Fresh Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Our favorite pineapple upside-down cake recipe! We love this easy vanilla cake baked on a layer of butter, brown sugar, and fresh pineapple. Think of this as a “modernized” version of the classic pineapple upside-down cake.

Watch the Video

Pineapple Upside Down Cake Recipe Video

Related: We love our popular carrot cake!

How to Make Our Favorite Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

We seriously love this easy pineapple cake. The cake batter is flavored with vanilla and citrus — I love using lime for a more tropical flavor, but lemon works well, too.

Our gooey brown sugar topping is made by smearing butter all over the bottom of a cake pan. Then we scatter brown sugar and cinnamon on top. The cinnamon isn’t traditional, but we love it. By the way, if you love fruit-forward cakes, we also have these recipes for Fresh Strawberry Cake and this Buttery Lemon Blueberry Cake!

A layer of fresh pineapple on the bottom of the cake pan.

Slices of fresh pineapple are set down onto the butter and brown sugar. We use fresh since it is more tart than canned pineapple. I love the balance of sweet and tart in fresh pineapple.

However, you can use canned pineapple if that’s what you have. If you use canned pineapple, look for slices packed in lighter syrups so the cake does not become too sweet.

Spreading the cake batter over the pineapple.

As the cake bakes, the pineapple releases some of its juices and sweetness, which runs out into the brown sugar topping.

We love serving this cake warm with a bit of whipped cream or coconut whipped cream, but ice cream would be just as delicious. Think of this as a “modernized” version of the classic pineapple upside-down cake. We genuinely love it.

After serving this to a few friends, we were asked where the cherries were (something commonly added to upside-down cakes). We’re happy to skip the cherries but add them if an upside-down pineapple cake seems naked without them!

Pineapple Upside Down Cake with Fresh Pineapple

More: This cake recipe calls for a 1/4 of a pineapple. Our Spicy Avocado Pineapple Salsa would be perfect for using up the rest.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why separate the eggs? We ask that you separate the eggs for this upside-down cake. The yolks are added during a different step than the whites. In fact, we gently beat the egg whites at the end. We do this to achieve the best cake texture. This cake is moist, light, and airy.

If you add the egg whites simultaneously with the yolks, they will be beaten longer, adding more air to the batter. Sometimes, this is a good thing, but in the case of this upside-down pineapple cake, we want to keep them separate and add the egg whites at the end. When testing this recipe, the cake was drier in the middle when we added the egg whites with the yolks at the beginning of the recipe. In addition, the batter overflowed the pan while baking in the oven.

Can I double the recipe? Unfortunately, we have only tested the recipe as written. However, you should be able to double the recipe and use a 9-inch by 13-inch pan.

Can I use canned pineapple? We prefer fresh pineapple in this cake, but canned pineapple can be used. For the best results, use canned pineapple in light syrup. Heavier syrups make the pineapple sweeter, making the cake too sweet.

Fresh Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Fresh Pineapple Upside Down Cake

  • PREP
  • COOK

We love this easy pineapple upside-down cake! For the best results, use fresh pineapple. If you can only access canned pineapple, use pineapple in the lightest syrup you can find.

Why separate the eggs? We ask that you separate the eggs for this upside-down cake. The yolks are added during a different step than the whites. In fact, we gently beat the (unbeaten) egg whites at the end. We do this to achieve the best cake texture. This cake is moist, light, and airy.

Makes 1 (9-inch) cake, 8 slices

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need

8 ounces (225 grams) fresh pineapple, about 1/4 pineapple

12 tablespoons (170 grams) unsalted butter, softened (1 ½ sticks), divided

1/2 cup (100 grams) lightly packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar

2 teaspoons lime zest or lemon zest

2 large eggs, separated

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 ½ cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (125 grams) sour cream or plain yogurt


  • Make Batter
  • 1Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit.

    2Remove the ends and peel from the pineapple. Cut into four long wedges, and then cut away the core. Slice two of the wedges into 1/2-inch thick slices. You will need most of these for the cake. (Watch our video to see how we cut the pineapple.)

    3Spread four tablespoons of the butter over the bottom of an 8-inch or 9-inch cake pan (2-inches tall). Scatter the brown sugar and cinnamon evenly over the butter. Arrange the pineapple wedges in one even layer over the butter and sugar.

    4In a large bowl, beat the remaining eight tablespoons of butter, granulated sugar, and zest with an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and beat until smooth.

    5In another bowl, whisk or sift the flour with the baking powder and salt.

    6On low speed, mix half of the flour mixture into the butter and egg yolk mixture until only a few streaks of flour remain, then mix in the remaining flour.

    7Add the (unbeaten) egg whites and sour cream. Mix on low speed until blended.

  • To Finish
  • 1Spoon cake batter onto the pineapple in the pan and spread into an even layer. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

    2Cool the cake in the pan for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edges and invert it onto a plate to cool. If some pineapple slices stick to the pan, use a spatula to transfer them back on top of the cake and spread some gooey brown sugar sauce over them to cover it up.

    3Serve warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate the leftover cake for up to 3 days. You can also rewarm slices in the microwave for about 10 seconds.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Leftover Pineapple: Beyond enjoying juicy pineapple in fruit salads or alone, you can also broil slices or sear slices in a pan with some butter. Serve warm with a little whipped cream or ice cream.
  • Recipe adapted and inspired from Alice Medrich’s “Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts”
  • Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

Nutrition Per Serving Serving Size 1 slice / Calories 429 / Protein 5 g / Carbohydrate 56 g / Dietary Fiber 1 g / Total Sugars 37 g / Total Fat 22 g / Saturated Fat 13 g / Cholesterol 100 mg
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher

Recipe updated, originally posted June 2013. Since posting this in 2013, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear. – Adam and Joanne

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134 comments… Leave a Review
  • Judy February 14, 2024, 2:09 pm

    Followed this recipe to the letter except I did add some cherries. Fabulous cake..worth the extra effort!

