This soft and buttery homemade pineapple upside down cake is a classic recipe beloved by all! The caramelized pineapple blankets the buttery vanilla cake with so much flavor that you don’t even need icing! Made with canned pineapple, jarred cherries, and a from-scratch cake.
Pineapple upside down cake is such a classic dessert – some may even say it’s retro – that can be enjoyed year-round! It looks elaborately decorated with caramelized pineapple and cherries, but it’s so easy to make! You can also customize it to your preferences (if you don’t like pineapple, no problem!).
The simple vanilla cake is almost like a pound cake in its texture because it’s so moist and slightly dense. The pineapple topping gets all caramelized and happy from baking in that luscious bath of butter and brown sugar, seeping into the cake! The cherries also add a nice burst of color and flavor, but you don’t have to use them.
Serve a slice of this classic cake with a dollop of freshly whipped cream or all on its own! With all that flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture, it can certainly stand on its own.
Why You’ll Love This Homemade Pineapple Upside Down Cake
- So easy to make! This is a great beginner’s cake that is quick and simple to make yet looks so impressive!
- Nostalgic desserts are great for serving guests because they bring back memories and great conversation!
- It’s beautiful to look at and does not require fancy frosting skills.
Ingredients to Make The Best Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Butter + Brown Sugar – These two ingredients make the pineapple a deliciously caramelized topping.
Canned Pineapple – Use sliced canned pineapple, preferably in juice – not syrup. Drain and pat the pineapples dry. You can use the leftover juice to infuse the cake with extra pineapple flavor or use it in cocktails, in a simple syrup, etc.
Maraschino Cherries – Cherries are optional, but I think they add a fun extra burst of flavor and color to the cake.
How To Make Upside Down Cake
This is just a quick overview of the method for this pineapple upside-down cake. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.
STEP 1: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Melt a third cup of butter and pour it into the bottom of a 9-inch baking pan.
Note: You can use a round or square pan or even a cast iron skillet!
Sprinkle brown sugar over the melted butter, and then arrange the pineapple in a pattern of your choosing over the brown sugar and butter. Place cherries throughout the pineapples.
STEP 2: In a large bowl, beat the remaining butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Mix in the vanilla.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add ⅓ of the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, mixing just until combined. Add ⅓ of the buttermilk, mixing just until combined. Repeat 2 more times. Pour over the arranged fruit.
STEP 3: Bake the cake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Allow it to cool, and then serve it slightly warm. Top it with whipped cream, if desired.
To reduce any sogginess, fully drain the pineapples and cherries of their juices and pat them dry. You can even let them rest on a paper towel for 30 minutes before making your cake to ensure they dry even further.
You don’t have to use parchment paper when making this cake. The first thing you do in making a pineapple upside-down cake is pour melted butter into the pan, so when you flip it, the cake comes out pretty easily. However, if you want to reduce cleanup and ensure the cake slides right out, grease your pan and then add a layer of parchment before you pour in the butter and lay down your pineapples and cherries.
You don’t have to use maraschino cherries in pineapple upside-down cake. If you’d like to replace them with something, a nice alternative would be nuts, strawberries, or blueberries.
To store your pineapple upside down cake, allow it to cool completely and then store it in the fridge in an airtight container for about 5 days.
Variations and Substitutions
- Infuse the batter with a little bit of pineapple juice
- Add pecans or other nuts to the topping for a little bit of crunch. They’ll get nice and caramelized, too!
- Make it a different kind of fruit upside-down cake. I’ve made a peach upside-down cake before, but you could also experiment with sliced pear, apple, strawberries, or blueberries.
- Add green candied cherries for more color and variety. The red and green could make it a lovely Christmas cake!
More Cake Recipes To Try
- Strawberry Shortcake
- Tres Leches Cake
- Lemon Blueberry Coffee Cake
- Lemon Blueberry Poke Cake
- Blueberry Buckle
Pineapple Upside Down Cake Recipe
- ⅔ cup (152g) butter; divided
- ⅔ cup (130g) packed brown sugar
- 1 (20 oz) (567g) can sliced pineapple, drained
- 1 (10 oz) (283g) maraschino cherries
- ⅓ cup (70g) sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1½ cups (205g) all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup (175ml) buttermilk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt ⅓ cup butter and pour into the bottom of a 9-inch baking pan. (you can use a round, square, or even a cast iron skillet) Sprinkle brown sugar over the melted butter. Blot the fruit dry with a paper towel then arrange the pineapple in a pattern of your choosing and place cherries throughout.
- In a large bowl, beat the remaining butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time mixing well after each. Mix in the vanilla.
- In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add ⅓ of the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, mixing just until combined. Add ⅓ of the buttermilk, mixing just until combined. Repeat 2 more times. Pour over arranged fruit.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of the cake comes out clean or with very few crumbs. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes then invert onto a serving platter. Allow to cool before serving.
- STORAGE: To store your pineapple upside-down cake, allow it to cool completely, and then store it in the fridge in an airtight container for about 5 days.
- NUTRITION FACTS: Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the information shown is just an estimate. This website is not intended as nutritional advice, or a diet or health plan. Readers of this website are ultimately responsible for all decisions pertaining to their health.