Easy recipe for Pineapple Upside Down Cake with a cake batter loaded with pineapple flavor features caramelized pineapples and cherries. It looks harder than it is! When making the best pineapple upside-down cake is this easy, we almost feel bad calling this a recipe! Almost!
We make ours in a 9 X 13 pan so that there is a higher caramelized pineapple and cherry topping to cake ratio.
This recipe can easily be made in two 8-inch round pans. If you want a thicker cake you could use a 9-inch round or square pan and fill that pan 2/3 full of cake batter.
For one round pan, reduce the sugar and butter by half. Even more, if you want a thinner topping. See the tips for success below.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- salted butter
- brown sugar
- pineapple slices
- white cake mix, can be substituted with yellow cake mix
- vegetable oil
- egg whites, can be substitued with whole eggs
- maraschino cherries, optional
FRESH PINEAPPLE OR CANNED PINEAPPLE
I prefer using canned pineapple because one of the ingredients for my cake is pineapple juice.
To use fresh pineapple, it will need to be peeled and cored then sliced into rings about 3/4-inch thick, about the same thickness as canned pineapple.
You’ll also need to source some juice.
CAN I USE PINEAPPLE THAT ISN’T CUT INTO RINGS?
Yep! Tidbits would be my second choice because they are really just pieces cut from pineapple rings. Pineapple chunks are a bit too big in my opinion. However, if you love pineapple go on and use them!
Crushed pineapple can also be used, just be sure to drain it well. Too much liquid will prevent the butter and brown sugar from caramelizing in the pan.
DO I HAVE TO START WITH A BOX MIX?
No, but I always do.
The box mix can be replaced with any white or yellow cake recipe you like and use pineapple juice for any liquid in the recipe. It just won’t be as easy.
- The butter and brown sugar in our recipe can be reduced by half for less of a topping. I don’t really recommend this.
- Spray the pan with a baking spray even though you are going to be melting the butter right in the pan.
- Do not allow the cake to cool for longer than 5 minutes before inverting or the caramelized topping may stick to the pan. If it does, all is not lost, gently remove any stuck fruit from the bottom of the pan and replace them on the top of the cake where they came from. Taking photos prior to inversion is not recommended! It takes too long!
- Invert the cake onto a sheet pan that has sides. Sometimes, the topping runs over the cake!
- Two 20-ounce cans of pineapple rings can be used to get more pineapple coverage. It will take about 1 1/2 cans of pineapple to completely cover a 9 X 13 cake. We don’t mind less pineapple because the cake is still pineapple flavored. Honestly, it’s me that doesn’t mind. I pick off the fruit anyway!
- Pineapple upside down cake can take longer to bake than a regular box cake mix because of the fruit and sugar in the bottom of the pan. It prevents the heat from reaching the bottom of the cale batter as quickly.
Pineapple Sticking to the Pan
If you have a couple of pineapples or cherries stick to the pan when you invert the cake, know that it does happen sometimes. It will be OK, just put the fruit back into place.
I have been making this cake for 30 years and it happened to me just the other day. Your guests won’t notice the difference and will ask you for your pineapple upside-down cake recipe.
No one will even notice that it happened. This is the same cake as the one shown earlier with the pineapple that fell off.
Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes
This recipe can be used to make cupcakes. You will need more pineapple though.
For pineapple rings, they may need to be cut down in size so they fit into the bottom of the pan. I find using pineapple tidbits works better.
Divide the butter evenly among the muffin tin holes. Melt the butter in the oven before dividing the brown sugar evenly over the holes. Top with the fruit. Divide the batter evenly and bake for 15 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
These will take longer than normal cupcakes to bake because the bottoms do not heat up as quickly due to the fruit.
If you only made one round or square smaller cake use the rest of the cake batter for pineapple upside-down cupcakes. Just divide the butter and brown sugar you didn’t use evenly among 6 to 8 muffin tins that have been liberally sprayed with baking spray. Top the brown sugar with additional pineapple and cherries. You may need to cut pineapple rings to fit. I use a cup or two of pineapple tidbits instead. These will take 15 to 25 minutes to bake.
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Easy Pineapple Upside Down Cake
- Preheat an oven to 350⁰F.
- Spray a 9 X 13 pan with baking spray.
- Place butter into the cake pan and place the pan into the preheating oven to melt the butter. Alternatively, you can melt the butter in another fashion and add to the bottom of the cake pan.
- Remove the pan when the butter has melted.
- Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the melted butter in the pan.
- Drain pineapple and reserve the pineapple juice from the can.
- Place the well drained pineapple evenly over the brown sugar mix.
- Remove stems from cherries, if any, and place a cherry into the center of each pineapple ring. More cherries can be added as desired.
- Prepare the cake mix replacing the water called for with pineapple juice. Most white box mixes call for 1/3 cup oil, 3 egg whites, and 1 cup of water – these are included in the ingredients above. If there is not enough pineapple juice from the can, add enough water to equal the amount called for on the box.
- Gently pour the batter over the pineapple and cherries in the pan and smooth the batter out.
- Place the cake into the preheated 350⁰F oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and cool cake for 4 to 5 minutes.
- Invert the cake onto a serving platter.
- If your cake mix doesn’t call for 1/3 cup oil, 1 cup of water, and 3 egg whites, replace those ingredients with whatever is called for on the box, replace whatever liquid is called for with pineapple juice. Do not use the box instructions and then add the additional ingredients.
- Use only well-drained pineapple and cherries.
- When using unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt to the crust.
- Margarine can be used as a substitute for butter.
- The butter and brown sugar can be reduced by half for less of a topping.
- Spray the pan with baking spray even though you are going to be melting the butter right in the pan.
- Do not allow the cake to cool for longer than 5 minutes before inverting or the caramelized topping may stick to the pan.
- Stuck fruit can be removed from the bottom of the pan and placed onto the inverted cake.
- Invert the cake onto a sheet pan that has sides.
- Two 20-ounce cans of pineapple rings can be used to get more pineapple coverage.
- Use the ingredients listed on the cake mix box, replacing pineapple juice for the water.
- The cake can be served will still warm or at room temperature.
- The cake can be stored covered at room temperature.