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Pineapple Upside Down Cake Recipe – How to Make it in 15 Simple Steps

Born of practicality, a “skillet cake” was cooked in a cast-iron skillet on a stove. Skillet cakes were necessary because pioneers and the very poor often did not have access to ovens in their primitive dwellings. Only the stovetop was available for baking and cooking.

Generally, a skillet cake had a layer of fruit mixed with sugar, and then it was topped with a thin layer of cake batter. The whole thing was baked on the top of the oven with a lid on the skillet. When the cake was done, the whole thing was inverted onto the serving platter and cut into slices.

A sliced pineapple upside down cake with cherries on top.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake Recipe

April Freeman
Once called “skillet cakes,” the upside-down cake has been around ever since the middle ages. Around 1900, methods for canning pineapple were invented and it wasn’t long before people began adapting existing skillet cake recipes for the popular tropical fruit. If you are looking for a fruity, not-too-sweet recipe for Pineapple Upside Down Cake, we have just the one for you. As an added bonus, this recipe is beautiful to serve, with lovely yellow pineapple and cheerful maraschino cherries in the topping.
Prep Time 30 mins
Baking Time 35 mins
Total Time 1 hr 5 mins
Cuisine American
Servings 8 Servings


  • 9 inch Square Pan
  • Small saucepan
  • Medium-Sized Bowl
  • Electric Mixer
  • Rubber Spatula
  • Butter Knife


  • ¼ cup Butter
  • ½ cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 can Twenty-Ounce Sliced Pineapple Rings drained, with the juice reserved
  • 15 pcs Maraschino Cherries
  • ½ cup Softened Butter
  • cup Sugar
  • 2 pcs Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • ½ cup Pineapple Juice from the canned pineapple listed above
  • 1 ½ cups Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ¼ teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ½ teaspoon Salt


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using cooking spray, grease a nine-inch cake pan.
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the ¼ cup of butter together with the brown sugar. Just patiently wait for the butter to melt and stir the two ingredients together.
  • When the mixture begins to bubble, allow this mixture to cook for three or four minutes. It should become somewhat fluffy and creamy.
    The mixture is beginning to bubble in the saucepan.
  • Pour the brown sugar glaze into the bottom of the greased pan. Spread it around until there is an even layer of this brown goo on the bottom of the pan.
  • Arrange the pineapple rings in the bottom of the pan over top of the glaze. Add the cherries to the center of each ring, or however, you like.
  • Now you can move on to making the cake. In a medium-sized bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the ½ cup softened butter until it is light and fluffy.
  • Add the sugar to the butter and beat it again for about five minutes. Add the eggs and the vanilla for another minute.
  • Beat the half cup of pineapple juice into the mixture for just a few seconds. The mixture may begin to look a little curdled at this point.
  • Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together onto a piece of waxed paper. Use the waxed paper to add the flour mixture to the butter and egg mixture.
  • Beat the batter together on medium speed for another two minutes. The batter will be rather thick and bright yellow.
  • Use a rubber spatula to scoop spoonfuls of batter over the pineapple in the pan. Spread the batter around the pan until it is in a smooth layer.
  • Bake the cake in the center of your preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes. When the surface of the cake is a light golden brown, it should be done.
  • Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Use a butter knife to loosen the cake in the pan by running it around the edges.
  • Place your serving platter upside down on top of the cake pan and, using a set of two potholders, quickly flip the platter and cake pan over to release the pineapple upside-down cake onto the serving platter. If any of the pineapples or cherries stick to the pan, gently pry them out with a fork and replace them on the top of the cake.
    A freshly-baked pineapple upside down cake with cherries on top.
  • This cake is best served warm or at room temperature. It is also wonderful if you serve it with sweetened whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Store this cake for up to three days in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator. It also freezes very well, thanks to the fact that it is very moist. To freeze it, allow it to cool to room temperature and then tightly wrap it in two layers of aluminum foil. Place it in the freezer for up to three months. Thaw it by putting it in the fridge overnight before you want to serve it.


The earliest record of canning pineapple is from the early 1890s. The pineapple was grown in far-flung places like Hawaii and Malaysia, and food manufacturers wanted to ship it to the markets in the continental United States.
Jim Dole built a canning factory in Honolulu, and he also created intricate machines to help process the fruits, including gadgets to help with slicing the fruit into uniform shapes and sizes to make canning them easier. Soon, he began shipping his cans of pineapple to all of the major cities of the United States and Canada and created a massive marketing campaign to push his product.
Cooks began experimenting with this new, delicious kind of fruit and many began to incorporate it in their old recipes for skillet cakes. By the time the 1920s rolled around, this cake became massively popular. Now, 100 years later, the only upside-down cake that most people are familiar with is the classic Pineapple Upside Down Cake.
Keyword Dessert, Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Recipe

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