Gluten Free Pineapple Upside Down Cake Recipe

Post image for Gluten Free Pineapple Upside Down Cake Recipe

by Carol Kicinski on July 31, 2010

Share this with:

Gluten Free Pineapple Upside Down Cake Recipe

I’m all for the innovations in food that chefs come up with. I’m fascinated by the unusual flavor combos like pink peppercorn ice cream and the remaking of classic dishes.


However, some classics are classic for a reason; they invoke childhood memories, bring a sense of continuity and comfort in a world that changes at the speed of light, and, well, they became classic because they simply taste great!

Take pineapple upside down cake.  I have seen chefs and foodies attempt to make this classic cake “better” by grilling or roasting fresh pineapple, making a hard caramel that cracks like crème brulee topping and adding “interesting” ingredients to update this time-honored favorite.

While I am sure that roasted or grilled fresh pineapple or expensive rum may add something to the cake, I have to say when I eat a slice of pineapple upside down cake I want it to remind me of the way my grandmother made it – with perfect slices of canned pineapple, brown sugar, and bright red maraschino cherries that create a stained glass effect on the top of the cake.  I want the cake to be moist and light, but not too light. I want to be transported to a time when my family sat around my paternal grandparents’ dining room table, catching up, telling old stories (for maybe the hundredth time), and having the sense of belonging to something much greater than myself.

I guess this is just another reason why I am not really cool enough to be considered a “foodie.”

Gluten Free Pineapple Upsidedown Cakes Slice
The only updates I have made to my grandmother’s pineapple upside down cake is to make it gluten-free and to use pineapple slices canned in pineapple juice instead of heavy syrup.  And because my grandmother loved me and would above all else want me to remain free from harm, I know she would approve.  To make this cake dairy-free, substitute the butter with a good-quality non-dairy butter substitute, like Earth Balance.

Gluten Free Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Gluten Free Pineapple Upside Down Cake Recipe


1 (20-ounce) can pineapple slices in pineapple juice
7 whole maraschino cherries
1½ cups Carol’s Amazing All Purpose Gluten Free Flour or other all purpose gluten free flour blend (make sure it contains xanthan gum)
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
3 large eggs, separated
1 cup granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar (light or dark), firmly packed


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Drain the canned pineapple, reserving ½ cup of the juice. Lay the pineapple slices (you should have 10 slices) and the maraschino cherries on a layer of paper towel and pat them dry with another paper towel. Cut 3 of the pineapple slices in half.

Whisk together the gluten-free flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl.

In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the egg yolks, granulated sugar, reserved ½ cup of pineapple juice and vanilla until smooth. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and combine well.

With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold the egg whites into the batter, combining well.

In a 10 inch cast iron skilletGluten Free Pineapple Upside Down Cake Recipe ImageGluten Free Pineapple Upside Down Cake Recipe Imagemelt the butter over medium heat. When melted, carefully swirl the pan so that the butter coats the sides of the pan. Add the brown sugar and cook, stirring, until the sugar has melted into the butter and is lump free, about 1 minute.

Let the sugar mixture cool very slightly then lay in the pineapple slices carefully so you do not burn yourself. Start with the center, put one whole pineapple slice in the center then arrange the other six whole slices around it. Place the halve slices in the spaces between the whole slices around the outer edge, the curved side facing toward the center. Place a whole maraschino cherry in the center of each of the whole pineapple slices.

Pour the batter over the pineapples and cherries and bake for 40 – 45 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let the cake cool for 2 minutes, run a knife around the outer edge, then invert on a serving platter and let it finish cooling. Make sure you do not let the cake cool too long before inverting or the caramel will harden and the pineapple slices will stick to the bottom of the pan.


This Gluten Free Pineapple Upside Down Cake recipe makes 10 – 12

The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog owner’s. This blog accepts free manufacturers’ samples and forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. Affiliate links may be included in this post.

Share This:
Print RecipePrint Recipe Print Recipe Print Recipe

Categories:    Dessert

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Hänni August 2, 2010 at 8:57 am

Carol, lovely cake. Not sure I can get in on the canned pineapple bandwagon (as opposed to fresh), but am glad for your traditional take. One of the best things about you is your lack of "foodie" pretension!


sensiblecooking August 2, 2010 at 9:42 am

That cake looks deliciously beautiful.


sensiblecooking August 2, 2010 at 9:42 am

That cake looks deliciously beautiful.


Jam August 2, 2010 at 8:26 pm

ow, it looks so delicious.. that pineapple cake of yours looks fantastic.. pretty..


Lisa (bakebikeblog) August 3, 2010 at 3:09 pm

What a beautiful cake! And I love that cake stand and server – they are both so elegant!


