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Vegan Pineapple Upside Down Cake on a plate.

Vegan Pineapple Upside Down Cake

  • Author: Liz Madsen
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 9.5 inch cake 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Sweet, fluffy, and full of flavor, this Vegan Pineapple Upside Down Cake is soft, buttery, and delightful any time of year. It’s easy to make, will impress your guests, and magically disappears because it’s so good.


Units Scale


  • 10 pineapple rings (a 20 oz can should work)(see note 1)
  • 19 pitted cherries (see note 2)
  • 2-3 tbsp coconut cream or vegan butter (see note 3)
  • 1/2 cup organic brown sugar


  • 1/4 cup coconut cream or vegan butter
  • 2/3 cup organic cane sugar
  • 2/3 cup + 1 tbsp vegan sour cream
  • 2 Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer eggs (see note 4)
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-3/4 cup (180g) all purpose flour (see note 5)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Vegan Sour Cream (or use store bought)

  • 8 oz silken tofu
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp salt


  1. NOTE: I used a 9.5 inch standard glass pyrex pie dish for this recipe, though it would work great in a tall 8 or 9 inch cake tin -- round or square should work fine. You just want something deep enough so that the cake doesn’t overflow; my 9.5” dish is 2” and the filling came right up to the edge but did not overflow.
  2. Prep: Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (or 177 degrees Celsius) and drying out your fruit with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels. Dry your fruit as much as possible as wetter fruit may make your cake soggy at the bottom (and then the top, when you flip it). I layered my pineapple rings between two layers of cloth and pressed lightly. With the cherries, I added them to a bowl and very gently patted them dry with a paper towel. When liquid no longer pools at the bottom, the cherries are dry enough to use.
  3. Make the topping: In your pie dish, add a bit of room temperature coconut cream or vegan butter. I started with 2 tablespoons. Spread it out with a spatula or your fingers (I thought my hands ended up being easier to get everything even). It’s ok if some of it’s a little melty and some’s a little solid. You want even coverage, so add a little more if you need to. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over the coconut cream or vegan butter. Brown sugar tends to clump so I just did this part with my fingers. 
  4. Place the fruit: Now lay the pineapple slices down on the bottom of your dish. I used all 10 slices that came in my canned pineapple--I cut the last few slices in half and those pieces ended up going on the sides of my pie. See process picture for how I laid it out. Place cherries in between the gaps--I used the larger cherries in the pineapple holes and the smaller ones in the gaps between pineapple rings. Refrigerate the pie dish while you make the batter in a separate bowl, this will help “set” the topping.
  5. Make the cake batter: In a medium or large mixing bowl, mix or “cream” together your coconut cream or vegan butter and organic cane sugar until it looks fairly well combined. Add the rest of your wet ingredients--the set up vegan egg replacer, vegan sour cream and vanilla extract. Sprinkle the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt over the top of your wet ingredients and use a spatula to stir until just combined, scraping the bottom of the bowl as you mix to incorporate everything. Don’t overmix.
  6. Assemble the cake: Remove your pie dish from the refrigerator and use a spoon or your spatula to evenly add the thick batter to your cake, making sure to cover any fruit you see. Don’t be concerned about the way that it looks, because this is the BOTTOM of our cake!
  7. Bake: Bake for 40 - 42 minutes total, tenting the cake with aluminum foil halfway through the baking process so the top doesn’t get too browned. To tent, just take a sheet of aluminum foil slightly longer than the diameter of your pie dish, fold the center and then lay it over the cake in the oven like a little tent. The cake is done when an inserted toothpick (or cake tester) comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and set on a cooling rack to cool in the pie dish for about 25 minutes.
  8. Release the Cake: To release the cake easily, use a butter knife and carefully run it along the inside edge of the dish, being careful not to poke the cake. Place the cooling rack upside down on your right side up cake (get it? sorry.) and flip it in one smooth motion. There will be a little liquid dripping out--that’s OK. I like to place a baking tray underneath the cooling rack with the inverted cake to catch the drippings and keep my table clean.
  9. Let it cool, not go: Let the cake cool completely. I know it’s tempting to take a slice while it’s still warm, but I find that the texture of the cake is best when it’s allowed to cool completely. Do NOT put it in the fridge or freezer to cool it--this will make it the cake denser. Ask me how I know. 
  10. Store: Store the cake covered on the countertop for up to 4 days or freeze in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months.


  • Note 1: I used canned pineapple (in fruit juice, not syrup) and canned Maraschino cherries without stems, but fresh fruit will work just fine, just make sure you slice it evenly.
  • Note 2: You might notice my cherries are not as bright as typical cherries in upside down cakes--that’s because I used canned dark cherries, as I just couldn’t justify using maraschino cherries with corn syrup, sugar, AND heavy corn syrup! Plus I just actually don’t like maraschino cherries. Never have. But you could still use maraschino cherries for this recipe if you like them and it will work just fine.
  • Note 3: In addition to the coconut cream in the mixture for the fruit topping, I also used it in my cake ingredients--but a small amount (¼) cup. The cake needs a little fat to be so luscious in taste and texture, but you could sub more of the low fat sour cream or applesauce if you’d like to try that. I wouldn’t mess with the topping outside of subbing vegan butter. I don’t know if it would work with a non-fatty substance.
  • Note 4: My favorite egg replacer is usually flax eggs (ground flaxseed mixed with water), but sometimes I want one that won’t leave brown flecks of seed in my food. Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer is fantastic for this. All you do is mix it with a little water and it gels in under a minute.
  • Note 5: I used regular all purpose flour for this recipe, but you could try it with a healthier flour like whole wheat or spelt, just keep in mind those flours generally need a bit more moisture and are higher in gluten so your came might not be very tender. For a gluten-free vegan pineapple upside down cake, I recommend using a quality cup for cup flour like King Arthur’s Measure for Measure Gluten-Free Flour or Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-Free Flour.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Oil-Free, Nut-Free, Can be Gluten-Free, Can be Soy-Free, Vegan Cake, Vegan Pineapple Upside Down Cake