This vegan pineapple upside down cake recipe is easy to make, using simple ingredients for a deliciously soft and fluffy cake loaded with pineapple flavor.
With a buttery brown sugar and pineapple “topping” under vanilla-pineapple cake, this irresistible dessert is even non-vegan approved! It’s perfect for whenever you want a delicious, classic cake with tropical flavors.
Skill: Easy | Time: 55 min | Servings: 10-12
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Is Pineapple Upside Down Cake Vegan?
Most upside down cake recipes include eggs and/ or dairy, making them non-vegan. However, with a few simple substitutions, these traditional recipes can be made vegan while keeping those lovely flavors and textures!
This recipe calls for a vegan butter substitute (or margarine) and plant-based milk to replace dairy. You’ll also use flaxseed as a simple egg replacement.
The rest of its simple ingredients are naturally vegan although not all sugar is vegan. Many granulated sugars are processed with bone char; luckily there are companies that do not use this method but it’s worth looking into if that’s a concern for you.
Ingredients to Make Eggless Pineapple Upside Down Cake
The ingredients for this cake are all quite basic and should be easy to find. They’ll work together to create a tender and fluffy cake with a delicious, perfectly sweet pineapple topping!
- Vegan butter or margarine: Once melted, you’ll mix vegan butter with brown sugar to create a delicious glaze for the pineapple to cook in.
- Brown sugar: Along with butter, brown sugar creates an irresistibly sweet layer for the “top” of your cake.
- Pineapple rings: You can’t make a pineapple cake without the star ingredient! I use canned pineapple rings since they’re easy to find and work perfectly. Save some liquid from the can to use in the cake batter!
- Maraschino cherries: While this is an optional ingredient, traditional pineapple upside down cakes often feature cherries in the center of pineapple rings. This adds a nice contrasting flavor and color. You can use extra pineapple pieces if you prefer.
- Flaxseed: Ground flaxseed is an easy and nutritious way to create an eggless pineapple upside down cake! Simply mix with water and soak while you prepare the other liquid ingredients to create a “flax egg”. This provides structure to the cake.
- Plant-based milk: Most cake recipes use milk so to keep this recipe easily vegan, select a plant-based milk. I use soy milk since it’s creamy and offers great flavor and texture in the cake (although any plant-based milk should work).
- Apple cider vinegar: When added to plant-based milk, vinegar will curdle the milk, creating a quick and easy vegan buttermilk substitute. This adds even more flavor!
- Pineapple juice: For a delicious boost of pineapple flavor in your cake, save some liquid from the canned pineapple.
- Oil: To provide liquid for the cake batter and create a deliciously soft cake, select any neutral tasting vegetable oil. I typically use avocado oil since it’s mild in taste.
- Granulated sugar: To add the perfect amount of sweetness to your vanilla cake batter, basic granulated sugar works well.
- Vanilla extract: Some vanilla extract significantly boosts the flavor, creating a deliciously simple vanilla cake.
- All-purpose flour: All-purpose flour is the easiest choice for a soft and tender cake.
- Baking powder: This creates lift and results in a perfectly fluffy cake!
How to Make Egg Free Pineapple Cake: Instructions and Video Tutorial
While there are a few steps required to create upside down cake, each one is simple. Watch the video below or read through these detailed directions!
Step 1: Prep Pineapple Topping
To start, prep the base layer of your cake pan which, once flipped, becomes the top.
Melt vegan butter (or margarine) and stir in brown sugar until dissolved. Pour this into your 8 or 9-inch round cake pan. Grease the pan’s edges to ensure the cake doesn’t stick.
Next, open a can of pineapple slices and strain the liquid into a cup for use in your cake batter. Pat dry each slice of pineapple with a paper towel to prevent the top of your cake from being soggy.
Arrange the pineapple slices however you like in the bottom of your cake pan, over the layer of brown sugar and butter.
If using maraschino cherries, rinse the syrup off and pat them dry with paper towel too. Arrange your cherries around and inside the pineapple slices.
Step 2: Make Cake Batter
This cake is simple to make. To start, mix ground flaxseed with water and set aside. The flaxseed absorbs water to create a gel which is a great replacement for eggs in vegan baking. It adds structure to the eggless cake!
Next, in a large mixing bowl, whisk soy milk with apple cider vinegar. This creates a quick and easy vegan buttermilk substitute.
