This Vegan Pineapple Upside-Down Cake is so soft and pretty! It is a fluffy and tender vanilla cake base with a gooey brown sugar topping with baked pineapples for that burst of natural sweetness. Plus, it’s so easy to make you don’t need your mixer!
Why you'll love this pineapple cake
- Easy to make: A classic retro cake favorite, it comes together using canned pineapple and maraschino cherries.
- Dairy-free: Totally dairy-free, so great for friends/family members that are dairy-free/vegan.
- Perfect summer cake: This retro upside-down cake is perfect all summer long, or whenever you want a happy vegan cake.
Yes, this is a happy cake!
- Why you'll love this pineapple cake
- Easy Pineapple Upside-Down Cake from Scratch
- Ingredients for dairy-free pineapple upside-down cake
- How to make vegan pineapple-upside down cake
- How to flip a pineapple upside-down cake
- Tips for making vegan pineapple upside-down cake
- How to store pineapple upside-down cake
- Can you freeze this dairy-free pineapple upside down cake?
- Some other easy cake recipes to enjoy:
- Vegan Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
Easy Pineapple Upside-Down Cake from Scratch
Originally posted June 2022 and updated for content June 2023. This vegan pineapple upside-down cake is so SOFT that your non-vegan friends won't even notice that it's dairy free. Once you take a bite of those caramel-y golden bites of sweet pineapple and dive into the tender vanilla cake, your guests will be in paradise!
It's been a while since I shared a vegan cake recipe, and since summer is here (well, for many of us, the temperatures are in full summer mode!) this seemed like the perfect time to share my pineapple upside down cake recipe from scratch.
The first time I made this cake it was a hit, and since then I’ve wanted to share the version with the bright maraschino cherries. This homemade pineapple upside-down cake reminds me of parties growing up.
Mom used to make the traditional dairy version, but now that we have a dairy-free family member, there will be more vegan recipes shared here!
This is a beauty of a cake that’s made without dairy or eggs, but it’s so similar to the traditional dairy version. Even better, it's not complicated at all to put together. You can make the whole thing by hand with a spoon or a whisk!
Ingredients for dairy-free pineapple upside-down cake
To make this easy pineapple upside down cake recipe, you’ll need:
- Non-dairy butter
- Light brown sugar
- Canned sliced pineapple
- Maraschino cherries
- Coconut milk
- All-purpose flour
- vegan granulated sugar
- Baking soda
- sea salt
- ground cinnamon
- Vegetable oil
- White vinegar
- Vanilla extract
- Fleur de Sicilia Flavoring (optional)
How to make vegan pineapple-upside down cake
If this is your first time making a homemade pineapple-upside down cake, don’t be afraid. It’s all made by hand and it’s not difficult to put together this beautiful and festive cake.
- Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
- Spread a mixture of melted vegan butter and sugar in the bottom of a 9-inch springform cake pan.
- Arrange the pineapple slices on the bottom of the pan, then place the cherries wherever they fit.
- To make the cake batter, combine the pineapple juice, oil, and vanilla in a bowl and set aside.
- Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in another bowl. Add the pineapple mixture and mix to form a batter.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool for about 10-15 minutes before inverting the cake on a serving platter.
When you pour the batter into the cake pan, gently spread it out with a spatula.
Yes, you could use your favorite 1-1 GF baking flour and make it totally gluten-free.
IF you are not dairy-free/vegan, go ahead and use your favorite dairy milk.
If you do not have any maraschino cherries on hand, that is no problem.
Pineapple upside-down cake originated in the United States. This cake became popular in the mid-1920s after Dole Pineapple Company sponsored a contest for pineapple recipes.
How to flip a pineapple upside-down cake
Let the cake cool. Allow your pineapple upside-down cake to cool for 10-15 minutes before trying to flip it. If any of the cake has baked into the edge of your pie plate or cake pan, gently loosen the edges with a knife.
Place a serving platter over the pan. Place your cake platter (or any plate that’s larger than your pineapple upside-down cake) over the pan. Note that the plate surface should be facing your vanilla cake layer.
Grip the pan firmly. Using oven mitts, carefully and firmly grip both the sides of the cake platter and the cake pan.
Quickly flip the pan. Carefully but quickly flip everything over so that the bottom of the cake pan is facing upwards, then set down your cake platter and very carefully remove the cake pan. The pan is still very hot, so don’t try to do it without oven mitts or something to protect your hands.
Tips for making vegan pineapple upside-down cake
- If you’re following a strict vegan diet, be sure to use vegetable-dyed maraschino cherries to ensure they are truly vegan (some regular maraschino cherries are not vegan).
- You’ll also want to double check that your granulated sugar is certified vegan. Some sugars aren’t vegan due to the way they’re processed. Just something to look out for!
- This vegan pineapple upside-down cake is best warm, so don’t wait too long to dig in after inverting the pan.
How to store pineapple upside-down cake
This vegan pineapple upside-down cake should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. It’ll stay fresh for up to 3 days.
Can you freeze this dairy-free pineapple upside down cake?
No, I do not recommend freezing this cake. The pineapple will not freeze well and change the texture of the cake when it defrosts.
Some other easy cake recipes to enjoy:
- Lemon Ricotta Cake
- Banana Coconut Upside-Down Cake
- Fresh Strawberry Bundt Cake
- Apple Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake
- Lemon Bundt Cake with Lemon Curd Filling
- Mango Plum Upside-Down Cake
Did you make this? Please RATE THE RECIPE below:)
Vegan Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
For the topping:
- ¼ cup melted non-dairy butter (I used Earth Balance)
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar (I made my own to make it vegan)
- 20 ounces sliced pineapple , drained (reserve the juice!)
- 15-20 maraschino cherries
- Preheat oven 350 degreesF. Lightly spray the sides of a cake pan or pie plate.
- Pour 1/2 cup juice off can of pineapple into 1 cup measuring cup-measure. Add coconut milk to make 1 cup; set aside.
Make the topping:
- Place 1/4 cup of melted non-dairy butter into a 9-inch springform cake pan (or a 9-inch pie dish or a 9x2-inch [deep dish] round cake pan). Make sure it is a deep pan.
- Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of light brown sugar (I made my own vegan brown sugar).
- Top with pineapple slices (reserving the juice for the batter) and place cherries in the center of each pineapple slice — or wherever they fit. See my photo for a visual. Set aside.
Make the cake:
- In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
- In a separate bowl, combine the pineapple juice mixture, oil, vinegar, vanilla and Fleur di Sicilia (omit if you don’t have it).
- Quickly mix wet ingredients into dry, stirring to combine ingredients well and get out the big lumps.
- Pour batter on top of the pineapple/cherries. Smooth out with a spatula.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (Baking time will depend on pan size).
- Remove the cake from oven, allow to cool for about 10-15 minutes before inverting cake on a serving platter. Use a knife to loosen cake from the side of the cake pan if it is sticking.
Please keep in mind that the nutritional information presented below is an approximation and may vary depending on the exact ingredients used.