Skip to content

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

This easy pineapple upside down cake is made with a moist, buttery vanilla cake base adorned by a caramelized pineapple topping dotted with maraschino cherries. It’s a classic recipe with melt-in-your-mouth results.

Other classic cake recipes we love include angel food cake, homemade pound cake and lemon poke cake!

Pineapple upside down cake on white platter.
This post may contain affiliate links. Read disclosure policy.

Best Pineapple Upside Down Cake

When it comes to dessert recipes, it’s way too difficult for me to pick favorites, but I can say that I’ve never met a pineapple dessert that I didn’t like! Give me grilled pineapple, or pineapple fluff dessert all day long and I’m happy!

This recipe for easy pineapple upside down cake is a classic and it’s no surprise that this traditional dessert has been around for such a long time! The soft vanilla cake base has the best buttery crumb that is topped with a brown sugar sweetened pineapple topping!

Why This Recipe Works

  • A classic dessert. With it’s baked pineapple slices and maraschino cherries, this traditional dessert may be one you remember grandma always bringing to a potluck!
  • Easy and unique. Once it bakes, you invert the pineapple upside-down cake onto a plate to reveal a layer of caramelized fruit on the top. It’s impressive, yet easy to make!

Recipe Ingredients

This best pineapple upside down cake uses basic pantry staples! No fussy or hard to find ingredients make this cake easy to whip up.

Pineapple upside down cake ingredients on counter.

Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.

  • Pineapple: I use canned pineapple slices because it’s the easiest. Make sure to drain the pineapple juice and blot the slices dry before adding them to your pan.
  • Maraschino cherries: These are sweet cherries that are preserved in syrup. Their bright red color pops in this cake! You’ll usually find them in jars in the baking aisle.
  • For the cake: This is a classic vanilla cake that uses all of the usual ingredients like flour, baking powder, white and light brown sugar, and butter. Feel free to substitute my homemade vanilla cake mix to replace the dry ingredients.
  • Buttermilk: I use buttermilk in the cake batter which gives it a light and tender crumb. You can buy it in the dairy aisle of your grocery store, or make buttermilk at home.
  • Vanilla extract: I keep it simple and use my favorite vanilla extract.

Substitutions and Variations

The great thing about this recipe is that you can swap out the fruit or even serve it how you like!

  • Type of pineapple: Fresh pineapple slices work, just ensure they are cut thin enough to they cook up tender and at the same time as the cake bakes.
  • Peach: Use fresh or canned sliced peaches for the decorative fruit layer. Canned cherries would also be delicious!
  • Make mini cakes. Use miniature individual cake pans for mini pineapple upside-down cakes.
  • Warm spice: Sprinkle some cinnamon on top of the pineapple before baking.
  • Caramel. You can also drizzle over some store-bought or homemade caramel sauce for a sweet treat.

How to Make Pineapple Upside Down Cake

This recipe is super easy and the result looks so beautiful. Your friends and family will be so impressed!

Showing how to make pineapple upside down cake in a 6 step collage.
  • Prepare the cake pan. Spray your pan with non-stick cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper to ensure that the topping doesn’t stick to the bottom.
  • Prepare topping. Pour the melted butter into the bottom of the pan then sprinkle over the brown sugar. Place the pineapple rings attractively into the pan, also placing 6 pineapple halves upright around the sides of the pan. Put a cherry into the middle of each pineapple ring. 
  • Combine dry ingredients. Stir the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl.
  • Combine wet ingredients. Whisk butter and sugars together in a large bowl then add the eggs and vanilla. Continue to whisk until smooth.
  • Make batter. Add 1/3 flour mixture to the wet ingredients, then half of the buttermilk. Repeat the steps until everything has been added. Continue to whisk after each addition. Pour the batter over the pineapple and spread it so it’s even.
  • Bake. The cake will bake for 45 – 50 minutes. Use foil to tent the cake halfway through the baking time so it doesn’t over-brown. Let the cake rest for at least 10 minutes before placing a serving platter over the top of the cake and carefully flipping it upside down. Remove the parchment and let cool completely before serving.

