Pineapple Upside Down Cake

DessertBakingPineappleUpside Down Cake

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

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

A Family Favorite: Pineapple Upside Down Cake

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.

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.

Pineapple upside down cake with thinly sliced pineapple and caramel drizzled on top

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.

Pouring caramel into pan for pineapple upside down cake Pineapples and caramel in pan for homemade pineapple upside down cake

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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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the Founder and President of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

Links:

History of Pineapple Upside Down Cake from Tori Avey

Pineapple Upside Down Cake with topped with pineapple and caramel glaze

241 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • Robert

    Hi, what is cake flour? And how important is it vs. regular flour? I don’t want to buy too much stuff if it’s not critical. I’m just a guy, not a baker, help me out, please.

  • Nancy

    I just made this cake with fresh pineapple chunks and it is the most delicious Upside Down Cake I have ever made! The cake is moist and flavorful and the brown sugar and butter caramel is just the right sweetness to enhance the juicy pineapple chunks! I was worried when I first turned it over and it was kind of runny in the middle of the caramel, so I poked the cake with a skewer hoping that all that goodness would just soak through to the cake like a poke cake. Not to worry though, the caramel firmed up as it cooled and it really is so delectable and yummy and perfect!! This is the cake I imagine when I think of really good Pineapple Upside Down Cake!!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Ambika

    Hello!
    I made this cake for a dinner recently and it was delicious
    I had one issue thought on the bottom pineapple layer there were pockets of almost unbaked very gooey batter even though the rest of the cake was fully cooked….so I used a spoon and scooped it out. Should I bake it for longer with just the bottom heat setting towards the end for it to cook more? Am scared that it will burn the caramel layer.
    Or will it help if I layered the bottom with baking paper. Any advice would be great as I would love for the pineapple layer to look pretty like yours in the picture!!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Lora

    Made this cake the night before serving in a rectangular 13x19x2 and followed recipe to a tee- it was perfectly baked and very delicious however, found it to be dense & very moist in texture- is this related to the cake pan size?

  • Jessica Hickman

    This is officially my favorite dessert recipe EVER!!! HUGE THANKS to you & your dad

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