Pineapple Upside Down Cake

This pineapple upside down cake is features a sweet caramel topping over rich cake. Ground almonds in the batter give it a unique, nutty flavor. Serve it with your favorite ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream!

Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Elise Bauer

The single most requested cake at our family and friend gatherings is my father's homemade pineapple upside down cake.

It is hands down the best pineapple upside down cake recipe I know! Dad will look for almost any excuse to make it, and we never get tired of it.

The Best Pineapple Upside Down Cake Recipe

This pineapple upside down 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.

The Best Pan to Use

You'll need a high-sided 10-inch cake pan for this recipe.

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

Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Elise Bauer

How to Make the Caramel Topping

There are a couple of ways to make the caramel topping for this cake. The easiest way is to just melt brown sugar and butter together. This is the default method for the recipe.

My father prefers using white sugar (with a little corn syrup) instead of brown sugar to make the caramel base. He caramelizes the white sugar and corn syrup first, before adding butter. (Instructions are in the recipe note below if you'd like to try his method.) He prefers white sugar to brown sugar because brown sugar has flavors of molasses that he doesn't want in the cake. A small amount of corn syrup helps keep the sugar from crystallizing.

His approach uses twice as much sugar, but creates a deeply flavorful, rich topping for the cake. Both toppings work, feel free to use either one!

How to Store Pineapple Upside Down Cake

This cake is delicious served the day it's made, and is so rich and moist it will still taste wonderful for several days. Just cover it with plastic wrap and store it at room temperature or in the fridge.

The cake freezes well. To freeze, just wrap the cake tightly with plastic wrap and then with aluminum foil. Unwrap the cake before defrosting it in the fridge or at room temp.

Interested in learning more about Pineapple Upside Down Cake? Check out the history of Pineapple Upside Down Cake from my friend Tori Avey.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake in pan with cherries
Elise Bauer

Love Upside Down Cakes? Try These

Why Use Ground Almonds?

In addition to two flours, this cake uses ground almonds. The ground almonds add a nutty flavor and some moisture to the cake. You can use almond flour instead of ground almonds.

If a nut allergy is a concern, replace the ground almonds with an additional 6 tablespoons of cake flour.

Other Pans for Baking the Cake

This recipe calls for a high-sided 10-inch cake pan. You can make this in a 10-inch cast iron skillet, making the topping directly in the skillet.

You can also 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.

Swaps and Subs for Pineapple Upside Down Cake

  • Swap fresh pineapple for canned
  • Swap unsweetened Greek yogurt instead for the sour cream to ligthen the calories in the cake
  • Swap buttermilk for the sour cream
  • Swap other canned or fresh fruit for the pineapple
  • Add 2 tablespoons of coconut rum or coconut extract for a flavor similar to piña colada

More Pineapple Recipes to Try!

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 80 mins
Total Time 95 mins
Servings 12 to 14 servings

My dad's alternative caramel topping:

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, 1/4 cup light corn syrup, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup butter. Combine sugar, corn syrup, and water in a medium saucepan. Heat on medium until all sugar is dissolved. Boil until syrup becomes warm amber in color (5 to 10 minutes). Remove from heat. 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. Pour out into cake pan. Continue with recipe as noted.

Ingredients

For the topping:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan

  • 1 cup (200g) firmly packed dark brown sugar

  • 1 (20 ounce) can pineapple slices

For the cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups (200g) all purpose flour

  • 6 tablespoons (55g) cake flour

  • 6 tablespoons ground almonds (from 2 ounces/56g blanched almonds)

  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 3/4 cups (350g) sugar

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature

  • 4 large eggs

  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 3/4 cup sour cream

Optional:

  • 8 candied or maraschino cherries

Method

  1. Preheat the oven:

    Place the oven rack to center position and preheat the oven to 325°F.

  2. Grease the pan with butter:

    Generously grease a 10 x 2-inch round non-stick cake pan with butter.

  3. Make the caramel topping:

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

  4. Pour the caramel into the pan and top with pineapple:

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

    Pineapple Upside Down Cake from Scratch - Pouring the caramel into the pan
    Elise Bauer
    How to Make Pineapple Upside Down Cake - Adding the pineapple rings
    Elise Bauer
  5. Make the 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.

  6. Add the batter to the pan:

    Spread the cake batter over the pineapple and caramel so that it is smooth on top.

    Pour Cake batter over pineapple and caramel
    Elise Bauer
  7. Bake the cake:

    Bake the cake at 325°F until a toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out mostly clean, about 1 hour.

  8. Turn out the cake:

    Cool the cake in pan on a rack for 5 minutes. Turn the cake out onto a platter, after the cake has cooled for 5 minutes, and while the cake is still warm.

    If some of the topping sticks to the cake pan (it often does), just scoop it out with a butter knife and patch the cake.

  9. Add cherries, if you like:

    If you want to add candied or maraschino cherries for decoration, just put one in the center of each pineapple round.

    Serve warm or at room temperature.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Elise Bauer
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
481 Calories
26g Fat
60g Carbs
5g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12 to 14
Amount per serving
Calories 481
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 26g 33%
Saturated Fat 14g 71%
Cholesterol 113mg 38%
Sodium 153mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 60g 22%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 44g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 19mg 97%
Calcium 72mg 6%
Iron 2mg 9%
Potassium 153mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.