This Vegan pineapple upside down cake is sweet, moist and incredibly delicious! It may look fancy and decadent, but this cake is easy to make. These step by step directions will help you make the most rich, soft and fluffy pineapple upside down cake!

Vegan pineapple upside down cake with cherries

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • This Vegan pineapple upside down cake is gooey, sweet and delicious.
  • This retro recipe is way easier than it looks.
  • The caramelized pineapple and cherry topping is to die for!
  • This recipe is made completely from scratch with no mixer needed.
  • Its fresh flavors are great for spring and summer.
  • This cake is popular for Easter and Mother’s Day.
  • As written, this recipe is gluten free, dairy free, egg free, Vegan and can be made nut free.
  • Check out this Vegan Coffee Cake for another tasty recipe.

Ingredients & Substitutions

These are the main ingredients and substitutions for Vegan pineapple upside down cake. Scroll down to the recipe card for full ingredients list and instructions.

Melted Vegan butter provides a buttery caramelized topping! I recommend using Vegan butter instead of coconut oil. It really adds a great buttery flavor.

Coconut sugar or light brown sugar mix with the Vegan butter. This creates the most delicious caramel flavor. Use coconut sugar for a refined sugar free option, or light brown sugar for a lighter color.

Canned pineapple rings are available at all grocery stores. Do not discard the liquid! This will be used in the cake batter. Gently pat dry pineapple rings and cherries to remove excess liquid.

Maraschino cherries are sweetened cherries in syrup. They are very sweet and bright red. Regular pitted cherries can be substituted if absolutely necessary.

For the cake layer, any type of Vegan milk works. For a nut free recipe, use oat milk, coconut milk or soy milk.

Use pineapple juice leftover from the canned pineapple slices.

A little vanilla extract adds a great flavor.

Use a neutral flavored oil for best results. Avocado oil, canola oil or light olive oil are all great options.

Apple cider vinegar helps activate the baking soda to create rise in Vegan baking. Additionally, apple cider vinegar adds a slight tangy flavor.

Both gluten free 1 to 1 flour and all purpose flour can be used.

Granulated sugar adds the sweetness to the cake batter.

Baking soda acts with the apple cider vinegar to help leaven this recipe.

Cherries and pineapple cake ingredients

What is Pineapple Upside Down Cake?

This classic American retro cake features a caramelized pineapple topping and a moist cake. This popular cake became a huge hit when canned pineapple was introduced.

Pineapple upside down cake is known for its beautiful colors and very moist texture. The pineapple rings and bright Maraschino cherries on top are iconic!

This Vegan pineapple upside down cake tastes like the real deal. It is great for any holiday, but especially for Easter and Mother’s Day.

Taste & Texture

This Vegan pineapple upside down cake is sweet. The caramelized topping tastes similar to a brown sugar rum topping. The pineapple and cherries are strong flavors as well.

This cake is probably the most moist cake out there! Since the cake is baked upside down and then inverted, the moisture from the topping is soaked up by the cake.

How to Make

Step 1

First, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Generously spray a 9 inch cake pan with nonstick spray.

Step 2

Make the topping. Combine melted butter and coconut sugar. Pour down into bottom of greased cake pan.

Step 3

Gently pat dry pineapple slices and cherries to remove excess moisture. Place 6 pineapple rings in cake pan. Slice 4 pineapple rings in half and place along the edges of the cake pan.

Step 4

Place Maraschino cherries in the holes and gaps of the pineapple rings.

Maraschino cherries in cake pan

Step 5

Place cake pan in fridge. Then, make the cake batter.

Step 6

In a large mixing bowl, combine Vegan milk, pineapple juice, vanilla, avocado oil and apple cider vinegar. Stir to combine.

Step 7

Then, add in flour, granulated sugar and baking soda. Stir to combine. Batter will resemble normal cake batter.

Step 8

Remove cake pan from fridge. Pour cake batter down on top of pineapples and cherries. Smooth out with a spatula.

Batter in cake pan

Step 9

Bake for 25 minutes. Then place a piece of tin foil over cake. Bake for another 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Step 10

Remove from oven. Allow cake to cool for 20 minutes before inverting.

Golden yellow cake in pan

Step 11

To invert cake, first run a butter knife along the edges of the cake pan to loosen cake. Place a large plate or cake stand upside down on top of cake pan. Very carefully hold both cake pan and plate in place and turn over.

Pineapple cake with cherries

Step 12

Allow the cake pan to remain on top of the cake for 2 minutes. This allows the juices to flow down into the cake. Finally, very carefully remove cake pan. Serve Vegan pineapple upside down cake.

Expert Tips & Tricks

Generously spray cake pan with nonstick spray.

Spread melted butter and coconut sugar down into the cake pan in one even layer.

Use photos above for how to lay pineapple slices on bottom and sides of pan.

Use a 20 ounce can of pineapple slices. This provides the perfect amount of pineapple slices and pineapple juice for this recipe.

Use Vegan butter instead of coconut oil for the best buttery flavor.

