Pineapple Upside Down Cake

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Pineapple Upside Down Cake Recipe |

Pineapple cake was something that my husband had requested from me and was longing to eat, for a long, long time.  Maybe that statement would make me seem like I’m not the best wife.  However, he definitely knows that I’m not much of a baker…so I kind of ignored his sentiment.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake Recipe |

Last month when I saw Vivianne’s Pineapple Upside-down Cake recipe on her blog Green Cilantro, I knew the time has come!  My husband was really excited when I told him about my attempt.  He even came to check on how I was doing in the kitchen several times (or maybe he was worried about his cake).

Despite a few moments of “panic” mode (details are in the recipe instruction), I think I did really well.  I am not a baker, but I do have a sweet tooth and have ate more than my share of sweets.  The cake turned out to be delicious.  Vivianne did not include all the caramel syrup in her recipe being worried that it might be too sweet, but I actually pour it all in.  It was not as sweet as I thought it was going to be.  My husband and children loved it as well and requested to have dessert after every meal as long as there are still pieces of the cake left.

If you are not a baker like me, I would say this is “doable” for a beginner baker.  Just read about my panic moment below so you won’t panic like me. 😉  Enjoy!

Pineapple Upside Down Cake III

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Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: One 9-inch cake
  • 1 pineapple
  • ¾ cup (150 grams) sugar
  • ½ cup (120 grams) water
  • 6 Tbsp. (¾ stick/86 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (140 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1 cups (200 grams) sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (1 stick/114 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 9-inch round cake pan.
  2. Peel, halve, and core the pineapple, then cut into ¾-inch-thick slices. Cut the slices in half. I used pineapple slicer, which cores and slices an entire pineapple.
  3. Put ¾ cup (150 grams) of the sugar and the water in a medium saucepan and mix well so the sugar is moistened.
  4. Place the pan over high heat and leave it undisturbed. The liquid starts to boil slowly for the first minute or two, and then it will boil rapidly after that. DO NOT TOUCH the pan until the sugar syrup starts to caramelize from the edge of the pan like below.
  5. When you see dark color syrup around the edge of the pan (above right), gently swirl the pan in a circular motion so the sugar caramelizes evenly. Keep swirling gently until the caramel is a medium golden brown (sorry I was busy making sure the caramel won’t be too dark and couldn’t take the picture).
  6. When it’s medium golden brown, turn down the heat to the lowest and whisk in the 6 Tbsp. butter. Quickly mix well and be careful for splutter.
  7. Carefully add the pineapple and stir until it is coated with the caramel. Here at this moment, I panicked. Caramel started to harden and I couldn’t “stir”! I thought I ruined the whole thing… But don't panic - the caramel will become liquid again once you heat it up and the pineapple will also release juice (see next step).
  8. Turn up the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. By this time you see caramel is re-liquefying already. Then turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the pineapple turns golden brown.
  9. Using a fork, transfer the pineapple to a plate.
  10. Continue to boil the remaining caramel on medium-high heat for few minutes, or until thick and syrupy.
  11. Arrange the pineapple in concentric circles in the prepared pan. Make sure to fill in any gaps at bottom of the pan with smaller pieces. My pineapple was just large enough to cover the bottom (so don’t eat your pineapple until you finish this step!). If you have extra pineapple, you can do double layers. Then pour the caramel syrup on top.
  12. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  13. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs and egg yolks until blended, then slowly beat in the remaining 1 cup (200 grams) sugar, the vanilla, and the ½ cup melted butter. Using a rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture until it's completely mixed.
  14. Pour the batter evenly over the pineapple in the cake pan. Tap the pan gently on a counter top to get rid of any air bubbles in the batter.
  15. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. If it becomes golden brown too quickly and not done baking yet, cover with aluminum foil so it doesn't burn. The cake is ready when you insert a skewer in the center of the cake and it comes out clean (batter free). Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 30 minutes.
  16. Place a serving plate upside down on top of the cake pan, then holding the pan and the plate tightly together, invert them quickly (but carefully). Lift off the cake pan. If some of the pineapple are stuck to the pan, remove them and place them back on top of the cake. Let the cake cool for at least another 30 minutes, then serve warm or at room temperature.
  17. The cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Adapted from Green Cilantro, originally from Joanne Chang's Flour.


