Pineapple Upside Down Cake

This was one of the first few cakes I baked when I was a child because my dad loved it so much. With that in mind, I found it fitting to prepare it for Father’s Day.

It has been a lifetime since I made one – it was in the early 2000s and I used a Betty Crocker Yellow Cake Mix as my base. I wish I had a photo of my would-have-been achievement back then, though I am sure it would have been a poorly lit photograph, with minimal to zero presentation.

The only piece of nostalgia I can post for now hehe – little Lica and her dad.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake.

I do not think a lot of people know this? I have not seen a single one of it being sold in shops anywhere. Andre even says he knows of it because it was mentioned in one of the cartoons he used to watch as a kid. Cartoons! not even in real life. So, I would like to conclude that it is a mid-century dessert that makes a comeback once in a blue moon. And that blue moon happened yesterday, in our kitchen.

Dad says my grandmother used to assemble this dish with marmalade (but I did not have marmalade in our pantry, so this recipe has none. Boo!), and it was a childhood favorite. When I eventually serve it, maybe it will give him a Ratatouille (the Disney film) like trance that teleports him to his elementary days under the sun hehe.

In a nutshell.

A pineapple upside down cake looks literally like what it’s called – it is a dish served upside down. The idea originated centuries ago; a technique that uses fired ovens and cast iron skillets for baking. According to ancient history the opposite way of baking was the most convenient – the fruits and sugar settled at the bottom, while the cake batter was left to solidify on top.

Then, for a fantastic finish – flipping it over onto a plate to showcase the lovely combination of caramelized fruits. YUM.

A little bit of history.

The idea of this sweet treat happened soon after 1911 when an engineer invented a machine to cut pineapples into nice even rings. These perfectly-shaped fruits were then lined up in a cast iron skillet and used as a pedestal for a creamy, chiffon batter. Voila, the dessert our family has come to know and love today was born. (thank you, Google for that piece of history hehe ^_^)

Since I have somewhat leveled up from an instant mix to something made from scratch (yeeeeesssssssss!), I followed Sally’s Baking Addiction.

I wish I could say this was MY OWN invention HAHA. Someday, someday. We will get there. 🙂

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

 Prep Time: 25 minutes Cook Time: 45 minutes Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes Yield: serves 8-10



  • 1/4 cup (60g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 8–10 pineapple slices 
  • 15–20 maraschino cherries 


  • 1 and 1/2 cups (170g) cake flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) whole milk, at room temperature


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
  2. Prepare topping first: Pour 1/4 cup melted butter into an ungreased 9Ă—2 inch pie dish or round cake pan. (Make sure the pan is 2 inches deep.) Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over butter. Blot any excess liquid off the fruit with a clean towel or paper towel. (The wetter the fruit, the more likely the cake could overflow or the topping could seep over the sides when inverted.) Arrange about 6-7 blotted pineapple slices and all the cherries on top of the brown sugar. I like to halve 3 pineapple rings and arrange them around the sides of the pan, too. See my photo and video above for a visual of the arranged topping. Place pan in the refrigerator for a few minutes as you prepare the cake batter. This helps solidify or “set” the topping’s arrangement.
  3. Make the cake batter: Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.
  4. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment (I just used my hand for this, it still worked perfectly great!) beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on high speed until creamed together, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. On high speed, beat in the egg whites until combined, then beat in the sour cream and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Turn the mixer onto low speed and as the mixer runs, slowly pour in the milk. Beat on low speed just until all of the ingredients are combined. Do not over-mix. You may need to whisk it all by hand to make sure there are no lumps at the bottom of the bowl. The batter will be slightly thick.
  5. Remove topping from the refrigerator. Pour and spread cake batter evenly over topping.
  6. Bake for 43-48 minutes, tenting foil on top of the cake halfway through bake time to prevent the top from over-browning before the center has a chance to fully cook. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out mostly clean– a couple moist crumbs are OK. Don’t be alarmed if your cake takes longer or if the cake rises up and sticks to the foil. (We serve the cake upside down anyway!)
  7. Remove cake from the oven and cool on a wire rack for just 20 minutes. Invert the slightly cooled cake onto a cake stand or serving plate. Some of the juices from the topping will seep over the sides– that’s ok. You can slice and serve the cake warm, but the slices will be messy. I find it’s best to cool the cake completely at room temperature before slicing and serving. Do not refrigerate the cake to speed up the cooling process because it could end up tasting overly dense.
  8. Cover leftover slices and store for up to 3 days in the refrigerator or 3 months in the freezer. Thaw at room temperature. I don’t recommend freezing the cake as a whole because the topping arrangement doesn’t thaw very nicely. See make ahead instructions below.

To conclude

For a person who does not like pineapples on her food – whether it be pizza or pastries, this was topnotch!! not because I made it hehe. The recipe was actually amazingly good! it sent me back to a past that I did not even have! :))

This was not part of my childhood days (except perhaps when I prepared this for my dad) but the taste gave me a sense of sentimentality.

This is definitely better than an instant cake mix!


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