Gluten-Free Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

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.

Prep
25 mins
Bake
40 to 45 mins
Total
1 hr 5 mins
Yield
2 cakes: one pineapple, one plain
Gluten-Free Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Instructions

  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. See tips, at left, for tasty suggestions on how to use the rest of the batter.

  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.

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.

  • 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.
  • 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.