Place piece of tin foil over cake halfway through baking. This prevents burning.

Allow to cool for 20 minutes before running a butter knife around cake edges. This slightly loosens cake before inverting.

Once the cake is flipped, it is very difficult to move. So, use cake stand or serving plate when flipping.

Be very careful when flipping cake. Be sure to hold both the cake pan and serving plate in place. This Vegan pineapple upside down cake is gooey and can slide!

Allow the cake pan to remain on top of cake after inverting for 2 minutes. This allows the juices to drip down from cake pan into the cake itself.

Moist pineapple upside down cake on white plate

How to Flip Cake

After baking, allow cake to cool for 20 minutes in pan. Run a butter knife around edges of cake pan to loosen it slightly.

Place a serving plate or cake stand upside down on top of cake.

Hold both cake pan and serving plate with hands. Very carefully flip over. Now, the cake pan with be upside down on top of serving plate.

Allow this to sit for 2 minutes. Then carefully remove cake pan.

How to Serve & Store

Serve Vegan pineapple upside down cake once inverted. It is delicious served warm or chilled!

Serve with Vegan vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days. Alternatively, freeze individual slices for up to 1 month.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is pineapple Vegan?

Yes, pineapple is Vegan.

How do I prevent a soggy pineapple upside down cake?

Pat dry pineapple slices and cherries to remove moisture. This prevents a soggy cake.

Which kind of milk should I use?

Any type of Vegan milk works. I used almond milk for this recipe.

Can I make this with regular flour?

Yes! Both gluten free 1 to 1 flour and all purpose flour can be used.

Should you eat it chilled or warm?

Both! This cake is delicious served warm or chilled.

Do I need to refrigerate it?

Yes, please refrigerate this Vegan pineapple upside down cake. Due to the buttery topping, this cake must be refrigerated.

Cake with fruit

You May Also Like

If you make this Vegan pineapple upside down cake recipe, I would really appreciate a review! You can find me on InstagramFacebook, and Pinterest. I would love for you to follow along!  For more ideas, check out these Vegan Recipes.

Vegan pineapple upside down cake with cherries

Get the Recipe: Vegan Pineapple Upside Down Cake

This Vegan pineapple upside down cake is sweet, gooey and so moist! The caramelized pineapple topping is to die for. This fun retro cake is easy to make and perfect for any occasion!
5 from 1 vote

Ingredients

Topping

  • 4 tbsp Vegan butter, melted
  • cup coconut sugar, or brown sugar
  • 10 slices canned pineapple rings
  • 12 Maraschino cherries

Cake

Instructions 

  • First, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Generously spray a 9 inch cake pan with nonstick spray.
  • Make the topping. Combine melted butter and coconut sugar. Pour down into bottom of greased cake pan.
  • Gently pat dry pineapple slices and cherries to remove excess moisture. Place 6 pineapple rings in cake pan. Slice 4 pineapple rings in half and place along the edges of the cake pan. See above for pictures.
  • Place Maraschino cherries in the holes and gaps of the pineapple rings.
  • Place cake pan in fridge. Then, make the cake batter.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine Vegan milk, pineapple juice, vanilla, avocado oil and apple cider vinegar. Stir to combine.
  • Then, add in flour, granulated sugar and baking soda. Stir to combine. Batter should resemble normal cake batter.
  • Remove cake pan from fridge. Pour cake batter down on top of pineapples and cherries. Smooth out with a spatula.
  • Bake for 25 minutes. Then place a piece of tin foil over cake. Bake for another 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven. Allow cake to cool for 20 minutes before inverting.
  • To invert cake, first run a butter knife along the edges of the cake pan to loosen cake. Place a large plate or cake stand upside down on top of cake pan. Very carefully hold both cake pan and plate in place and turn over.
  • Allow the cake pan to remain on top of the cake for 2 minutes. This allows the juices to flow down into the cake. Finally, very carefully remove cake pan. Voila!

Notes

  • I recommend using a 20 ounce can of pineapple slices.  This provides enough pineapple slices and pineapple juice for this recipe.
  • I recommend using Vegan butter instead of coconut oil.  There is nothing better than that buttery flavor!
  • Both coconut sugar and light brown sugar work for this recipe.  Use light brown sugar for a lighter color.
  • Any type of Vegan milk works.  I used almond milk.
  • Both gluten free 1 to 1 flour and all purpose flour work.  Since I am gluten free, I used gluten free 1 to 1 flour.
  • See process shots above for visual reference.
  • Do not wait more than 20 minutes after baking to invert the cake.  If you wait too long, the caramelized topping may stick to the pan.
  • Be very careful flipping the cake!  It is difficult to move once flipped, so use whichever cake stand or fancy plate that the cake will be served on.
  • Store cake in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Calories: 410kcal, Carbohydrates: 70g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 1g, Sodium: 241mg, Potassium: 128mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 47g, Vitamin A: 306IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 48mg, Iron: 1mg

Love this Vegan pineapple upside down cake? You can sign up here to receive healthy meal plans, exclusive new recipes and updates!