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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Vegan Pineapple Upside Down Cake

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This easy vegan pineapple upside down cake is sure to be a crowd-pleaser at your next family dinner. It’s a simple cake recipe, made extra gooey from the caramelized pineapple and yummy moist vanilla cake base. Enjoy this vegan version of a childhood favorite as is, or serve it with warm custard or vanilla ice cream!

eggless vegan pineapple upside down cake recipe on a cake platter

We all have that one classic cake that takes us on a journey back to our childhoods. Well, the delicious vegan pineapple upside down cake is my nostalgia cake! Your parents or grandparents may even have fond memories eating this classic cake, as it goes back to the early 60s!

You can make this retro cake any time of the year using canned pineapples (if fresh pineapples aren’t in season), and if you have a sweet tooth, add some fresh cherries next time with the addition of fresh fruit.

Latest Recipe Video!

Whether you make this homemade vegan pineapple upside down cake recipe on a hot summer’s day or a cold winter’s night, you can enjoy this classic vegan cake with warm custard or a soft, smooth vegan vanilla ice cream. The options are endless, and there is no wrong way of eating this gorgeous vintage dessert!

👩🏽‍🍳 Why This Recipe Works

  • Moist cake texture
  • Can easily be made gluten-free
  • Simple ingredients
  • Refined sugar-free
  • Healthier version of classic pineapple upside down cake, but tastes just as good!
  • Can be made any time of the year
  • Serve as a tea-time cake or as a dessert
  • Best eggless pineapple upside down cake ever!

🥘 Ingredients

Most of the ingredients for this easy recipe can be found in your pantry or at the grocery store! You can even make this recipe when pineapples aren’t in season, thanks to canned sweet pineapple – which is always available. For the full instructions and nutritional information, see the recipe card below.

ingredients for easy eggless vegan pineapple upside down cake recipe

Dry Ingredients

White Whole Wheat Flour: Not to be confused with regular whole wheat flour, white whole wheat flour is a true whole grain milled from a wheat variety that is lighter in color than conventional whole wheat flour, hence the name. White whole wheat flour has a pleasing, subtle natural sweetness since it lacks the bitter tannins found in regular whole wheat bran. It also has a wonderful golden color when it comes out of the oven, rather than the darker brown tones you might expect from conventional whole wheat flour. White whole wheat flour also has a higher nutritional value than all-purpose flour.

Baking Powder: This is to help the cake rise. If you don’t have baking powder, you can make a baking powder substitute using baking soda and cream of tartar. 1 teaspoon cream of tartar + 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda = 2 teaspoons of baking powder.

Coconut or Light Brown Sugar: Depending on how sweet or healthy you want this vegan upside down cake to be, you can choose between coconut or light brown sugar. Coconut sugar is unrefined and less processed with a lower glycemic index than white or brown sugar. If you use dark brown sugar, your cake will come out of the oven darker in color.

Wet Ingredients

Canned Pineapple Rings or Fresh Pineapple: If you want to go for a more quick, sweet, and traditional approach, then you’ll need canned slices of pineapple. However, fresh pineapple works just as well.

Maple Syrup: Maple syrup is less processed than regular sugar, and is vegan friendly. When baking this vegan upside-down cake, you can expect the syrup to moisten the cake more, providing a natural way to sweeten the cake, too. Maple syrup also crystallizes, so expect a sticky, caramelized, yummy top of the cake once you’ve flipped it over!

Almond Milk: If you have a nut allergy, you can use regular milk or another type of non-dairy milk instead of unsweetened almond milk.

Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is healthier than canola oil and vegetable oil. It has been shown to enhance “good” HDL cholesterol levels concerning total cholesterol, potentially lowering the risk of heart disease. The cake will have a delicious subtle coconut flavor combined with the coconut sugar and keep the cake moist.

Vanilla Paste: You’ll get a more prominent, rich vanilla flavor using vanilla paste instead of vanilla extract, which is more subtle in flavor.

