Pineapple Upside Down Cake

DessertBakingPineappleUpside Down Cake

BEST pineapple upside down cake recipe EVER! Caramel topping with pineapple rounds over a dense cake with almond flour.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

A Family Favorite: Pineapple Upside Down Cake

The single most requested cake at our family and friend gatherings is my father’s homemade pineapple upside down cake. It is the best pineapple upside down cake recipe, hands down. He’ll look for almost any excuse to make it, and we never get tired of it.

This pineapple upside down cake is dense, like a sour cream pound cake, with ground almonds in the flour to give it even more substance and a slight almond flavor. The caramel pineapple topping is so good, you’ll want to pick every crumb.

Pineapple upside down cake with thinly sliced pineapple and caramel drizzled on top

There are a couple of ways to do the topping. The easiest way is by melting brown sugar and butter. My father will also often make a caramel base from caramelizing white sugar (instructions at the end of the recipe for this alternative).

Pineapple Upside Down Cake Recipe

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  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 12 to 14 servings

If you don't have a high-sided 10-inch cake pan, you might try making this in a springform pan. Line the inside with foil so the caramel doesn't leak, and bake on a rimmed baking sheet just in case it does.

Ingredients

Topping:*

  • 1 cup of firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 can (20 oz) of pineapple slices

Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 6 Tbsp cake flour
  • 6 Tbsp of ground almonds (from about 2 oz of whole almonds)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup sour cream

Method

1 Make caramel topping: Heat brown sugar and butter in a medium sized saucepan on medium heat until sugar dissolves and the mixture is bubbly,  several minutes. (After sugar melts, don't stir.)

2 Pour into pan, top with pineapple slices: Generously grease (with butter or cooking spray) a 10-inch diameter stick-free cake pan with 2-inch high sides.

Pour the mixture into the pan.

Arrange pineapple slices in a single layer on top of the caramel mixture.

Pouring caramel into pan for pineapple upside down cake Pineapples and caramel in pan for homemade pineapple upside down cake

3 Preheat oven to 325° F.

4 Make cake batter: Whisk the flours, ground almonds, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl.

In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the sugar and butter together until light. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.

Add dry ingredients alternately with sour cream in 2 additions each, beating well after each addition.

5 Pour cake batter over caramel and pineapple in pan.

6 Bake the cake at 325°F until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes.

7 Turn out cake: Cool cake in pan on a rack for 5 minutes. Turn cake out onto a platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.

* Note an alternative topping: 2 cups granulated sugar, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup butter. Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Heat on medium until all sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to medium high and bring to a boil. Boil until syrup becomes warm amber in color (about 10 minutes). Add 1/4 cup butter, carefully as it will foam up a bit. Swirl the pan so that the butter is all incorporated, stirring with a wooden spoon if necessary. Remove from heat and pour out into cake pan. Continue with recipe as noted.

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Links:

History of Pineapple Upside Down Cake from Tori Avey

Pineapple Upside Down Cake with topped with pineapple and caramel glaze

If you make this recipe, snap a pic and hashtag it #simplyrecipes — We love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter!

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

245 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • Amy S

    This is a seriously divine cake. So many of the upside down recipes available out there are the boring “use a cake mix” as a base format. I love this one from scratch, start to finish. It’s a very rich rendition with tons of butter, copious amounts of sugar and the sour cream (think: special occasions, moderation). The addition of cake flour and almond flour (ground almonds) makes it extra moist. I had Italian chestnut flour on hand and it was a perfect substitute for the almonds. The only other changes I made were to use my 10″ skillet that I greased with extra virgin coconut oil and I added some tart cherries from my tree. Oh my gosh – it was perfect. And it came out of the skillet just fine with no major mess. Love it!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Rachel

    I have made this recipe so many times and everyone always raves about it. The cake is perfect and the caramel layer is insanely good. Any time I bring this somewhere, it always gets raves and always gets eaten. :)

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Mary Anne

    I’ve made this probably 50 times since 2010. A belated thank you for this wonderful recipe. When my stepfather was dying this is the only thing he would eat, so I was making 3 per week. It brought him a lot of joy during a very difficult time.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Robert

    Hi, what is cake flour? And how important is it vs. regular flour? I don’t want to buy too much stuff if it’s not critical. I’m just a guy, not a baker, help me out, please.

  • Nancy

    I just made this cake with fresh pineapple chunks and it is the most delicious Upside Down Cake I have ever made! The cake is moist and flavorful and the brown sugar and butter caramel is just the right sweetness to enhance the juicy pineapple chunks! I was worried when I first turned it over and it was kind of runny in the middle of the caramel, so I poked the cake with a skewer hoping that all that goodness would just soak through to the cake like a poke cake. Not to worry though, the caramel firmed up as it cooled and it really is so delectable and yummy and perfect!! This is the cake I imagine when I think of really good Pineapple Upside Down Cake!!

    xxxxxyyyyy

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