Lightened Up Pineapple Upside Down Cake
This Lightened Up Pineapple Upside Down Cake has everything you enjoy about the original, with fewer calories. You’ll love the super moist cake and caramelized pineapple topping!
Pineapple Upside Down Cake is one of those desserts we’ve all had before, but most of us haven’t made ourselves. I decided to remedy that and try my hand at making it at home—and I wanted to make a version that was a little bit lighter than the traditional.
The standard is delicious, of course, but it also has room to cut back on some of the sugar since the pineapple already brings a lot of sweetness to the table!
Spoiler alert: my Lightened Up Pineapple Upside Down Cake was a huge success. It’s super moist, full of tropical flavor, and has that same layer of irresistible caramelized pineapple on the bottom (or the top, once you flip it!). I’d recommend serving it slightly warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, but that probably defeats the purpose of lightening up the recipe, doesn’t it?
The recipe I used for this cake is from America’s Test Kitchen’s Comfort Food Makeover Cookbook, with a simple swap of canned pineapple tidbits for frozen, which I couldn’t find at my local grocery store.
(For another version of this cake, try my Cast Iron Skillet Pineapple Not Upside Down Cake!)
Ingredients for Lightened Up Pineapple Upside Down Cake
While there are no maraschino cherries in this recipe, you can totally add them if that’s your thing.
For the pineapple topping:
- Pineapple tidbits
- Brown sugar
- Unsalted butter
- Lemon juice
- Vanilla extract
For the cake:
- Baking powder
- Sour cream
- Brown sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Unsalted butter
How to Make Pineapple Upside Down Cake
When you see how easy it is to make pineapple upside down cake at home, you’re going to want to make it alllll the time!
Prepare. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and spray a 9-inch cake pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Make the pineapple topping. In a skillet set over medium-high heat, combine the pineapple and brown sugar. Cook for about 12 minutes, stirring often, until the pineapple is lightly browned and the juices are nearly evaporated. Remove from heat and stir in the butter, vanilla, and lemon juice, then pour this mixture into the prepared cake pan and spread it onto the bottom in an even layer.
Make the cake batter. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the sour cream, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, and butter. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and stir just until combined.
Bake. Pour the cake batter over the pineapple and bake for 25 to 27 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool and serve. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert it on a plate and release it from the pan. Top with the extra pineapple, if there was any. Let the cake continue cooling for another hour before serving.
Should You Wait for Cake to Cool Before Removing It From the Pan?
You might think that a cake is more likely to stay intact if you wait for it to cool completely, but it’s actually best to remove cakes while they’re still slightly warm. The perfect amount of time depends on the type of cake, but for this pineapple upside down cake, it’s about 10 minutes.
Tips for Success
Making pineapple upside down cake is easy, but these tips will help make it perfect!
- Don’t overdo the pineapple. If, when you pour the pineapple mixture into the pan, you have extra, scoop it out and set it aside for topping the cake when you serve it. Making the pineapple layer too thick will make your cake soggy.
- Keeping it from sticking. Make sure you thoroughly coat the pan in cooking spray. Really get into all the edges!
- Making it ahead. You can make pineapple upside down cake up to 3 days in advance.
How to Store
Pineapple upside down cake should be stored in the refrigerator. Wrap it in the cake pan or place it in an airtight container; it will last up to 3 to 4 days in the fridge.
Can You Freeze Pineapple Upside Down Cake?
Yes, once the cake has cooled, it can be wrapped and frozen for up to 3 months. Let the cake thaw in the refrigerator before serving.
Homemade Recipes Inspired To TryPrint
A little less guilt means you can have another slice, right? Try this Lightened Up Pineapple Upside Down Cake!
- 2 Large Cans Pineapple Tidbits, drained
- 1/3 cup Brown Sugar
- 2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 2 tsp Lemon Juice
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 cup Flour
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 cup Sour Cream
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
- 4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled
For the Pineapple
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a skillet, combine pineapple and brown sugar over medium high heat and cook, stirring often, until the pineapple is light brown and the juices are nearly evaporated. This will take about 12 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and add butter, vanilla, and lemon juice.
- Pour the pineapple into a 9 inch cake pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Spread the pineapple out on the bottom of the pan into a single layer. If there is excess pineapple, remove from the pan and set aside.
For the Cake
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In the larger mixing bowl, whisk together the sour cream, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla and butter. Gently stir in the flour until just combined.
- Pour over the pineapple in the cake pan and bake for 25-27 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and then invert on a plate and release from pan. Top with extra pineapple if there was any.
- Wait for 1 hour for cake to cool before serving.
To store: Pineapple upside down cake should be stored in the refrigerator. Wrap it in the cake pan or place it in an airtight container; it will last up to 3 to 4 days in the fridge.
To freeze: Once the cake has cooled, it can be wrapped and frozen for up to 3 months. Let the cake thaw in the refrigerator before serving.
Recipe mildly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen’s Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Keywords: upside down cake, easy pineapple upside down cake, homemade pineapple upside down cake