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  1. kim

    Also I’m not much of a baker but hoi is! So I will have to send him this recipe! We have been thinking about buying that pineapple corer, do you like it?

  2. Your pineapple cake turns out real beautiful and you claimed yourself is not a baker!! And….your family loves this cake too. You should be proud of yourself to have bake something that your hub and children loves to eat. Good to have that pineapple slicer, isn’t it?

  3. Hi, Nami-san.

    It was funny to read the story of you and your hubby! He must have enjoyed eating his cake so much:-) the cake looks so delicious and pretty! I can’t tell that you are not baker, though!

    As you know, we don’t see this kind of cake here in Japan. I kind of miss American-too-sweet-and-huge-cakes! When you can’t find something, you do crave it, right?

  4. im sooo glad you and your family enjoyed this as much as I did! i think next time i would use the whole syrup too like you instead of half of it (would be more moist that way!)

    it is a lot of work right? cant believe you baked this yet dont call yourself a baker!? i guess we must be the opposite not very good with savoury dishes (unlike you) so i wouldn’t call myself a ‘cook’! also very interested in your pineapple peeler 😛 first time ive seen something like that hahahha.

  5. u r not a baker? well now u r nami!

    The pinapple cake u made looks awesome! This one wouldnt survive it that long in my house. The point where u panicked, is when i panick always too. the last time i tried to make caramel I broke my wooden spoon because it hardend so quickly. my wooden spoon was solid strong!!! and yeah heating it up again solves the problem. You have to work quick or it gets messy. we had to make perfect caramel grids in school which were used to garnish desserts. I was so unlucky, I had to make that for final exams. Still kind of traumatized by this experience. lol

    • Thanks Helene for sharing your experience! Yeah definitely panic moment, but now I learned. No need to panic if you heat up again… it makes sense now but at that time, I was like (@_@) OMG~~~~~! Once you know it, it’s easy. =)

  6. Good for you Nami for doing something you’re not comfortable with… baking!! I always say I’m not a baker either because cooking comes natural to me.. desserts and baking…not so much. This looks amazing and I am so impressed you used fresh pineapple. I love your pineapple slicer/corer!! How cool!! See… now just keep baking and soon you’ll start getting a little bit more comfortable with it and before long you’re hubby will say “stop all the cake making…. I’m getting fat”. Well that’s what my husband did. LOL ! :) Great job and tutorial. :) Have a great week! ~ Ramona

  7. Isn’t it funny how husbands can become a nuisance in the kitchen if you are making one of his favorite things? The cake is indeed beautiful – love the opening photo – just a stunner!

  8. Oh mine! Nami you upside down pineapple cake look sooo delicious esp those golden colour pineapple base :) It’s so perfect for Chinese New Year!!!! Bookmarked !!!!!

  9. Hi Nami! I can imagine how panicked you must have felt when the caramel hardened… Similar situations have happened to me when I tried to cook those Vietnamese Caramelized fish recipes, it’s always a bit scary when I cook something unfamiliar, doesn’t matter whether it’s the first time or not. But it’s always so rewarding when the result comes out great, totally worth the heart palpitation!

    The cake looks wonderful! I think Jon would LOVE to get his hands on a piece. My Mom actually just gave me a pineapple last night, maybe it’s a sign I should give the recipe a try!

  10. Your cake came out gorgeous Nami! I know you always say that you’re not much of a baker, but all of your baked goods look as beautiful as your savory creations :-) I’ve never made a pineapple upside down cake either, but I’ll have to give this recipe a go. I love pineapple slicers like the one you have.

