Homemade Pineapple Upside Down Cake is a classic dessert with a buttery, moist cake, signature caramelized pineapple, and cherry-studded topping.

If you are looking for more classic fruit desserts, I think you’ll love my easy peach cobbler, strawberry shortcake, and chocolate-covered strawberries.

Slice of pineapple upside down cake on a white plate with a fork.

Few cakes are as nostalgic and classic as the pineapple upside-down cake. A timeless cake crowned with caramelized topping and pineapple rings studded with bright cherries in the center.

Each delicious bite takes me back to my childhood and watching Mama magically flip the pineapple upside-down cake onto her cake plate without even a smidgen of the cake sticking to the skillet.

There’s really nothing like it.

Homemade pineapple upside down cake on a white cake stand with a blue rim on a marble counter with stack of white plates and forks on a blue naplin.

How to Make the Best Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Recipe

Ingredients to make homemade pineapple upside down cake.

Ingredients

Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full listing of ingredients, instructions, notes, and estimated nutritional information.

For the topping

  • Butter – you’ll use melted butter to coat the cake pan or skillet to prevent the cake from sticking and to help create the signature caramelized topping.
  • Brown sugar –  the brown sugar melts into the melted butter to form the caramelized topping of the cake.
  • Pineapple slices – The most iconic part of the cake that gives it sweetness and its name! I like to place the pineapple rings around the top of the cake, but if you like you can also include slices of the pineapple rings up the sides of the cake pan or skillet to decorate the sides of the cake as well. Be sure to use pineapple slices that are canned in juice and not syrup as the syrup is too sweet. Reserve the canned juices to use in the cake batter.
  • Maraschino cherries – bright, red cherries are an iconic part of the cake topping. They are generally pressed into the center of each pineapple ring. If you prefer, you can also include them in other open areas of the cake topping around the pineapple rings.

For the cake

  • Flour – this cake uses all-purpose flour. I measure my flour using the spoon and level method to ensure I add the appropriate amount of flour for the cake batter.
  • Baking powder – works to help the cake rise as it bakes. You’ll want to be sure to use fresh baking powder to make sure the cake rises appropriately. Read how to test your baking powder for freshness.
  • Baking soda – since this cake uses buttermilk, you’ll also want to use a little baking soda in the recipe. If you’d used all baking soda, it would neutralize all of the buttermilk’s acid. By primarily using baking powder with a little baking soda, we preserve the tanginess of the buttermilk in the recipe.
  • Kosher salt – a little kosher salt helps to balance and enhance the flavor of the cake.
  • sugar
  • Buttermilk – I turn to buttermilk for my pineapple upside-down cake. If you don’t have buttermilk, you can easily make your own using my buttermilk substitutes listing.
  • Butter – I use melted in the cake batter. It makes the cake moist, tender, and incredibly delicious.
  • Pineapple juice – add some of the reserved pineapple juice from the pineapple slices to give the cake a delicious pineapple flavor.
  • Eggs – you’ll need large eggs at room temperature.
  • Vanilla extract – use a good quality vanilla extract. I love to use my homemade recipe. It enhances the flavor of the cake.
  • Pineapple slices – I love to chop and stir any leftover pineapple slices from the can into the cake batter. It gives little bites of pineapple throughout the cake, which is so delicious.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  • Prep. Preheat the oven to 350º F.

Make the topping:

Make the topping. Pour 1/4 cup melted butter into the cake pan. Swirl the pan until the bottom and the inside sides of the cake pan are well-coated with the butter to prevent the cake from sticking. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the melted butter. Arrange the pineapple slices on top of the brown sugar. Place the maraschino cherries in the center of each of the pineapple rings. Add more as you prefer.

Make the cake:

Flour mixture in a glass mixing bowl with a whisk.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

Wet ingredients whisked together in a measuring cup with a whisk on a marble surface.

Whisk together the buttermilk, remaining 1/4 cup of melted butter, pineapple juice, eggs, and vanilla extract in a separate bowl or large measuring cup.

Whisk into the flour mixture until well combined. Stir in the leftover chopped pineapple.

Pour the cake batter over the pineapple and cherry topping. Spread the cake batter in the pan with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.

Place in the oven and bake for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour or until a toothpick or skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. You can follow my tips for how to tell when your cake is done.

Remove the cake from the oven and allow to stand for about 5-10 minutes before transferring to a cake stand.

Pineapple upside down cake on a white cake stand with a blue rim on a marble surface.

Run a butter knife or offset spatula around the edges of the cake in the cake pan to make sure the cake has released from the pan. Place the cake stand on top of the cake pan and then carefully turn the cake out onto the cake stand.

Room Temperature Ingredients

Make sure that your eggs and buttermilk are at room temperature to mix into the cake batter properly.

Storage Tips

To store. While you can store this cake at room temperature for a day or so, I recommend storing the cake covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To serve, allow to reach room temperature before serving. 

To make ahead. Prepare the cake according to the recipe instructions. Cool the cake completely and cover the cake plate. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 

To freeze. Cool the cake completely and wrap it or individual slices tightly with plastic wrap topped with foil. Store in a freezer-safe container in the freezer for up to 3 months. To serve, allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Then, remove from the refrigerator and allow to reach room temperature before serving.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake makes a timeless dessert. Topped with a signature pineapple and cherry topping, this pineapple upside down cake is a southern classic. // addapinch.com

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use fresh pineapple slices in a pineapple upside-down cake?

