The single most requested cake at our family and friend gatherings is my father’s homemade pineapple upside down cake. It is the best pineapple upside down cake recipe, hands down. He’ll look for almost any excuse to make it, and we never get tired of it.
Pineapple Upside Down Cake from Scratch
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. (Here’s some more on the history of Pineapple Upside Down Cake if you’re interested!)
The Best Pan to Use
You’ll need a high-sided 10-inch cake pan for this recipe, like this one.
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.
How To Make the Caramel Topping
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 are in the Recipe Note below if you’d like to try his method).
How to Store Pineapple Upside Down Cake
This cake is delicious served the day it’s made, and just as good the next day. The cake is so rich and moist it will last several days, covered loosely with plastic wrap or a cake dome, and stored at room temperature.
Love Upside Down Cakes? Try These!
Pineapple Upside Down Cake RecipePrint
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.
My dad's alternative caramel 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 light amber in color (5 to 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.
For the topping:
- 1 cup of firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 can (20 oz) of pineapple slices (Dole brand works best)
For the cake:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons cake flour
- 6 tablespoons 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 large eggs
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup sour cream
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) a 10-inch diameter non-stick cake pan with at least 2-inch high sides.
Pour the caramel mixture into the pan. Arrange pineapple slices in a single layer on top of the caramel mixture.
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: 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.
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