Pineapple Upside Down Cake

BEST pineapple upside down cake recipe EVER! Caramel topping with pineapple rounds over a dense cake with almond flour.

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

The single most requested cake at our family and friend gatherings is my father’s pineapple upside down cake. He’ll look for almost any excuse to make it, and we never get tired of it.

The cake is dense, like a sour cream pound cake, with ground almonds in the flour to give it even more substance and a slight almond flavor. The caramel pineapple topping is so good, you’ll want to pick every crumb.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

There are a couple of ways to do the topping. The easiest way is by melting brown sugar and butter. My father will also often make a caramel base from caramelizing white sugar (instructions at the end of the recipe for this alternative).

Pineapple Upside Down Cake Recipe

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  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 12 to 14 servings

If you don't have a high-sided 10-inch cake pan, you might try making this in a springform pan. Line the inside with foil so the caramel doesn't leak, and bake on a rimmed baking sheet just in case it does.

Ingredients

Topping:*

  • 1 cup of firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 can (20 oz) of pineapple slices

Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 6 Tbsp cake flour
  • 6 Tbsp of ground almonds (from about 2 oz of whole almonds)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup sour cream

Method

1 Make caramel topping: Heat brown sugar and butter in a medium sized saucepan on medium heat until sugar dissolves and the mixture is bubbly,  several minutes. (After sugar melts, don't stir.)

2 Pour into pan, top with pineapple slices: Generously grease (with butter or cooking spray) a 10-inch diameter stick-free cake pan with 2-inch high sides.

Pour the mixture into the pan.

Arrange pineapple slices in a single layer on top of the caramel mixture.

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3 Preheat oven to 325° F.

4 Make cake batter: Whisk the flours, ground almonds, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the sugar and butter together until light. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.

Add dry ingredients alternately with sour cream in 2 additions each, beating well after each addition.

5 Pour cake batter over caramel and pineapple in pan.

6 Bake the cake at 325°F until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes.

7 Turn out cake: Cool cake in pan on a rack for 5 minutes. Turn cake out onto a platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.

* Note an alternative topping: 2 cups granulated sugar, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup butter. Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Heat on medium until all sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to medium high and bring to a boil. Boil until syrup becomes warm amber in color (about 10 minutes). Add 1/4 cup butter, carefully as it will foam up a bit. Swirl the pan so that the butter is all incorporated, stirring with a wooden spoon if necessary. Remove from heat and pour out into cake pan. Continue with recipe as noted.

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Links:

History of Pineapple Upside Down Cake from Tori Avey

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Showing 4 of 230 Comments

  • Suzanne Chilson

    This is my husbands favorite cake, I will bake it tomorrow for his birthday, he will be so happy. I’ve baked this cake about a dozen times, I’ve always used regular flour and salted butter and it has always come out perfectly. We always have it at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Yummy can’t wait until tomorrow!

  • Alison

    Hi! I cant wait to make this. Can u please tell me a substitute for sour cream? Very hard to find in my area

  • Neha

    Hello, for cake, is it 3/4 cup of sugar or 1 and 3/4 cup of sugar. Thanks.

  • Neha

    hello, what can i substitue for 6 tbsp of ground almonds. making this for someone with nut allergy. thanks.

  • Sara

    Hi Elise, I’ve been enjoying your recipes for years now, and want to try to make this amazing-looking cake for my parents’ 80th birthday party this weekend. However, can I make it a day in advance and then transport it? Will the topping bleed into the cake too much? Should I store it in the fridge or in room temp overnight? Thanks!

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