  11. It sounds like a fantastic, totally successful cake, Nami! Congratulations! (I have always known you were an excellent baker). I am happy you used fresh pineapple, because I really hate the canned one. It’s soooo sweet and loses so much of the aroma (on the other hand I love canned peaches).
    I often make upside-down tarts, but have never made a high cake like this one. It looks lovely!

  12. Lyn (My Little Messy & Cheeky)

    Delicious looking cake, Nami! I think you can drop the title of from now on! 😀
    I’d love to try your pineapple upside down cake one of these days! My girls would sure be very happy and excited! I’m slowly getting into baking now, from cookies to muffins, cupcakes and then bigger cakes. Hopefully I’ll be able to bake simple birthday cakes for my girls (they’ve been requesting since last year!) 😉

  13. I absolutely love this post Nami! First, you are baking! Yay! Second, I LOVE upside down cakes because I can’t get enough of caramelized fruit. One of my favorite taste profiles ever. Particularly caramelized pineapple. The acidity of the fruit is so perfect to cut the sweetness. Your cake looks lovely, and I’m so glad you didn’t declare your caramel a failure. Sharing that experience will definitely help others!

    Oh, I was in Monterey this past weekend and thought of you. We ate at a restaurant called Passionfish in Pacific Grove and it was great. They could even accommodate me with the gluten-free requirement!

  14. Flour’s is my go-to recipe for this cake too, and I just made it this Christmas! Glad your husband and kids liked it. Nami, I see lots more baking in your future. :)

  15. Hi Nami – I have the same pineapple slicer – it’s so clever isn’t it? Although I do find that it wastes a lot of fruit sometimes, if the pineapple is fat. Would you believe, you know the big thick “core” in the centre of the pineapple which is left over after using this tool… there’s a fast-food chain in France which was packaging that core and selling it as a dessert!!! 😀

    I love upside-down cakes, and yours looks wonderful – really fabulous texture. If you want one suggestion – you just *have* to try this with custard/vanilla sauce. Poured over the top, it’s just a perfect match!!! :)

  16. Susie

    I love pineapple upside down cake. There is something about it that I will always like. I have made Thomas Keller’s before but only once. This one looks amazing and I bet tasted awesome. I like Joanne Chang’s recipes a lot. YUM.

  17. Great pineapple upside down cake. It’s funny I also saw Viv’s post back in December and also made myself a pineapple upside cake:) I bet the caramel coated pineapple must’ve tasted a lot better than by itself.

  18. This absolutely stunning and just so delicious!:) I don’t believe you that you’re not a great baker, because this obviously looks like it’s done by a professional!;)
    I should hide this from my hubby, hehe, as I am definitely not a good baker at all:p

  19. i am not a baker myself too and whenever i do bake and it turns out to be disastrous, i always put a disclaimer that I AM NOT MARTHA STEWART who could turn all things beautifully haha. but yours turn out to be great.. so give yourself a pat on the back haha.
    hey nami i love that corer, it’s a cool gadget!

  20. Lovely!!!!
    My dear friend, stop saying you are not a baker…. I have seen some really lovely baking recipes on your site…
    And this one is just fabulous… Beautiful cake.
    Trust me this is one cake I make and eat it without even a bit of guilt….
    Eat an extra slice for me…. Beautiful!!!

  21. Hi Nami!
    I have never tried pineapple cake nor heard of it!! How does it taste? I am not much of a baker… so I don’t think I am gonna make this. But I’d like to try. Do you think I can get a piece of it in Tokyo? Your cake looks really delicious and I believe it does. Have a nice day!

    • I have never had this cake when I was in Japan. I think nowadays people make it at home because this recipe is widely available. I’ve never seen any bakeries or even depa chika have this. It can be one of rare thing if you see it somewhere. I just Googled it in Japanese to see anything would come up, but mostly recipes.

  22. I was thrilled when I read the title of the email about your post! Nami started baking yay!
    congrats on facing one of your fears Nami, the cake looks amazing. This is one of my childhood favorites, mum used to make this,or replace the pinapples with apples or even bananas and they are all amazing.

