Fresh Pineapple Upside Down Cake

We love this pineapple upside down cake! The gooey brown sugar and pineapple topping is simply irresistible. The cake itself is incredibly moist and tender, and the best part is that it’s so easy to make!

Pineapple Upside Down Cake Recipe Video

The simple cake batter is flavored with vanilla and lime, giving it a lovely tropical flavor that works so well with the fresh pineapple and brown sugar.

I love this pineapple cake so much and cannot wait for you to try it! For more cake recipes with fruit added to the batter, see our fresh strawberry cake or this lemon blueberry cake!

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Key Ingredients

  • Pineapple: For the best flavor, I love using fresh pineapple. It’s lighter and more tart than canned pineapple. If you don’t have any fresh pineapple, canned slices packed in water or light syrup work too!
  • Butter: I use butter in two ways in this recipe. First, I spread it on the cake pan, then sprinkle brown sugar over it before adding the pineapple. This creates a delicious caramel-like topping that’s nice and gooey when you turn the cake upside down for serving. I also use butter in the cake batter to make it rich and flavorful.
  • Sugar: I use brown sugar for the topping and granulated sugar for the cake batter.
  • Eggs: To get the perfect texture, I separate the eggs. The yolks are beaten into the butter and sugar, while the egg whites are gently mixed in at the end. I’ve tried making this cake with whole eggs like in other cake recipes, but the batter rises too much and overflows the pan. By gently stirring in the egg whites (unbeaten), we limit the air in the batter and prevent it from overflowing in the oven.
  • Baking Powder: This helps the cake rise.
  • Flour: I use all-purpose flour, but you can substitute a 1:1 gluten-free all-purpose flour blend if needed.
  • Sour Cream: This helps to make our upside down cake tender and moist. Plain yogurt works well if you don’t have sour cream.
  • Spices: I use a combination of cinnamon, lime zest, vanilla, and salt. The cinnamon isn’t traditional, but it adds a lovely warmth to the cake.

How to Make Pineapple Upside Down Cake

First, you’ll make the brown sugar topping. Grab your cake pan and spread softened butter all over the bottom. Scatter over brown sugar and cinnamon, then place pineapple slices on top.

As the cake bakes, the pineapple releases some of its juices and sweetness, which runs out into the brown sugar topping. Once the cake bakes and you turn it upside down onto a plate, you’ll have a delicious, gooey brown sugar topping.

How to Make Pineapple Upside Down Cake - A layer of fresh pineapple on the bottom of the cake pan.

I use my hand-held mixer for the cake batter, but a stand mixer works, too. I beat butter, sugar, and lime zest until light and fluffy, then add vanilla and egg yolks (saving the whites for later). I then add the flour, baking powder, and salt. I finish by mixing in the sour cream and (unbeaten) egg whites.

How to Make Pineapple Upside Down Cake - Spreading the cake batter over the pineapple.

From there, I spoon the batter into the cake pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. I allow the cake to cool for a few minutes in the pan and then invert it upside down onto a serving platter (watch me do this in our video).

The pineapple slices are soft and sweet, the brown sugar gooey topping tastes incredible, and the cake is moist and tender. So good!

Fresh Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Fresh Pineapple Upside Down Cake

  • PREP
  • COOK
  • TOTAL

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

We ask that you separate the eggs for this upside down cake. You will beat the yolks with the butter and sugar, then gently mix the unbeaten egg whites into the batter at the end. This creates a more tender, moist cake while preventing too much air from being incorporated into the batter, which can cause it to overflow when baking in the oven.

Makes 1 (9-inch) cake, 8 slices

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need

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

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

1/2 cup (100g) brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup (200g) granulated sugar

2 teaspoons lime zest or lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs, separated

1 ½ cups (195g) all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

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

Directions

  • Make Batter
  • 1Position an oven rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).

    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 that is at least 2 inches tall.

    4Scatter the brown sugar and cinnamon evenly over the butter.

    5Arrange the pineapple wedges in one even layer over the butter and sugar.

    6In 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.

    7Add the egg yolks and vanilla and beat until smooth.

    8In another bowl, whisk or sift the flour with the baking powder and salt.

    9On 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.