📖 Variations

If you’re looking to make some changes, you can switch things up with these substitutions:

  • Gluten-Free Flour: If you’re looking for a vegan gluten free pineapple upside down cake, then replace the flour with a gluten-free version of your choice. Just make sure whatever blend you use has xanthan gum added. A suitable replacement I would recommend is a 1:1 gluten free baking flour blend like Bob’s Red Mill.
  • Sugar: If you don’t have coconut sugar, you can also use your favorite dark brown sugar, date sugar, or monk fruit sweetener. Using monk fruit or stevia instead of the coconut sugar and maple syrup will make this a sugar-free cake, but you likely won’t get the same caramelization as
  • Milk: I used almond milk, but you can use any plant milk alternative such as coconut milk, cashew milk, oat milk, or hemp milk. Ordinary cow milk will be fine if you’re neither vegan nor dairy-free.
  • Maraschino Cherry Topping: Feel free to add candied cherries or maraschino cherries to the top of the pineapple cake. Just keep in mind the cake will be higher in sugar and calories with this more decadent addition!
  • Different Dessert Option: If you want to turn this vegan pineapple upside-down cake from a regular white cake into an even more decadent dessert, then serve it with warm custard, ice cream, whipped coconut cream, or chopped pecan nuts.

🔪 Instructions

Preheat Oven, Prep Pineapple: Preheat the oven to 350ºF or 180ºC and line the 8-inch cake pan with parchment paper. Drain the pineapple slices and arrange them at the bottom of the pan. Pour the maple syrup over the pineapple slices. Set aside.

pineapples and maple syrup in a baking dish

Mix Wet Ingredients: Whisk the almond milk, coconut oil, coconut sugar, and vanilla paste in a large mixing bowl until smooth and combined.

wet ingredients mixed in a bowl

Mix Dry Ingredients: In a separate bowl, whisk the flour with baking powder.

dry ingredients combined in a bowl

Make Cake Batter: Add in half of the flour mixture and whisk until well combined. Add in the rest and mix until combined.

wet and dry ingredients mixed together in a bowl

Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly.

cake batter in a cake tin

Bake for 40 minutes until the toothpick comes out clean. Serve: Let the cake cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Then remove the cake from the pan, inverting the pan and peeling off the parchment paper. Slice and enjoy!

slices of easy gluten free eggless vegan pineapple upside down cake recipe on a cake platter

❓Recipe FAQs

HOW DO YOU SERVE THIS vegan pineapple cake?

How you choose to serve this delicious cake is up to you. Enjoy it on a cake stand or serving dish plain with a cup of coffee or tea, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, drenched in yummy custard, or a dollop of whipped cream.

This retro cake is best served warm, so if you are eating a slice a day or two later, warm it up in the microwave for a few seconds or enjoy it at room temperature.

While baking the cake, you can get decorative and place the pineapple rings in a circular pattern in the center of the cake while remaining on the bottom of the cake pan. Your little cake on a serving platter will have a five-star rating from your guests and will be the main topic at your dinner party!

WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO STORE THIS VEGAN UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE?

The best way to store this cake is in the refrigerator. Transfer to an airtight container, and it will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.

To freeze the cake, slice it into individual pieces, cover each in foil, and store it in an airtight container for up to 3 months. To serve from frozen, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then warm in the microwave or the oven at 350 degrees until thoroughly warmed.

WHY IS MY PINEAPPLE UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE SOGGY?

If you’re not a fan of classic pineapple upside down cake due to it always being soggy, it’s most likely due to excess liquid in the cake batter or caramelized pineapple topping. To avoid a soggy pineapple upside-down cake, make sure you blot any excess pineapple juice and only use the amount of juice or liquid specified in the recipe.

HOW LONG SHOULD YOU WAIT TO FLIP A PINEAPPLE UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE?

It’s tempting to rush through the last steps after taking your pineapple upside-down cake out of the oven. For best results, you must wait for all of the ingredients on the bottom of the pan to settle into the cake. This could take up to 30 minutes. If you don’t wait for it to settle, the bottom ingredients will spill all over the place when you flip it.