Expert Tips

  • Blot the pineapple rings of excess juice before placing them into the bottom of the pan. This helps prevent the cake from being too soggy on top.
  • Arrange the pineapples carefully into the bottom of the pan. Remember that what you see at the bottom of the pan is what will be the top of your cake, so you want it to look pretty.
  • Let the classic pineapple upside-down cake sit for 10 minutes before releasing it from the pan. If you try to release it too soon, it may fall apart.
  • Serve the cake warm with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of my homemade vanilla ice cream.
Pineapple upside down cake on white plate.

Recipe FAQs

How do I prevent the cake from sticking to the pan?

The buttery coating should prevent the pineapple topping from sticking, but to ensure that it doesn’t stick, before inverting the cake, run a knife along the edges of the pan. If some fruit does stick to the pan just gently pry it loose and place it back on top of the cake.

How to flip the cake?

Allow your cake to cook for at least 10 minutes, then run a knife along the edges of the pan. Next, place a large plate or cake platter over the pan so that the plate is facing the cake. Quickly flip everything over so that the bottom of the cake is facing upwards. Set your plate on the counter and gently remove the cake pan.

Can I bake this in a cast iron pan?

Yes! Baking it in a cast iron pan creates the best crusty, caramelized topping. Cast iron retains heat and often cooks fast, so most likely your baking time will decrease.

How do I know when pineapple upside down cake is done?

The easiest way to check for doneness is to stick a toothpick into the middle of the cake and pull it out again. If it comes out clean, your cake is done!


Refrigerator: Store any leftover cake in the refrigerator in an airtight container. You can keep it this way for up to 3 days. 

Freezing: The best way to freeze leftovers is to cut it into individual slices and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap. Wrapping them again in aluminum foil is a great way to prevent freezer burn. Keep slices frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Slice of Pineapple upside down cake on a white plate.

More must-try classic dessert recipes include these blueberry buttermilk cake, lemon blueberry cupcakes, chocolate bundt cake a classic banana split.

More Delicious Pineapple Recipes

HUNGRY FOR MORE? Subscribe to my newsletter and follow on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for all the newest recipes!

Pineapple upside down cake on white platter.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake Recipe

5 from 8 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
This easy pineapple upside down cake is made with a moist, buttery vanilla cake base adorned by a caramelized pineapple topping dotted with maraschino cherries. It's a classic!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Cool Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings: 8




  • 10 pineapple slices , patted dry with a paper towel
  • 7 maraschino cherries , patted dry with a paper towel
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter , melted
  • cup light brown sugar


  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter , melted
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs , at room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • cup buttermilk


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch cake pan that is at least 2 inches deep (or a deep pie dish) with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper to avoid the cake sticking.


  • Cut 3 pineapple slices in half. In the bottom of the cake pan, pour the melted butter, tilting to coat the bottom. Sprinkle evenly with the brown sugar. Arrange the blotted whole pineapple slices over the brown sugar and place the blotted pineapple halves upright evenly around the sides of the pan. Add 1 cherry to the center of each pineapple slice.


  • In a small bowl, stir the flour, baking powder, and salt until combined.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until well combined. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla until smooth.
  • Mix in 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by 1/2 of the buttermilk. Repeat with remaining ingredients, mixing well after each addition. Pour the batter evenly over the top of the pineapples. It's ok if some of the pineapples on the edge are still visible.
  • Bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Tent the cake with foil halfway through bake time to prevent the top from getting too brown before the center has a chance to fully cook. Some cake may stick to the foil, but don't worry it won't show.
  • Let cool at least 10 minutes in the pan. Run a knife around the edges of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Place a serving platter over the top of the cake and carefully flip it upside down. Remove the parchment and let cool completely.


Storage: Store in an airtight container up to 3 days.
Freeze: Wrap individual slices in plastic wrap and freeze up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature, unwrapped, before serving.


Calories: 557kcal | Carbohydrates: 85g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 79mg | Sodium: 120mg | Potassium: 292mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 49g | Vitamin A: 493IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 102mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

Let’s connect

Join our community of over 5 million!

Featured on

  • Taste of Home
  • Martha Stewart
  • Country Living
  • BuzzFeed
  • Yahoo
  • Food Network
  • Today