    • Adam February 14, 2024, 2:15 pm

      Love the addition of cherries 🙂

  • Jennifer December 4, 2023, 9:15 am

    This recipe turned out a very delicious cake! I followed instructions as written with no changes, but I was unable to really follow the assmbly directions as I struggled with a very stiff batter. (I was hand mixing). I was fine through sugar, butter, egg yolks, vanilla. But when I went to do 1/2 the flour, the mixture was extraordinarily stiff and I got it in as best I could. Gave up becuase there was no way more dry ingredients were going to incorporate and added the yogurt at this point. Then added the other 1/2 flour, but it got too stiff again. Added the lightly beaten egg whites before the flour was completely incorporated. Once all the liquid was in, I gave it a good whisking just to make sure all lumps were out. It baked up beautifully and resulted in an excellent cake. I just really struggled with saving some of the liquid ingredients until the end.

  • Mari October 30, 2023, 10:38 pm

    So dense and moist! this cake made a splash at our gathering. I had to be proactive in order to get a piece for myself as people were taking seconds and fixing plates to take home.

  • Karina October 1, 2023, 8:30 pm

    I consider myself a terrible baker, but I keep trying! I made this cake today with pears and cardamom, instead of pineapple and cinnamon. It came out so good. Just as someone else commented, the cake was light and airy. Maybe something to do with separating the eggs? I didn’t beat the egg whites, it was the one thing I forgot. Thank you!

    • Niki November 8, 2023, 10:00 pm

      I LOVE the idea of pear and cardamom. Every time I taste cardamon l’m reminded of how much l like it but, it’s one of those spices l never seem to remember to use. Also, the egg whites in the recipe were UNbeaten. l double checked cos l was expecting to have to beat them too. My tip to improve baking is; Cooking is an art – therefore you can be freer with substitutions but, baking is a science – most of what happens is a chemical reaction between ingredients so, needs to be exact with measurements, times and temperatures. Hope that helps. 😊

  • Chuck Carroll July 21, 2023, 4:03 pm

    Nice recipe, Joanne — Thank God you left out the maraschino cherries 😉 Just a quick question. Can I cut larger slices of pineapple? You reco 1/2 inch — How about 3/4 inch or would that make it too moist? Thanks!

    • Joanne July 24, 2023, 2:44 pm

      Hi there, slightly larger would be fine. It’s really going to depend on how tall your cake pan is.

      • Marilyn Barquist August 8, 2023, 2:56 pm

        Wonderful recipe. So moist. I’m making it for my son’s birthday, I most always cook mine in my black iron skillet. Turns out so good. I do add the cherry s, sometimes pecans.

        • Joanne August 8, 2023, 3:41 pm

          Sounds great, Marilyn.

  • Liz June 2, 2023, 6:37 pm

    First time making pineapple upside down cake! Needed to revise recipe with gluten free flour and used honey instead of sugar. Nice tip on adding the unbeaten egg whites and yogurt as the last step. Will be using this method in all cake baking, thanks so much. Aloha from Hawaii

  • dale May 3, 2023, 3:55 pm

    I am not a fan of pineapple upside down cake but wanted to finish somme fresh pineapple..followed your recipe exactly and it is absolutely delicious! ..adding the cinnamon and lemon zest takes it over the top!!

  • Anne April 17, 2023, 12:45 am

    I made this cake for afternoon tea. It was light, tender and had a delicious flavour. This recipe is a keeper. Thanks for sharing.

  • Erin April 8, 2023, 2:50 pm

    Can it be made up and refrigerated but baked the next day?

    • Joanne April 13, 2023, 5:46 pm

      Hi Erin, It might* work, but I’ve not tried this myself.

    • Melissa August 19, 2023, 11:48 am

      It does NOT work to put together ahead and bake later. I had some competition for oven space and had to put aside, refrigerate for an hour and cook later. The pineapple starts to break down and the top of cake/bottom of pan becomes too soupy. With the extra liquid the top of cake doesn’t cook well and has no integrity. I love this recipe, thanks.

  • Allison February 25, 2023, 12:50 pm

    This is my go to recipe and I have made it at least 10 times – I follow it exactly and it’s anacing every time. Question – would it work with apples instead?

    • Joanne March 28, 2023, 6:54 pm

      Hi Allison, This is such wonderful news! Yes, apples would be lovely.

  • Sheila February 5, 2023, 12:43 am

    Hi pls can u tell me if its possible to prepare the cake in advance and then bake it later? Thank you x

    • Joanne March 28, 2023, 6:55 pm

      Hi Sheila, We’ve not tried this ourselves, so we can only recommend making the recipe as directed. That said, you might get away with it, especially if you are using double acting baking powder.

  • Shannon Murphy January 2, 2023, 9:58 pm

    This recipe is absolutely delicious!! I did not have a 9” cake pan so I used a casserole dish and it worked perfectly fine. It did take me 50 minutes in the oven and could have used an additional two minutes, but I pulled it at 50. Worth the effort of making it from scratch.

  • Audrey December 28, 2022, 4:44 pm

    Do you need to beat the egg whites before adding it to the mixture?

    • Joanne December 28, 2022, 4:49 pm

      Hi Audrey, You do not. In fact, we do our best to not over beat or mix the egg whites, which is why they are added last.

  • AB December 14, 2022, 6:14 am

    Can we skip sour cream? Or any alternative? Thanks

    • Joanne December 14, 2022, 3:12 pm

      Plain yogurt is an excellent substitute.

  • Sttracy November 30, 2022, 6:21 pm

    I had fresh ripe pineapple and found this recipe delicious wouldn’t change a thing


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