Then whisk in the remaining liquid ingredients including pineapple juice, oil, sugar and vanilla extract. When well-mixed, whisk in your thickened flaxseed “egg”.
After that, switch to a spoon. Stir in flour and baking powder. When the cake batter is mixed, stop stirring. You won’t want to overwork the batter.
Step 3: Assemble and Bake
Carefully spread your cake batter over the prepared pineapple layer in the bottom of your pan. This is very thick batter, so spoon it all over rather than just into the center. This helps to not shift the pineapple and cherries underneath.
Once the cake batter is spread evenly to all edges, place into your oven, preheated at 350 °F.
It’ll take 30-35 minutes to bake. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean when ready.
Step 4: Cool, Flip and Serve
Allow your cake to rest in the pan for 10-15 minutes. Once cool, carefully run a knife around the edge to release any sections that have stuck.
Place a cake plate (or any large plate) over your cake. Hold the cake pan and plate together tightly and flip in one quick movement.
Carefully lift the cake pan straight up, releasing your cake upside down onto the plate! Slice into 10-12 pieces and serve your delicious vegan dessert!
Tips, Substitutions and Variations
With any baking recipe, it’s best to follow the directions exactly and not make substitutions to the cake batter. Don’t overmix the cake batter, just stir until everything is combined then stop mixing!
However, when it comes to the topping layer, you can experiment with pretty much any fruit! Pineapple makes a classic upside down cake but you can get creative with different fruits.
Keep in mind, if you don’t use pineapple, you won’t have pineapple juice for the cake batter and need to substitute for extra plant-based milk.
To help your flip go well, generously grease the pan and carefully run a knife along the sides. Hold the plate/ cake board securely onto the pan and flip in one quick motion.
You should feel the cake fall onto the plate; wait for this before lifting the cake pan. If it’s not falling, tap the cake pan until it does. Lift the cake pan straight up off the cake and enjoy!
How to Store Leftovers
Since this is a very moist cake, it’s best to store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. It’ll last up to a week without losing any flavor or texture.
You can also freeze leftover slices of cake in an airtight container for up to 2 months.
I hope you enjoy this recipe! If you make it, please rate and comment below so others benefit from your experience.
More Delicious Vegan Dessert Recipes
Vegan Pineapple Upside Down Cake
- 9-inch cake pan/ baking dish
- Small bowl
- Large mixing bowl
- Can Opener
- Large stirring spoon
- Paper towel
- 3 tbsp vegan butter (or margarine)
- ⅓ C brown sugar
- 6 slices canned pineapple (pineapple rings)
- 10-12 maraschino cherries
Prep Pineapple Topping
- Melt 3 tbsp vegan butter or margarine in a small microwave safe bowl.
- Stir in ⅓ C brown sugar until dissolved.
- Pour this mixture into the 9-inch baking dish and spread across the bottom.
- Remove pineapple rings from can, reserving at least ¼ C liquid. Pat each pineapple slice dry using a paper towel.
- Arrange pineapple slices across the bottom of your baking dish.
- Pat maraschino cherries dry with paper towel. Place a cherry into the center hole of each pineapple ring and any other gaps.
Make Cake Batter
- In a small bowl, mix 1 tbsp ground flaxseed with 2 tbsp water. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk ½ C soy milk with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar.
- Next, whisk in ¼ C pineapple juice (from can), ½ C oil, ½ C granulated sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract until well mixed.
- Whisk in the flaxseed-water mixture until combined.
- Next, stir in 1 ½ C all-purpose flour and ½ tbsp baking powder. Stir until everything is mixed and there are no dry clumps of flour. When it’s mixed stop stirring to not overwork the batter.
Assemble and Bake
- Carefully pour cake batter over the pineapple rings in your baking dish.
- Gently spread the cake batter (it’ll be quite thick) into an even layer.
- Bake in an oven preheated to 350 °F for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool, Flip and Serve
- Allow cake to cool in the baking dish for about 15 minutes.
- Gently run a knife around the edge to release any spots of cake that stuck.
- Place a plate, cake board or other flat surface over top of the cake pan. Carefully flip the cake in one quick motion. Lift the cake pan away carefully.
- You can serve the cake warm out of the oven or allow it to cool before serving.
- Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 1 week.