Gluten-Free Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

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gluten free
Recipe photo
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: 2 cakes: one pineapple, one plain

Recipe photo

Finally, those of us on gluten-free diets can dig into this classic cake, based on our Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix. Its moist, flavorful topping of pineapple rings and cherries (nuts optional) has made it an American favorite since 1911, when a Dole engineer invented a machine that would slice pineapple into perfect rings. This cake is wonderfully buttery/brown sugary, and VERY tasty.

Gluten-Free Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

star rating (10) rate this recipe »
gluten free
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: 2 cakes: one pineapple, one plain
Published: 05/01/2012



  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 20-ounce can pineapple rings in juice, drained, juice saved
  • candied red cherries or maraschino cherries
  • diced pecans or walnuts, optional


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup soft butter
  • 1 box King Arthur Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup pineapple juice (from the can of pineapple rings)

Tips from our bakers

  • This particular recipe uses only half the batter made from our Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix. Use the rest to make a second layer of cake, 10 cupcakes, or even a second upside-down cake to freeze. A plain 9" round cake takes 25 to 30 minutes to bake; cupcakes, 20 to 25 minutes. If you make the second upside-down cake, you'll need to make a second batch of topping; topping amounts are for one cake.
  • If you make a plain layer cake or cupcakes out of the remaining batter, the pineapple flavor is very mild and would probably harmonize just fine with any frosting. Our favorites include vanilla, coconut, and citrus. You could also use more pineapple (or other tropical fruits) and coconut custard to make a Trifle.
  • Want to make one pineapple upside-down cake now, one at a later date? Simply use half the cake mix, and half the added ingredients called for (i.e., 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1/4 cup soft butter, 2 large eggs, and 1/3 cup pineapple juice). Store the remaining cake mix, tightly wrapped, for up to a couple of months or so.


1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake this cake in either a 9" round or an 8" square cake pan; there's no need to grease the pan.

2) To make the topping: Melt the butter, and mix with the brown sugar, cinnamon, and ginger. Spoon the mixture into the cake pan.

3) Drain and save the juice from the pineapple rings. Space the rings atop the brown sugar mixture: eight pineapple rings will fit in a 9" round pan, and nine pineapple rings in an 8" square pan.

4) Place a cherry in the center of each pineapple ring. If you're using nuts, scatter them in any empty spaces.

5) Follow the box's directions for making the cake batter, but use 2/3 cup of the juice from the pineapple rings instead of the milk called for. If you don't have quite 2/3 cup of juice, use water to make up the difference.

6) Spoon half the batter (about 2 1/2 cups) into the pan, spreading it over the fruit to the edges.

7) Bake the cake for 40 to 45 minutes, until it's firm on top, the edges of the crust are brown, and the internal temperature is between 210°F and 212°F.

8) Remove the cake from the oven, run a spatula around the edge, wait 3 minutes, then turn the pan over onto a serving plate. Wait another 30 seconds, then lift the pan off. If anything sticks to the pan, just scrape it out and spoon it back on the cake. Best served warm.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings.


  • star rating 02/25/2015
  • Francine from NJ
  • Wonderful classic! EVERYONE LOVED this seemingly bakery made cake. Try this cake, it's a keeper for sure.
  • star rating 02/07/2015
  • dianefreeman from KAF Community
  • Moist, tasty and visually appealing. I have made this used this recipe twice and am making in again to take to card club. No one will know that it is GF! I have followed the directions and made no changes. It feels wonderful to have really good desserts again that everyone can enjoy together. I highly recommend this recipe.
  • star rating 06/14/2014
  • Chris from St Joseph, MO
  • Oh, so yummy! My granddaughter and I LOVED it!
  • star rating 12/29/2013
  • Kim from South Carolina
  • This was as good as OR better than a traditional recipe. My husband loved it.
  • star rating 11/02/2013
  • Vickie from Tulsa, OK
  • This is a fantastic cake. It is delicious and very moist. I would say this is as good if not better than my homemade version.
  • star rating 09/14/2013
  • CM from AZ
  • WOW! YUM! I used coconut oil instead of butter and vegetable oil and pineapple juice instead of milk. Consistency is MOIST and like angel cake. :)
  • star rating 06/29/2013
  • AlexD from Atlanta
  • I just became Gluten free and this was my first attempt at GF baking and what a start it was! A tender crumb on the cake, the directions were simple and easy to follow. Even my non GF family loved this cake. I must say a thank you to the folks at King Arthur and the fans who reviewed these recipes. If everything tastes this good, going gluten free will be healthy AND delicious.
  • star rating 02/01/2013
  • Lynne from Lander, WY
  • I used a gluten free from scratch yellow cake recipe using 1/2 almond flour and 1/2 millet flour. I then followed the recipe from there on out. It was absolutely delicious! The top was very crusty and sweet and the inside very moist. I served it with whipped cream. It took about 1 1/2 hrs. to cook to get to the 200 degree level and I wondered if I was doing it right since this was my first try at gluten free dessert. I'll definitely make this again.
  • star rating 01/13/2013
  • AzMom21 from KAF Community
  • better than my old recipe, this was a huge hit at the holidays for my GF guests and everyone else. I would never have guessed it was GF, so moist.
  • star rating 12/25/2012
  • Barbara from Phx, AZ
  • This was amazing! Even those who were not GF loved it, I was disappointed with the Red Velvet cake, but this was a bit hit. I will definitely make this again

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