with foil.
- Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes.
- Invert the cake and cool for another 20 minutes. Cut into slices and serve.
This post was originally published on October 5, 2015 and was updated on August 16, 2019 with new content.