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My classic Pineapple Upside-Down Cake recipe is a retro dessert idea that’s a sweet option any time of year. Using fresh or canned fruit, the easy cake recipe calls for just 10 minutes of prep time.

Pineapple upside down cake on a platter.

Back in high school, when I first dipped my toe into baking, Pineapple Upside-Down Cake was the first cake recipe I mastered. I was lured in by the eye-catching appearance of the caramelized pineapple topping, the vibrant pops of cherry red, and the luscious layer of cake underneath, of course.

Lucky for me, the retro cake recipe is actually a breeze to make. The key: Starting with fruit that you’ve blotted dry so it doesn’t make the batter too runny. Even with that step, this quick and dessert calls for just 10 minutes of prep time.

You (and everyone you share this with) will flip over this Pineapple Upside-Down Cake recipe!

Table of Contents
  1. Recipe ingredients
  2. Ingredient and equipment notes
  3. Step by step instructions
  4. Recipe tips and variations
  5. Recipe FAQs
  6. Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Recipe

Recipe ingredients

Labeled ingredients for pineapple upside down cake.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

Ingredient and equipment notes

  • Cake pan: To prevent the cake from overflowing, choose a 9-inch round cake pan with sides that are at least 2 inches tall (with a volume of 8 cups). 
  • Brown sugar: Light or dark brown; either will do.
  • Pineapple: To substitute fresh pineapple rings for canned, you’ll need about 1 ½ pounds of fresh fruit.
  • Cherries: To substitute fresh cherries, it’s a one-for-one swap. Simply slice 10 fresh cherries them in half, remove the pit, and drain on paper towels to remove excess juice.

Step by step instructions

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. To the bottom of a 9-inch round by 2-inch tall cake pan, add 4 tablespoons butter.
A piece of butter in a cake pan.
  1. Place pan in preheated oven and heat butter until melted, about 2 to 4 minutes. Brush butter up sides of pan.
Melted butter being spread in a cake pan for pineapple upside down cake.
  1. Sprinkle brown sugar over the melted butter, then stir to combine. Pat brown sugar mixture into an even layer.
Topping for a pineapple upside down cake in a cake pan.
  1. Arrange pineapple slices in a single layer over brown sugar mixture. Add one cherry to the center of each pineapple ring. Add more cherries if desired (for decoration).
Pineapple and cherries in a cake pan.
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In an electric mixer on medium speed, or by hand using an electric mixer, cream together remaining 8 tablespoons of butter and granulated sugar until fluffy and light, about 3 to 6 minutes.
Pineapple upside down cake wet ingredients mixed next to dry ingredients.
  1. One at a time, beat in the eggs and egg white. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add ⅓ of the flour mixture and beat until incorporated. Add ½ milk and beat until incorporated. Repeat with ⅓ of dry mixture, then milk. Add remaining dry mixture and mix until incorporated (batter will be thick).
Pineapple upside down cake batter in a silver bowl.
  1. Pour batter over the pineapple and smooth top. Gently tap the pan on counter to remove any air bubbles and settle the batter.
Pineapple upside down cake before being baked.
  1. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with few, moist crumbs attached, about 45 to 50 minutes. Rotate pan halfway through to ensure even baking.
A pineapple upside down cake before being flipped over.
  1. Allow cake to cool in pan 10 minutes. Place a large plate or serving platter on top of cake pan, turn plate and pan over (careful; the pan will still be warm).
A round pan filled with pineapple upside down cake flipped upside down on a platter.
  1. Allow cake to release itself onto the platter, about 1 minute, without shaking or tapping the pan. Remove pan and allow cake to cool completely, about 2 hours.
Pineapple upside down cake on a platter.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This Pineapple Upside-Down Cake makes 8 generous slices (or more or less depending on the width of your wedges and your appetite level, of course!).
  • Storage: Cover extra Pineapple Upside-Down Cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
  • Make ahead: After baking, leave the cake in pan. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate; aim to enjoy within 4 days. When you’re ready to share the Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, reheat it in a 375-degree oven until warmed, about 4 minutes. Turn the cake over onto serving platter as directed in step 7 and serve.
  • Freezer: Allow the cake to cool completely, wrap it in plastic wrap, then store the tropical cake in an airtight freezer-safe container or zip-top bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature while still wrapped, about 1 hour, and reheat if desired (as explained above in the “make ahead” section) or enjoy as-is.
Pineapple upside down cake on a platter.

Recipe FAQs

How do I soften butter?

It’s important begin this Pineapple Upside-Down cake with softened butter so the fat creams beautifully into the batter.