Yes! Use cored fresh pineapple slices cut to about 1/4 to 1/2-inch thickness. You’ll also want to use bottled pineapple juice or increase the buttermilk by 1/4 cup.

Do you have to store pineapple upside-down cake in the refrigerator?

I do! While it should last about 24-36 hours at room temperature, I highly recommend refrigerating your baked cake. Wrap it well with plastic or bees wrap and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Remove from the refrigerator and allow it to reach room temperature for serving. See my Storage Tips sections for how to make ahead and how to freeze.

What is the secret to flipping pineapple upside-down cake onto a cake plate?

There are a few things that you’ll want to make sure to pay attention to properly turn the cake onto a cake plate without it sticking:
1. Buttering the cake pan. Do not skip the step of properly buttering the cake pan. Add the melted butter to the cake pan and swirl the pan to make sure that the entire inside of the cake pan is coated with butter.
2. Cooling the baked cake. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 5 to 10 minutes. When you see the cake pull away from the edges of the cake pan, run a butter knife or offset spatula around the edges of the cake pan to make sure that the sides of the cake have fully released from the pan.
3. Flipping the cake. Place the cake plate (or cake stand) on the pan. Carefully invert the cake pan and cake plate. Place the cake plate onto a solid surface such as your countertop. Then, lift the cake pan straight up off the cake plate. Some of the juices may run down the sides of the cake onto the cake plate, which is just gorgeous!

Here’s my Pineapple Upside Down Cake recipe. I think you’ll love it!

Pineapple Upside Down Cake Recipe

5 from 8 votes
Homemade Pineapple Upside Down Cake is a classic dessert with a buttery, moist cake, signature caramelized pineapple, and cherry-studded topping.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 12

Equipment

Ingredients 

For the topping:

  • 1/4 cup (56.5 g) butter, melted
  • ½ cup (106.5 g) brown sugar, packed
  • 1 (20-ounce) can (340 g) pineapple slices, in juice, reserve the juice for the cake
  • 8 (40 g) maraschino cherries, without stems

For the cake:

  • 2 cups (240 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (6 g) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon (1.4 g) kosher salt
  • 1 cup (198 g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (170.25 g) buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup (56.5 g) butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup (62.5 g) pineapple juice, reserved from the pineapple slices
  • 2 large (100 g) eggs
  • 1 teaspoon (4.7 g) vanilla extract
  • pineapple slices, leftover from the can, chopped

Instructions 

  • Prep. Preheat the oven to 350º F.

Make the topping:

  • Pour 1/4 cup melted butter into the cake pan. Swirl the pan until the bottom and the inside sides of the cake pan are well-coated with the butter to prevent the cake from sticking. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the melted butter. Arrange the pineapple slices on top of the brown sugar. Place the maraschino cherries in the center of each of the pineapple rings. Add more as you prefer.

Make the cake:

  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
  • Whisk together the buttermilk, remaining 1/4 cup of melted butter, pineapple juice, eggs, and vanilla extract in a separate bowl or large measuring cup. Whisk into the flour mixture until well combined. Stir in the leftover chopped pineapple.
  • Pour the cake batter over the pineapple and cherry topping. Spread the cake batter in the pan with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.
  • Place in the oven and bake for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour or until a toothpick or skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. You can follow my tips for how to tell when your cake is done.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and allow to stand for about 5-10 minutes before transferring to a cake stand.
  • Run a butter knife or offset spatula around the edges of the cake in the cake pan to make sure the cake has released from the pan. Place the cake plate (or cake stand) on top of the cake pan. Carefully invert the cake pan and cake cake plate. Place the cake plate onto a solid surface such as your countertop. Then, lift the cake pan straight up off of the cake plate.

Notes

Storage Tips

To store. While you can store this cake at room temperature for a day or so, I recommend storing the cake covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To serve, allow to reach room temperature before serving. 
To make ahead. Prepare the cake according to the recipe instructions. Cool the cake completely and cover the cake plate. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 
To freeze. Cool the cake completely and wrap it or individual slices tightly with plastic wrap topped with foil. Store in a freezer-safe container in the freezer for up to 3 months. To serve, allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Then, remove from the refrigerator and allow to reach room temperature before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 273kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 53mg | Sodium: 235mg | Potassium: 127mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 308IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Enjoy!
Robyn xo

Pineapple Upside Down Cake Recipe: Pineapple Upside Down Cake makes a timeless dessert. Topped with a signature pineapple and cherry topping, this pineapple upside down cake is a southern classic. // addapinch.com

This cake recipe was originally published 2011. Updated August 2023 with new step-by-step photographs and clearer instructions.

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About Robyn

Robyn Stone is a cookbook author, wife, mom, and passionate home cook. Her tested and trusted recipes give readers the confidence to cook recipes the whole family will love. Robyn has been featured on Food Network, People, Southern Living, and more.

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Recipe Review




70 Comments

  1. any ideas on how to make the cake chocolate? my cousin wants a strawberry chocolate upside down cake for her birthday.

    1. I’ve never made this recipe chocolate, Alejandra. I do have a delicious Best Chocolate Cake and a Strawberry Cake recipe if you are interested in either of those. Hope this helps and your cousin has a good birthday! xo

  2. I thought the cake part was heavy, followed recipe. What went wrong? Pineapple, brown sugar mixture was good.

    1. Hi Tammy,
      I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy the cake. This is not a cake that will rise as much as some cakes as it is usually made in a skillet as you’ll see in the recipe photos in my post. I hope this helps – I am glad you liked some of the flavor though! Thanks!