  23. This is the first cake I ever baked as a kid … and is still one of my favorites! Yours looks great Nami! (And I think you should stop saying that you’re not a baker! Sorry… I had to put my psychologist hat on for a second!) HUGS! 😀

  24. Nami, you did a beautiful job on this pineapple upside down cake. I am not a baker either and it will take me awhile before I get enough shall I say courage to attempt baking something. I’m not a big fan of cooked pineapple, but maybe I should just subsitute another fruit. I am proud of you! :)

  25. This is my husband’s fav cake and I have to make this sometime soon. I am happy you didn’t add cherry to it .. which is what i mostly see whenever i google for pineapple cake.

  26. YUM – love this stuff – sorry haven’t been around lately but trying to get ready for the little one – she is almost here. In the past few weeks i have come to your site so many times and done a few of your recipes – all just wonderful – i did the Agedashi Tofu, Sanma Teriyaki, and a few other – all great :)

  27. Robert-Gilles Martineau

    Every time I think of pineapple, I thnk of American cuisine!
    The interesting thing is that pineapple first grown in Hawaii came from some stolen in Tahiti (French Polynesia!)!
    You might not advertize yourself as a baker but the MOTH will be more than happy, I’m sure!
    Great pics as usual!
    Well done!
    Best regards,

  28. I haven’t had upside down pineapple cake in such a long time. I remember my grandmother making this and it being so good. You definitely gave great directions on how to make it. I think I will try this

  29. Oh Nami, This cake looks so delicious. I’m inspired by your photos. And by the way, what do you mean you’re “not much of a baker”? This looks truly beautifully executed! I’d say you’re a fantastic baker!

  30. こんばんわ!


  31. Dear Nami, I was laughted at your comment about sea cucumbers. When i was a kid, i also dislike sea cucumbers, i feel they are too disgusting, hehehe..You have nicely done this pineapple cake, look beautiful and yummy. By the way, did your husband celebrate Lunar New Year at home? did you prepare New Year Eve dinner ?

  32. Lovely looking cake! I haven’t had a pineapple upside down cake in years and I’ve never made one. Glad to hear that this is a recipe for non-bakers! Yum!

  33. …and you say that you’re not a baker, Nami? When you put your mind to it, you can do anything you want to. This pineapple upside down cake turned out beautifully caramelized, moist, and super delicious! Congratulation you your successful baking!

  34. LOL~ I bet now your husband must be thought you’re the best wife ever 😀 hha~
    So, it’s his fave cake? Agree with him. Pineapple tastes nice. I love it too..
    Thanks for sharing this recipe, Nami 😀
    Maybe I’d make this for my boyfriend, LOL~

  35. Oh wow, super yum. I’m not much of a baker either and have just started delving into the world (definitely an art). I’m making this pineapple cake the next time I need a dessert!

  36. I think you are a wonderful baker…I should bake for you and then you will see who can’t bake :) This looks wonderful! I have not had a pineapple upside down cake in years, very tempting!

  37. krishna bhujel

    your paneapple cake is looking so delicious ..Thank you your pineapple recipes i will try to make same cake next day .
    krishna bhujel

    • Hi Whidha! Hmmm steam? I’ve never tried it and I can’t tell. You could be the first one to try this. Let me know if it turns out well. :)

      • I made the cake. Steaming process ^^
        Thank God it turns out well, except that the cake is a bit wet because of the caramel. I think I should cook the caramel a bit longer. The caramel went up all over the cake. But that was allright because it tastes delicious. Thanks for sharing this recipe ^^

        • Hi Whidha! Thank you so much for the feedback! I’m glad it turned out well! It was wet probably due to the condensation. Maybe if you wrap the lid with kitchen towel and close it, the condensation may not fall onto the cake itself. :) Also caramel will be rather in liquid than more solid when steamed (instead of baking), I think. Thank you for trying this recipe!