[email protected] August 3, 2010 at 3:17 pm

Carol, your pineapple upside down cake is just gorgeous. I like how you refer to stained glass, that paints such a pretty picture. By the way, I consider you a foodie……one with excellent taste. Your mom would be proud:)


Kim - Cook It Allergy Free August 3, 2010 at 11:20 pm

Ahh! Carol, as if you haven't already, you just stole my heart even more! lol! The one dessert that i equate my grandma and my childhood to is her Pineapple upside Down cake. It was (and still is) one of my favorite cakes. All of my friends and family know this. A funny story…last summer, for my birthday, unbeknownst to each other, I had 3 different friends AND my mother-in-law all make me their own versions of this cake because they all know it is my fave!!! I actually got a little sick of it for a while (well, a very short while) because I ate so much of it during my bday week!
Your recipe looks great – will definitely be trying it!


Jenn/CinnamonQuill August 5, 2010 at 5:22 pm

Yes, this is such a classic. No need to mess with the classics! While I love all kinds of nuances and add-ins to make something extra special, I also love the basics. Nothing like 'em!

Would it be alright if I featured one of these cake photos on my new site, It is kind of like Tastespotting, only gluten-free. Thanks, Carol!


Carolyn - What Life Dishes Out August 15, 2010 at 5:46 am

This looks delicious and it's been forever since I've had a pineapple upside down cake!! I bet I could also sub peaches instead of pineapple. I happen to have TONS of peaches that I need to do something with. Hmmmm….this just may be dessert tonight. :-)


Bren August 15, 2010 at 9:53 am

Okay i think i found the perfect recipe to make using your flour! Will be tasked for next week when I return to ATL! Yes, finally found what I wanted to make. This looks moist, which is what I look for!


Vicki Hibbs April 16, 2011 at 7:17 pm

OH….MY……GOSH………..I am floating in heaven~~~~~ Thank you ~Thank you~ Thank you!!!! This recipie was so easy to prepare and so delish!!!!


A Marie June 10, 2011 at 11:14 am

I would like to know if I can use another pan other than cast iron. I don’t have a cast iron pan.
Thank you
A Marie


suzette April 18, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Just make the syrup in a saucepan and pour into a fluted flan tin or similar, it works for me


suzette April 18, 2012 at 12:58 pm

This cake is delicious. I had to put in cherries in the gaps to make sure everyone got plenty! I have made this ahead and frozen it. I cooked it, turned it out when cool enough, washed out the pan and greased it. put the cake back in (upside down as when it baked the first time. covered with wrap and froze. the day i wanted it i got it out the freezer. let it defrost at room temperature for a few hours, pre-heated the oven to the original cake baking temperature and popped it in the oven 15 minutes before the end of the main course. i turned it out straight away and it was delicious, hot and no work on that particular day at all!


Carol Kicinski April 18, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Wow – thanks for the tip. Great do-ahead advice. Glad you liked the cake, it is a family favorite around here!


Charlene M. August 28, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Hi Carol, I’m new to your blog. I found you doing a search for some gluten free recipes. I found your GF Fried chicken recipe which led me to your GF Pineapple Upside down cake. Your link to the
“Carol’s Amazing All Purpose Gluten Free Flour” is taking me to an ice cream recipe. Can you help me find the flour mixture recipe? Thanks so much!


Karen Molloy November 10, 2012 at 10:02 pm

I made this cake today for guests, and it was FANTASTIC!! Even my non-gf guests thought it was the best cake they had had in quite a while!
Thanks for the recipe!


Carol Kicinski November 11, 2012 at 1:35 pm

You are very welcome Karen!


Debbie N December 10, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Thank you for sharing EVERYTHING GF on your website. I made the pineapple upside down cake for my family and they loved it! (I’m the lone GF in my household.) I also made two batches of your baking flour (one for me and one for a GF co-worker). She made some awesome chocolate chip cookies with the GF flour – tastes like they’re made from regular flour…yummy! You have saved my Christmas baking season! Thank you!


Carol Kicinski December 12, 2012 at 11:28 am

Thank you Debbie! Happy Holidays to you and yours!


Violet September 12, 2016 at 4:37 pm

On this recipe i have gluten free flour however i dont know that it has xantham gum so how much should i add?


Carol Kicinski October 14, 2016 at 9:41 am

Hello Violet,
I would just add a teaspoon xanthan gum. Enjoy!


Leave a Comment

{ 6 trackbacks }

Previous post: Gluten Free Dairy Free Caramelized Pear Ice Cream with Almond Brittle Recipe

Next post: Answers from a Gluten Doctor – Part 10 Gluten Intolerance and Exhaustion