    10Add the (unbeaten) egg whites and sour cream. Mix on low speed until blended.

    11Spoon the cake batter onto the pineapple in the pan and spread into an even layer.

    12Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.

    13Cool 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. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Storing: You can refrigerate the leftover cake for up to 3 days. Freeze it, wrapped well in foil, for up to 1 month. Thaw it overnight in the fridge. You can rewarm slices in the microwave for about 10 seconds.
  • 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. I also love making this pineapple avocado salsa!
  • Recipe adapted and inspired from Alice Medrich’s “Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts”
  • The nutrition facts provided below are estimates.
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
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154 comments… Leave a Review
  • Connie June 19, 2024, 9:48 pm

    O.M.G.!! This turned out just beautiful on the outside and so moist on the inside. I was hoping to share a pic. I used a deep dish pie plate and it came out beautifully. I will definitely be making it again and sharing this recipe too. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Adam June 20, 2024, 4:49 pm

      Wonderful! We are glad you loved your cake 🙂

      Reply
  • LAURENS KOONCE April 14, 2024, 12:27 pm

    I made this pineapple upside down cake yesterday and it was the most beautiful and delicious cake I ve made. Thanks for the recipe.

    Reply
    • Joanne April 14, 2024, 4:24 pm

      Oh wow, what a compliment! I’m so happy you gave the recipe a try.

      Reply
  • Kathie Vidmar April 9, 2024, 10:19 pm

    Oh my Goodness!! We had company and they said it was the best pineapple upside down cake they had ever eaten!!!!

    Reply
  • Maureen April 9, 2024, 6:09 pm

    The best recipe! I put the butter on the bottom as directed then used the rest as coconut oil (not the liquid) in the batter. I also didn’t measure out the pineapple. Chopped fresh pineapple to cover the bottom. Cooked it 50 minutes. Came out of the pan perfect.

    Reply
  • Anthony Julian April 3, 2024, 7:40 pm

    I didn’t have any citrus handy, but followed the recipe (using yogurt). Delicious!

    Reply
    • Joanne June 11, 2024, 2:31 pm

      Hi Anthony, I am so happy the yogurt worked well for you! Thank you for coming back and letting us know.

      Reply
  • Jackie March 26, 2024, 10:55 pm

    Fantastic easy recipe for pineapple upside-down. This is the first time I ever made this without a box cake and now I will never go back. Moist, rich and so good. I used canned pineapple and cherries rather than fresh pineapple since getting fresh pineapple in rural America is a joke. Everyone loved it especially the birthday boy.

    Reply
    • Adam March 27, 2024, 12:48 pm

      Hi Jackie, the birthday boy’s review has pretty much made our day 🙂

      Reply
  • Alie Kennedy March 8, 2024, 4:55 pm

    I’ve made this cake a number of times and it’s a family favorite. I’ve made it both in a square 8×8 pan and 9″ springform. In my experience the springform is a better choice because the pineapple doesn’t fall off when you release it. All ovens are different, but I’m quite sure that mine is temperature accurate because I use a thermometer in it on a regular basis and I’ve found that an extra 5 minutes baking time is worth the wait. I’ve also made this cake as written and with both fresh and still frozen cherries; all options are good. Do take the time to separate the eggs and add the whites in as the absolute final ingredient, and then only let them mixer spin a few times to incorporate them. Don’t skip the cinnamon. Fabulous cake.

    Reply
  • Kathyd March 2, 2024, 4:16 pm

    Can this be baked and then frozen?

    Reply
    • Joanne June 11, 2024, 2:34 pm

      Hi there, You can freeze this cake. Wrap well in foil and freeze for a month. Thaw overnight in the fridge.

      Reply
  • 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!

    Reply
    • Adam February 14, 2024, 2:15 pm

      Love the addition of cherries 🙂

      Reply
  • Janet February 1, 2024, 9:32 am

    Looks wonderful! Will be making for company next weekend. Can this be frozen after it’s baked?

    Reply
    • Joanne June 11, 2024, 2:33 pm

      Hi Janet, You can freeze this cake. Wrap well in foil and freeze for a month. Thaw overnight in the fridge.

      Reply

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