Cold butter usually softens in about 30 minutes when left at room temperature; much longer if you start with frozen. To soften butter in the microwave, cut each stick of butter in half, unwrap, and place on a microwave safe plate. For this recipe, you’ll use three 4-tablespoon pieces. Cook the butter at 10% power for 1 minute. Gently press on the butter with your finger. If it still feels too firm, cook for another 40 seconds at 10% power.

Does egg temperature really matter when baking a cake?

Just like the better temperature, egg temp does make a difference. Room temperature eggs blend more evenly and easily into the batter, and help the cake itself rise better than if you opted for cold eggs. Chilled eggs tend to result in a lumpy batter and generally mean your bake time will need to be longer. (And who wants more time between them and their first slice of Pineapple Upside-Down Cake?)

To bring eggs to room temperature, place them out on the counter 1 to 2 hours before you plan to mix up this recipe. Or to speed up the process, fill a bowl with warm tap water, gently add the eggs, and within 5 minutes, the eggs should be ready.

How can I use the extra egg yolk?

Use it for an egg wash for pastry crusts or other baked goods, mix up a batch of mayonnaise, or whisk up some hollandaise sauce.

A slice of pineapple upside down cake on a plate.

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More retro desserts

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

My classic Pineapple Upside-Down Cake recipe is a retro dessert idea that's a sweet option any time of year. Using fresh or canned fruit, the easy cake recipe calls for just 10 minutes of prep time.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Cooling Time 2 hrs
Servings 8 servings
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 424

Ingredients 

  • 12 tablespoons butter cut into 12 pieces (1 tablespoon each), softened and divided (1 ½ sticks)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar packed
  • 20 ounces canned pineapple slices drained (about 10 slices, see note 2)
  • 10 maraschino cherries drained, plus more as desired, without stems (see note 3)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs room temperature
  • 1 egg white room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup milk

Instructions 

  • Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. To the bottom of a 9-inch round by 2-inch tall cake pan (see note 1), add 4 tablespoons butter.
  • Place pan in preheated oven and heat butter until melted, about 2 to 4 minutes. Brush butter up sides of pan.
  • Sprinkle brown sugar over the melted butter, then stir to combine. Pat brown sugar mixture into an even layer.
  • Arrange pineapple slices in a single layer over brown sugar mixture. Add one cherry to the center of each pineapple ring. Add more cherries if desired (for decoration).
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In an electric mixer on medium speed, or by hand using an electric mixer, cream together remaining 8 tablespoons of butter and granulated sugar until fluffy and light, about 3 to 6 minutes.
  • One at a time, beat in the eggs and egg white. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low.
  • Add ⅓ of the flour mixture and beat until incorporated. Add ½ milk and beat until incorporated. Repeat with ⅓ of dry mixture, then milk. Add remaining dry mixture and mix until incorporated (batter will be thick).
  • Pour batter over the pineapple and smooth top. Gently tap the pan on counter to remove any air bubbles and settle the batter.
  • Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with few, moist crumbs attached, about 45 to 50 minutes. Rotate pan halfway through to ensure even baking.
  • Allow cake to cool in pan 10 minutes. Place a large plate or serving platter on top of cake pan, turn plate and pan over (careful; the pan will still be warm). Allow cake to release itself onto the platter, about 1 minute, without shaking or tapping the pan. Remove pan and allow cake to cool completely, about 2 hours.

Notes

  1. Cake pan: To prevent the cake from overflowing, choose a 9-inch round cake pan with sides that are at least 2 inches tall (with a volume of 8 cups). 
  2. Brown sugar: Light or dark brown; either will do.
  3. Pineapple: To substitute fresh pineapple rings for canned, you’ll need about 1 ½ pounds of fresh fruit.
  4. Cherries: To substitute fresh cherries, it’s a one-for-one swap. Simply slice 10 fresh cherries them in half, remove the pit, and drain on paper towels to remove excess juice.
  5. Yield: This Pineapple Upside-Down Cake makes 8 generous slices (or more or less depending on the width of your wedges and your appetite level, of course!).
  6. Storage: Cover extra Pineapple Upside-Down Cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
  7. Make ahead: After baking, leave the cake in pan. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate; aim to enjoy within 4 days. When you’re ready to share the Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, reheat it in a 375-degree oven until warmed, about 4 minutes. Turn the cake over onto serving platter as directed in step 7 and serve.
  8. Freezer: Allow the cake to cool completely, wrap it in plastic wrap, then store the tropical cake in an airtight freezer-safe container or zip-top bag for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature while still wrapped, about 1 hour, and reheat if desired (as explained above in the “make ahead” section) or enjoy as-is.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 424kcalCarbohydrates: 60gProtein: 5gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 12gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 88mgSodium: 394mgPotassium: 98mgFiber: 1gSugar: 42gVitamin A: 611IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 92mgIron: 2mg
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Iā€™m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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Meggan Hill

Iā€™m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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