You also need to make sure you don’t leave the cake to cool down for too long, as the bottom of the cake tin is sticky and may stick to the sides of the pan, making it harder for you to get it flipped without making a mess!

slice of vegan pineapple upside-down cake recipe on a white plate

💭 Expert Tips

  • If you have food allergies – specifically nut allergies – substitute the almond milk with an alternative such as soy milk, low fat, or dairy milk.
  • You will likely need to cut the cherries into halves if you add them with the pineapples. Because of this, you need to remember that the cake will be turned over, and whatever is on the bottom will be on the top. To prevent this from happening, position the cherries curved side facing down with the sliced side facing up towards you.
  • You can adjust the recipe to make it gluten-free by replacing the white whole wheat flour with a gluten-free alternative flour.
  • If you don’t have parchment paper and want to make this vegan cake, use a butter knife and spread the cake pan with vegan butter. Another alternative is to spray the cake pan with a non-stick spray.
  • A cast-iron skillet is an excellent replacement for a cake pan. Once baked, the cake batter becomes a dense cake compared to traditional cakes, so a conventional deep cake dish is unnecessary.
  • If you make this cake recipe ahead of time, rest assured the whole thing freezes and defrosts well.
easy gluten free eggless vegan pineapple upside down cake recipe on a cake platter

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📋 Recipe Card

eggless vegan pineapple upside down cake recipe on a cake platter
Print Recipe
5 from 6 votes

Vegan Pineapple Upside Down Cake

This easy vegan pineapple upside down cake is sure to be a crowd-pleaser at your next family dinner. It's a simple cake recipe, made extra gooey from the caramelized pineapple and yummy moist vanilla cake base. Enjoy this vegan version of a childhood favorite as is, or serve it with warm custard or vanilla ice cream!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Vegan
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 182kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

For The Pineapple Topping

  • 1 15oz can pineapple slices (drained) or 1 fresh pineapple, cut into rings
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup (45 ml)

For The Cake Base

  • cup white whole wheat flour (240 grams)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk (or any other plant-based milk) (220 ml)
  • ½ cup coconut oil (118 ml)
  • cup coconut sugar or light brown sugar (75 grams)
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF or 180ºC and line the 8-inch cake pan with parchment paper.
  • Drain the pineapple slices and arrange them at the bottom of the pan. Pour the maple syrup over the pineapple slices. Set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl whisk the almond milk, coconut oil, coconut sugar and vanilla paste until smooth and combined.
  • In a separate bowl whisk the flour with baking powder.
  • Add in half of the flour mixture and whisk until well combined. Add in the rest and mix until combined.
  • Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly.
  • Bake for 40 minutes until the toothpick comes out clean.
  • Let it cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Then remove the cake from the pan by inverting the pan and peeling off the parchment paper.
  • Slice and enjoy!

Video

Notes

  • If you have food allergies – specifically nut allergies – substitute the almond milk with an alternative such as soy milk, low fat, or dairy milk.
  • Add candied cherries if you like, but note the cake will be higher is sugar and calories.
  • You will likely need to cut the cherries into halves if you add them with the pineapples. Because of this, you need to remember that the cake will be turned over, and whatever is on the bottom will be on the top. To prevent this from happening, position the cherries curved side facing down with the sliced side facing up towards you.
  • You can adjust the recipe to make it gluten-free by replacing the white whole wheat flour with a gluten-free alternative flour.
  • If you don’t have parchment paper and want to make this vegan cake, use a butter knife and spread the cake pan with vegan butter. Another alternative is to spray the cake pan with a non-stick spray.
  • A cast-iron skillet is an excellent replacement for a cake pan. Once baked, the cake batter becomes a dense cake compared to traditional cakes, so a conventional deep cake dish is unnecessary.
  • If you make this cake recipe ahead of time, rest assured the whole thing freezes and defrosts well.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 182kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 30mg | Potassium: 139mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 11g

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Dessert ·

Indulge your sweet tooth with some of my lightened-up treats. From gluten-free brownies to fruity crumbles, there’s something for everyone.

Be sure to check out holiday favorites like my healthy pumpkin pie!

10 responses to “Vegan Pineapple Upside Down Cake”

  1. This Vegan Pineapple Upside Down Cake was so good I ended making it again to take to a friend! I am happy I found this new recipe yesterday!5 stars

  2. This pineapple upside down cake looks beautiful and I love that it’s made with healthier ingredients. I can’t wait to try it!5 stars

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