Classic Pineapple Upside-Down Cake: the retro recipe for a delicious, impressive dessert

Total time: 50 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 9 people
By Cookist

Classic Pineapple Upside-Down Cake is a retro American dessert recipe from the 1960s with an impressive look and a delicious flavor. This beautiful cake is covered with a caramelized brown sugar topping, zippy canned pineapple slices, and bright maraschino cherries.

For the upside-down effect, simply assemble and bake the fruit layer on the bottom of a baking dish, then flip it upside down and serve. Fruity, caramelly and buttery, this pineapple upside-down cake is tender, moist on the inside and beautifully caramelized on the edges. It's perfect for tea time with friends, it is also an ideal snack for kids any time of the year.

Ingredients for Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

This recipe has one set of ingredients for the cake and another for the fruity filling.

Pineapple Filling Ingredients

You’ll start this recipe by making the sweet and jammy cake filling in the bottom of the cake pan. For this, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • Canned Pineapple Slices, which are sweet canned pineapple rings in syrup. Reserve the syrup for the cake batter.
  • Melted unsweetened butter, which cooks the pineapple and allows it to caramelize in the oven.
  • Brown sugar, for another layer of caramelized flavor.
  • Chopped pecans, a classic Southern American ingredient that adds richness and a bit of a crunch to this cake.

Cake Batter Ingredients

For the cake itself, you’ll need a few pantry staples, like:

  • Eggs, which you’ll separate into whites and yolks to make a light and airy separated sponge cake.
  • White sugar, for a bit more sweetness in this dessert.
  • Vanilla extract, to add a warming note.
  • All-purpose flour, which forms the bulk of this classic cake batterBaking soda, for leavening the cake.
  • Salt, to enhance the other sweet flavors.
  • Maraschino cherries, which add a bright red pop of color to the beautiful pineapple pattern on the top of the cake.

How to make Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Making a pineapple upside-down cake is easier than you may think. Start with the topping by adding melted butter to the bottom, brown sugar until melted, then place pineapple slices on top and add pecans.
In a bowl, beat the yolks and add the sugar, pineapple juice set aside and vanilla. Gradually combine the dry ingredients, stir and pour in the beaten egg whites. Stir the mixture and pour over the fruit and pecan layer.

Bake at 375°F for about 30-35 minutes and let cool inside baking dish for 10 minutes. At this point gently invert the cake onto a large plate and decorate with the maraschino cherries.

Tips for making Easy Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

To prevent a soggy pineapple upside-down cake, blot the excess liquid from pineapples.

The recipe calls for canned pineapples, but you can also use fresh pineapple. Just cut the pineapple into ¼-inch thick rings

Be sure to use a 9×9 inch cake pan for this recipe, as any smaller or larger won’t fit the batter properly.

How to store Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

You can store pineapple upside-down cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days. Before serving, reheat it for a few minutes in the microwave.

You can also keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Pineapple slices
1 20-ounce can
packed brown sugar
2/3 cup
butter, melted
1/3 cup  
pecans, chopped
1/2 cup
large eggs, separated
1 cup
Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon
All-purpose flour
1 cup
Baking powder
1 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon
maraschino cherries


Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Drain the pineapple rings, reserving ½ cup of the juice. In a small bowl, stir together the melted butter and brown sugar, trying to dissolve as much sugar as possible. Pour into a 9×9-inch baking dish.

Spread the mixture out in an even layer on the bottom of the baking dish.

Arrange the pineapple slices in an even layer on top of the sugar mixture.

Sprinkle the pecans evenly on top of the pineapple. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks until thick and yellow with an electric mixer. Slowly add the sugar, beating well the whole time. Stir in the reserved pineapple juice and vanilla.

Gradually add in the dry ingredient mixture.

Stir until just combined.

In a small bowl with clean egg beaters, beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form.

Fold the egg whites into the batter.

Pour the batter into the cake pan with the filling.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes in the pan so brown sugar can drizzle over cake.

Invert the cake onto a serving platter, with the pineapples facing up.

Decorate with Maraschino cherries inside each pineapple ring.

Slice, serve and enjoy!

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