This sheet cake style Pineapple Upside Down Cake is made with fresh pineapple. While baking, the pineapple juice combines with buttery brown sugar that forms a beautiful caramelized sauce for the cake. Serve it warm with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and savor each and every glorious bite.
Homemade Pineapple Upside Down Cake Recipe
What is pineapple upside down cake? It's a cake that begins with pineapple slices on the bottom of the baking pan. Embellished with maraschino cherries and often pecan halves, it's smothered with a butter and brown sugar sauce. After pouring the batter on top, it's baked and cooled, then flipped over for serving, hence the name. This homemade cake was one of our family's special birthday traditions as it was my brothers pick every single year for his birthday dessert.
How to Make the Best Southern Pineapple Upside Down Cake
How is this upside down cake different from other recipes? This version is a bit different from a traditional upside down cake in that I use fresh pineapple slices and it's made in a 13 x 9 inch pan instead of in a skillet or round pan.
- What will I need to make Southern pineapple upside down cake ? You'll need a medium size fresh pineapple that's been peeled, cored and sliced. To mix the batter, you'll need a stand or hand mixer, mixing bowls, measuring cups and spoons as well as a 13 x 9 inch baking pan. A small bowl to melt the butter and a large silicone spatula to scrape the batter from the mixing bowl. A small bowl to melt the butter and a cooling rack. You'll also need a large platter for flipping the cake over for serving.
- What ingredients will I need? You'll need cake flour, brown sugar, salt, vanilla, baking powder, salt, buttermilk, eggs, fresh pineapple slices and maraschino cherries.
- Can I use all purpose flour to make this cake? Yes, you can in the same amount. Cake flour will result in a more tender crumb to the cake.
- Can I use canned pineapple slices? Yes, you can. Drain well and proceed with the recipe as written.
- Please note, fresh pineapple slices release juice while baking that combines with the brown sugar to form a sweet caramel-like sauce. Being a toffee and caramel lover, I've always loved the gooey, chewy, drippy, buttery caramel sauce that forms on the top and drips down the sides of this cake.
- You can store this cake chilled for up to 5 days.
How to Choose a Fresh Pineapple
- Choose a medium-size fresh pineapple that's golden, not one with a very green skin.
- The pineapple slices can vary in size depending on the actual pineapple you use.
- As you can see in the pictures, the slices may overlap a bit. If you prefer they not overlap, then simply cut a small piece out of each slice and fit them onto the cake flat.
- This cake must be served while gooey and warm with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. See also Crockpot Cherry Pineapple Dump Cake and Pineapple Upside Down Muffins.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
- 1 ¼ cup butter softened and divided
- 1 ½ cups packed brown sugar
- 12 slices fresh or canned pineapple
- 12 maraschino cherries no stem
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 2 ⅔ cups cake flour
- 3 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- whipped cream or ice cream for serving
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a non stick metal 13 x 9 inch pan with baking spray.
- On the stove top in a small saucepan, melt together ½ cup butter with 1 ½ cups packed brown sugar. Cook just until combined then remove from the heat and spread into the bottom of the prepared pan.
- Arrange the pineapple slices on top and place a maraschino cherry in the center of each slice.
- In a mixing bowl, cream together the remaining ¾ cup butter, sugar and vanilla
- Add the eggs one at a time mixing well after each addition.
- Sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk beginning and ending with flour.
- Spread batter evenly over the pineapple slices. The batter will be thick.
- Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes back clean.
- Remove from the oven and rest for 5 minutes. Invert onto a serving platter.
- Leave the pan on top for a couple of minutes to allow all of the caramel to drip down the sides of the cake.
- Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.