Pineapple Upside Down Cake

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

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

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. (Thanks to a tip in the comments!)




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


  • 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


1 Start by making the caramel topping. Take brown sugar and butter and combine and melt in a saucepan on medium heat until sugar dissolves and the mixture is bubbly, this should take several minutes. (After sugar melts, don't stir.) Pour mixture into a 10 inch diameter stick-free cake pan with 2 inch high sides. Arrange pineapple slices in a single layer ontop of the caramel mixture.

pineapple-upside-down-1.jpg pineapple-upside-down-2.jpg

2 Preheat oven to 325° F. 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. Pour cake batter over caramel and pineapple in pan.

3 Bake cake until tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Turn cake out onto a platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 12 to 14 servings.

* 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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History of Pineapple Upside Down Cake from Tori Avey

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

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Showing 4 of 209 Comments

  • Ed

    Thanks Elise!
    I made the cake. My first cake EVER. It came out wonderfully. Delicious cake!


  • Pattie

    Do you think I can make this wonderful looking cake with crushed pineapple & coconut?

    Why don’t you try it and see? Let us know how it turns out. ~Elise

  • Pattie

    This cake is so pretty! It was a little more dense then I thought it would be, but it was still sooooooo yummy. I used fresh pineapple and toasted fresh coconut to put on top once it was baked. It was a big hit at the office for my coworkers birthday.

  • Lee

    Hi Elise. Thanks so much for this terrific recipe. I have been reading your blog for a few months and tagged so many of your recipes to try and this is the first I’ve got to. I made it wednesday night for a coworker’s birthday (he loves pinapple). When it came out of the baking tin looking just like your pic I was stunned and elated! Thursday morning I had so many compliments just on how the cake looked I was starting to worry if it could possibly live up to the look with the taste and it really did. It was fantastic. Not too dense (which I was worried about). Just the right sweetness.. Just really delicious in every way. I got so many compliments and was thrilled with myself all day. I am more of a cookie baker than a cake baker – this is easily the best cake I’ve made ever and I can tell I will be making it again for years and years. I am keen to try some different toppings other than pineapple as well, I think I might use tinned apricots the next time. Thanks so much!

    Re the butter stuff, I am in australia and have always been under the impression that a stick of butter was 125g.. That was the measure I used for this recipe and it worked out great. The other thing to be aware of for aussies giving this a go (ooh and I encourage it) is that the tablespoon measures are 15ml rather than the 20ml we use, so were 6 tablespoons are called for you only need 4.5.

    Thanks again Elise! What a recipe! Thank your dad for me too :)

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