This Pineapple Upside-Down Cake will look like it took you all day. It won't

Southern Kitchen
Pineapple Upside Down Cake

About the recipe

The original recipe uses canned pineapple, but chef Virginia Willis, who tested the recipe, suggests using fresh pineapple instead. “It’s absolutely beautiful with the whole, thinly cut slices; it’s a little more trouble, but worth it. Other than this one step, the cake is very simple to make.”

The original recipe also called for separating the eggs and folding in the stiffly beaten egg whites after all the other ingredients were mixed, but because this is such a thick batter, Willis reasoned that it would work just as well, and save a few steps, to add the eggs whole. The result, she said, “is a very flavorful cake with a light, tender crumb.”

We used White Lily brand for the self-rising flour. You can replace the self-rising flour with cake flour in a pinch. 

Serves: 6 to 8

Hands On Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour and 0 minutes


1 whole pineapple (about 3 1/2 pounds), outer skin removed and uncored, or 1 (8-ounce) can sliced pineapple (reserve juice)

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

3 large eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup self-rising flour

1/3 cup pineapple juice (from canned pineapple, or use bottled juice if using fresh pineapple)

1 cup heavy cream, well-chilled (optional)

2 tablespoons dark rum (optional)


Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Using a wide mandoline or a large chef’s knife, slice the fresh pineapple, if using, as thinly as possible. Set aside.

In a large cast-iron skillet (or 9-inch square or round pan) over medium heat, melt the butter and brown sugar until bubbly and rich golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

Center one piece of pineapple in the skillet. Place pineapple slices in a tightly overlapping circle. Make a second ring, completely covering the bottom. (If using fresh pineapple, be certain that it is completely covered, as the bottom will be the top upon inversion.) Set aside.

In a heavy-duty mixer (fitted with the paddle attachment, if you have one), beat the eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour and juice, alternating between the two. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth with an offset spatula. Bake until golden brown and the sides of the cake pull away from the pan, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.

If using, pour cream into a clean bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add the rum. Whip on high speed until stiff peaks form, 45 to 60 seconds.

Carefully invert the cake onto a large cake plate and, if desired, serve with rum-spiked whipped cream.


Per serving (based on 6, without whipped cream): 382 calories (percent of calories from fat, 25), 5 grams protein, 68 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 11 grams fat (6 grams saturated), 128 milligrams cholesterol, 303 milligrams sodium.