Fresh Pineapple Upside Down Cake
A lovely pineapple upside-down cake recipe that’s extremely simple to make. We love this vanilla cake topped with fresh pineapple baked in brown sugar and butter. Jump to the Fresh Pineapple Upside Down Cake Recipe or read on to see our tips for making it.
Use Fresh Pineapple for the Best Pineapple Cake
The batter is lightly scented with vanilla and citrus. The gooey topping is made of butter, brown sugar, warm cinnamon, and fresh pineapple. Simple and delicious! We absolutely love serving this cake warm with a little whipped cream, but ice cream would be just as delicious. Think of this as a “modernized” version of classic pineapple upside-down cake.
There’s no caramel on top, instead this cake has a moist, delicious, and gooey topping. The cake itself is also a little more airy than the classic.
As the cake bakes, the pineapple releases some of it’s juices and sweetness which runs out into the brown sugar topping. So when we can, we use fresh pineapple, which is a little lighter in flavor than canned.
If you’re in a pinch, canned pineapple will work, just be sure to use pineapple in the lightest syrup you can find. Otherwise, we have found the cake becomes too sweet for our taste.
After serving this to a few friends we were asked where the cherries were (something commonly added to pineapple cakes). For us, we’re happy to skip them, but if an upside-down pineapple cake seems naked without them, add them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why separate the eggs? The recipe asks that you separate the eggs, and then add the yolks at a different time as the whites. This method produces the best cake texture.
For this recipe, you do not need to whip the egg whites (a common technique when separating eggs for use in light and airy cakes.) Instead, we are going out of our way not to whip the whites, which is why they are added at the end. We have tried this recipe using whole eggs and found it to be inferior (the batter also overflowed the cake pan).
Can I double the recipe? 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 a light syrup. Heavier syrups make the pineapple sweeter, which will then make the cake too sweet.
- This cake recipe calls for a 1/4 of a pineapple, this Spicy Avocado Pineapple Salsa would be perfect for using up the rest.
- This Incredibly Moist Carrot Cake with an ultra-creamy cream cheese frosting is a must make!
Recipe updated, originally posted June 2013. Since posting this in 2013, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear. – Adam and Joanne
Fresh Pineapple Upside Down Cake
We love this simple pineapple upside down cake! For the best results, use fresh pineapple. If you only have access to canned pineapple, use pineapple in the lightest syrup you can find. Otherwise, we have found the cake becomes too sweet for our taste.
Why separate the eggs? The recipe asks that you separate the eggs, and then add the yolks at a different time as the whites. This method produces the best cake texture. For this recipe, you do not need to whip the egg whites (a common technique when separating eggs for use in light and airy cakes.) Instead, we are going out of our way not to whip the whites, which is why they are added at the end. We have tried this recipe using whole eggs and found it to be inferior (the batter also overflowed the cake pan).
You Will Need
12 tablespoons (170 grams) unsalted butter, softened (1 1/2 sticks)
1/2 cup (100 grams) lightly packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons lime or lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 ounces (225 grams) fresh pineapple, cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges (about 1/4 pineapple)
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (125 grams) sour cream or plain yogurt
- Make Batter
- To Finish
Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Using the back of a spoon, spread 4 tablespoons of the butter over the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan. Scatter the brown sugar and cinnamon evenly over butter. Arrange the pineapple wedges in one even layer over the butter and sugar.
In a large bowl, beat the remaining 8 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.
In a medium bowl, whisk or sift the flour with the baking powder and salt. Mix in a third of the flour mixture until only a few streaks of flour remain then mix in the remaining flour. Add the egg whites and sour cream and mix just until smooth.
Spoon cake batter on top of the pineapple 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.
Cool 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 a little of the gooey brown sugar sauce over them to cover it up.
Serve warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate leftover cake 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.