Gluten Free Pineapple Upside Down Cake

I’ve had a number of Facebook fans ask me for a gluten free pineapple upside down cake recipe over the years and I always plan to get right on it, but somehow do not. It’s my husband’s favorite, too! So, finally, yesterday when someone asked me for a recipe again, I developed a recipe immediately and baked it today. It turned out light and high with a perfect, moist texture. I was very pleased. So, without further ado, here is my new gluten free pineapple upside down cake. My husband requests this cake every year for his birthday and he doesn’t even need to eat gluten free.

Gluten Free Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Prep Time: 35 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 26 minutes

Yield: Serves 8

Gluten Free Pineapple Upside Down Cake

A gluten free pineapple upside down cake recipe using Carla's gluten-free all-purpose flour blend recipe (see link for recipe). High rise, moist, tender and sweet!


    For the Topping:
  • 1/2 (20-ounce) can sliced or chunk (sliced in half) pineapple*, drained, and patted dry with paper towels
  • Gluten-Free Maraschino cherries (Royal Harvest natural), cut in half
  • Oil or gluten-free oil spray, for pan
  • 3/4 cup light or golden brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces (or 1/4 cup refined coconut oil + 1 tablespoon full-fat coconut milk)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon full-fat coconut milk (or heavy or regular cream; even whole milk)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • For the Cake:
  • 1-1/2 cups Carla's Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Blend Recipe, plus more for dusting (I used cornstarch not tapioca flour)
  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder (Rumford's)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (or melted and cooled 1/4 cup refined coconut oil + 2 tablespoon full fat coconut milk)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs**, separated, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons milk (non-fat) (or other cow's milk or dairy-free preferably without gum)
  • The Perfect Sweetened Whipped Cream (optional)


    To Make the Topping:
  1. Drain the pineapple and allow to rest on a paper towel-lined plate. Pat them dry; set aside. Allow the cherries to drain as well. Grease and dust with flour the sides only of a 10-inch (or 9-inch) round cake pan; set
  2. Melt together the brown sugar, 5 tablespoons butter, water,and coconut milk, and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat, and cover, stirring occasionally once it melts quite a bit. (Important: Be sure not to get any sugar on the sides of the pan or the mixture may crystalize. Instead, wipe down any sugar on the sides with a moistened pastry brush.) Be sure the sugar dissolves. If you have a thermometer, heat to no higher than 220°F.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 tablespoon full-fat coconut milk or cream. (Even whole milk works.)
  4. Arrange the pineapple pieces and cherries in the bottom of the pan; pour the caramel sauce over the fruit; set aside. (Update: This is the opposite of what is shown in the photo, but it looks better if you over cook the sauce.)
  5. To Make the Cake:
  6. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  7. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour blend, baking powder, and salt; set it aside.
  8. In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and beat an addition 2 minutes and until fluffy.
  9. Scrape the sides of the bowl and sift in one-third of the flour and half of the milk, and beat it until it is smooth. Add another third of the flour and the remaining milk and beat until thoroughly incorporated. Add the rest of the flour and mix well.
  10. In a clean mixing bowl with a clean whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on high speed until almost stiff peaks form. Gently fold half of the egg whites into the cake mixture until you can no longer see streaks of egg white.
  11. Fold in the other half of the egg whites until you no longer see streaks of egg white.
  12. Using a silicone/rubber spatula, transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth out the top.
  13. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes for a 10-inch pan and 40 - 45 minutes for a 9-inch pan or until the cake springs back when gently pressed. If you're unsure, bake an additional 2 - 3 minutes and test again.
  14. Transfer the cake while still in the pan for to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.
  15. Invert the pan onto a cake platter and leave inverted for 3 minutes.
  16. Remove the pan, remove any pieces of fruit that has stuck to the pan and place back on the cake. Allow the cake to cool further before serving. If making in advance. Freeze directly on the platter. Once frozen solid, cover with plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. Defrost at room temperature a few hours prior to serving.
  17. If making a 9-inch cake, serve topped with lightly sweetened whipped cream. It provides additional moisture to its thick layer and balances the sweetness. If making the 10-inch version, there is no need for any topping, but feel free to add some if desired.
  18. Below, you will find a photo of the cake with 6 tablespoons of butter, versus the above photo showing 4 tablespoons. (See the below Tips section for additional information.)
  19. Below, you will find a photo of the 10-inch version.


*For a 9-inch round cake pan: You can use two-thirds of a 20-ounce can of pineapple chunks and slice them in half. Otherwise, use a small can of sliced pineapple. Use more for a 10-inch pan.

If you do not care for really sweet cake, try substituting some of the sugar for equal amounts of butter. Cutting sugar alone is not advised, as sugar adds moisture to a cake. The butter will make a good substitute.

**For Egg-Free: replace each egg with 1 tablespoon of fat (to replace the yolk) and 2 tablespoons liquid from a can of white beans (I like the taste of white kidney/cannellini beans) to replace the egg white.

12 Replies to “Gluten Free Pineapple Upside Down Cake”

  1. WOW! That is good cake! And, it came out like it was supposed to! I am making this for the treats I take to church for the gluten free people, they are going to love it! My family loved it for sure! (I used a fresh pineapple and it was amazing)

  2. Facebook comment:

    “I hosted a work party…grilled chicken thighs, grilled tofu, macaroni salad, your pineapple upside down cake (which was absolutely fabulous) and a few sides brought by others. Thanks for the great recipe!”

    ~ A.S.H.

  3. This cake is AMAZING! I made it with my daughter yesterday for a party. It was very well received. The texture is very light (probably because of the step with the egg whites). No one said, “It’s pretty good for a GF cake,” just, “Wow, that’s yummy!”

  4. Facebook Comments – June 1 – 2:

    “Thanks for the recipe. I made it that night. The gluten eaters in my family really like it also. I sent some to a friend who also has Celiac and she ate it all at once. (Two big pieces!!)”


    My question to M.H.:

    “So happy to hear it turned out well, Mary Harris! Did you use my superfine rice flour recipe blend or another flour mix?”

    M.H’s reply:

    “I used yours but with just rice flour instead of superfine rice flour.”

  5. I printed your recipe from May 21, “Gluten Free Pineapple Upside Down Cake” to make for Memorial Day. I made it Saturday and am sorry to say I need to bake another one for our picnic on Sunday. Boy that cake was good!

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