Best ever upside-down pineapple cake

Rating: 5.00
24 June 2022

If you love moist cakes and pineapple, this is the recipe for you. Upside-down pineapple cakes remind me of childhood days when retro dishes now were the norm. Think sausages on sticks and prawn cocktails in glasses. You couldn’t go to a family gathering and not see an upside pineapple cake dotted with bright red glace cherries on offer.

Where did it originate from?

Having grown up with this upside-down pineapple cake – I did assume it was of British origin. However, after doing some research I discovered that pineapple cake hails from across the pond in the USA. The recipe became popular in the early 1920s after the Dole pineapple company ran a competition for the best pineapple recipes and this was one of the winning entries.

Upside-down pineapple cake recipe

My updated version below is easy to make – I’ve done away with the cherries [not a big fan] and reduced the amount of buttery sugary caramel. It’s not too sweet and, I believe, strikes the right balance. Plus it has a lovely moist springy sponge. It really is perfect with a hot cup of tea – perhaps that’s the Brit in me…

upside down pineapple cake - Cook Simply

What ingredients do you need?

Not a lot – just your basic cake sponge ingredients and pineapple rings. I reckon you’ll have most in your store cupboards.

  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Caster sugar
  • Eggs
  • Brown sugar
  • Baking powder
  • Vanilla essence
  • Tinned pineapple rings
  • Milk

How do you make this upside-down pineapple cake

Firstly, I like to use a non-stick 24cm springform cake tin, but there have been times I’ve made this cake and not greased the tin properly and the sides have stuck! So make sure you grease the tin well, and this won’t happen. I also line the bottom of the tin with baking paper. 


You want to preheat the oven to around 180c (350F) and then melt together the brown sugar and 50g of butter. This will form a lovely runny caramel that you then pour into the bottom of the cake tin. Next, it’s time to add your pineapple rings. I like to put one in the centre, and then place the rest of them around the middle. 

Put the cake tin to one side as you make your cake batter. Using electric beaters or a cake mixer, cream the butter and caster sugar together until light and fluffy. Then add the beaten egg a little at a time, as you continue to whisk – and the vanilla essence. Next, fold in the flour and baking powder and combine well. If you think the batter needs loosening, then add the milk, too. 

Finally, spoon the cake batter over the pineapple rings, smooth evenly and then bake in the oven. Once cooked and cooled slightly, undo the sides of the cake tin, and getting a large plate, carefully invert the cake so the pineapple is now on the top. 

Top tip: Place the cake tin on a baking tray before baking in the oven. Sometimes, a small amount of caramel can leak out of the tin and you don’t want this to drip in your oven.

What to serve with it?

A slice of this cake is perfect on its own – and with a cup of tea. This cake is also wonderful with vanilla ice cream dolloped on the top, clotted, and whipped cream. Enjoy.

Will this upside-down pineapple cake keep?

Absolutely, put the cake in an airtight container and it should keep for 2-3 days. 

Fancy some other cake recipes?

Spiced apple cake
Nutella Banana bread
Lemon drizzle cake
upside down pineapple cake - Cook Simply

Best ever upside-down pineapple cake

5 from 8 votes
This retro cake is still a crowd-pleaser but there's no need for any fuss with this simple recipe which will give you a moist and fruity cake
Servings 8
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


  • 5 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 250 g of unsalted butter softened and divided
  • 2 cans of pineapple rings (435g tins) drained
  • 200 g of caster sugar
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 200 g of plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 2 tablespoons milk


  • Preheat the oven to 180c (300F)
  • Butter a 24cm springform cake tin and line the bottom with baking paper. This is the perfect size to fit the pineapple rings in neatly. If you don’t have as big a tin, you can cut the pineapple rings in half, and arrange them fanning out from the centre.
  • Mix the brown sugar and and 50g of butter in a small saucepan and melt. Combine well.
  • Spoon or pour the caramel into the base of the pan.
  • Arrange the pineapple slices over the caramel mixture and put it to one side.
  • Meanwhile, using an electric whisk, beat the remaining butter with the sugar until smooth, then beat in the eggs one at a time. You want to do this to avoid the eggs and batter curdling.
  • Fold in the flour, baking powder, and salt into the batter, then add the vanilla essence and milk and combine.
  • Spoon the batter over the pineapple rings and smooth down with a palette knife.
  • Bake the cake for around 35-40 minutes until it is golden in color and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  • Let the cake cool in the cake tin for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the sides of the springform cake time and carefully turn the cake onto a plate so the pineapple is now on top. You may need to gently peel off the baking paper.
  • Serve large slices of the cake, alongside some whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.


Calories: 473kcalFat: 24g
Author: cooksimply
Calories: 473kcal
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American, British

Did you follow this recipe?

If you made this cake, please leave me some star ratings and a comment below or tag @cooksimplyathome on Instagram. You can find other baking ideas here.

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