A classic American cake! With this vegan pineapple upside down cake no one will realize it’s vegan! Caramelized pineapple, with a rich, moist cake will be the perfect summer staple!
Let me start by saying that if you’ve never had a pineapple upside down cake of any sort, then you need to run, not walk, to your local grocer and get all these ingredients ASAP. The second thing I’ll say is, you will be blown away by how close this vegan pineapple upside down cake tastes like the original.
Deliciously sweet cake with caramelized pineapples and a soft, rich, and moist cake. It’s literally everything you want in a cake!
It’s also a showstopper, so if you are trying to impress someone with a cake, but you or they, don’t care for frosting, a vegan pineapple upside down cake is the perfect option.
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What ingredients do I need to make vegan pineapple upside down cake?
In order to make this vegan pineapple upside down cake recipe you need just 12 ingredients!
Full amounts of each ingredients is listed in the printable recipe card below.
The ingredients that you need for this vegan pineapple upside cake are:
- vegan butter – vegan butter is rich and flavorful, but for this recipe, it’s reacting with the brown sugar to make a sauce that drizzles over the cake once inverted
- brown sugar – Brown sugar is what we are using for moisture and sweetness. It also helps the caramelization of the pineapples. If you want to learn more about why your sugar may not be vegan, you can learn more by clicking on the link.
- pineapple slices – it’s a pineapple cake, so we need pineapples. Canned pineapples are the traditional way to make them since they are more moist and all uniform size. However, you can use fresh as well.
- maraschino cherries (no stems)– These cherries go in the middle of each slice of pineapple. More for color and appearance than anything else.
- flour – All-purpose flour because we wanted this recipe to be as accessible as possible for everyone.
- vegan sugar – In the actual cake part, we are using vegan granulated sugar for sweetness. This creams well together with the other ingredients
- vegan shortening (usually labeled vegetarian or vegetable) – this is to create a more rich and decadent cake using the fat from the shortening without adding a lot of liquid
- baking powder – added to cake for leavening purposes
- salt – this helps enhance the flavor and while you may be tempted to reduce or omit, we encourage you not too
- dairy free milk – Using milk instead of water adds more flavor into the recipe. Use either unsweetened plain or unsweetened vanilla flavored milk, but you don’t want any sweetened milk in this already sweet recipe.
- vanilla – we are keeping it simple with extract for this recipe since it’s an ingredient that most people already have in their pantry
- applesauce – what we are using for our egg replacer.
Variations and Substitutions:
- brown sugar – coconut sugar or date sugar could work here
- maraschino cherries (no stems)– Fresh cherries can also be used, but they need to be seeded and stems removed
- flour – Gluten Free flour could also be used. You want a 1:1 gluten free flour blend
- vegan shortening (usually labeled vegetarian or vegetable) – coconut oil (not melted) could be used here as well
- applesauce – applesauce can be replaced with other fruit/veg puree like pear puree or sweet potatoes. Bananas would also work but alter the taste. Other options are flax egg, dairy free yogurt or coconut cream.
While these are all great substitutions, note that any changes from the original recipe will alter the taste and/or texture.
Frequently Asked Questions on how to make vegan pineapple upside down cake:
Canned pineapple are traditionally used because they have consistent shape and moisture levels. That being said, fresh pineapple can also be used. You may need to cut them as you may not be able to get three rows of three across here.
Yes. You will want to make sure that you remove the seed and stem from the fresh cherries if using.
You can swap out the flour for gluten free 1:1 blend.
For the butter, pick a soy free option.
You can also replace the shortening in the recipe with not melted coconut oil or the same soy free vegan butter.
Any non-dairy milk will work.
This cake is best served warmed right out of the oven within a few days; however it’s still possible to make ahead.
You can make this cake 3 days in advance. Beyond that, because this cake is so moist, you risk mold growth. So, I highly recommend, especially if serving guests, that you don’t make it more than that far in advance.
Just make the recipe as directed and once completely cooked and cooled, put in an air safe container and store at room temperature. Warm when serving.
Yes, you will want to let the recipe cool completely and then store in a freezer safe container. Eat within 3 months. To thaw, let sit at room temperature until completely thawed.
What other vegan cake recipes should I make?
Just because you have food allergies or preferences, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be able to have great tasting desserts. We’d even venture to say that these are better than their “normal” counterparts.
These are some other dairy free cake recipes that you should try:
- Vegan Coconut Cake
- Vegan Strawberry Cake
- The Best Vegan Chocolate Cake
- Vegan Carrot Cake
- Vegan Lemon Pound Cake
- Try these vegan vanilla cupcakes in a cake pan
Pin this vegan pineapple upside down cake for later:
Vegan Pineapple Upside Down Cake
- ⅓ cup vegan butter, melted (but not hot)
- ⅔ cup brown sugar
- 9 slices pineapple (canned or fresh)
- 9 maraschino cherries w/o stems (can sub for fresh)
- ⅔ cup vegan shortening
- 2 cups vegan sugar
- 2 cups dairy free milk
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 ⅔ cup flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Pour melted butter into a 9-inch square pan. Take a little more softened butter and rub along the sides of pan.
- Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the melted butter.
- Make 3 rows of 3 pineapple slices and place a cherry in the center of each pineapple.
- Place the pan into the fridge while you make the batter (Don't skip this step).
- In a bowl, cream together vegan shortening and vegan sugar for 3 minutes.
- Add in milk, vanilla, and applesauce and beat again until combined.
- Sift in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat together, scraping down as needed.
- Remove the pan from the fridge. Pour the batter over your pineapples and cherries.
- Bake cake for 75-90 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Carefully remove from oven and immediately place a heatproof serving plate upside down over cake pan.
- Flip the plate and pan over at the same time.
- Let sit for 5 minutes.
- Very gently remove the pan.
- Best served warm.
- Cake can be stored at room temperature in an air tight dish for up to 3 days.
Let’s see your creations!
Share to Instagram and tag us @makeitdairyfree so we can see and share it!
This video was originally published on 6/28/19 and updated on 9/24/19 to add a video.
Hi! Will the cake still cook the same if I use an 8 or 9 inch round pan instead of square? Thank you!
Shouldn’t be much difference, but you can check a few minutes early
Great recipe! Can I replace the apple sauce with a chia egg? It’s hard to find unsweetened apple sauce in the U.K.
Can we replace the shortening with soft margarine ?
Aravind Kumar Jagannathan
I was able to make a perfect vegan pineapple upside down cake for my son’s 3rd birthday last week by following this recipe. :)). I’m happy that I found this recipe.
So happy to hear that! We appreciate you taking time to leave a review. Have a great week! Happy Birthday to your son!
Very easy to make and very tasty…but just a tad too sweet for my tastes. Next time, I’ll try reducing the sugar to 1 1/2 cups and see how that fares, while also including the pineapple juice that the rings are packed in with the plant milk for a bit more pineapple flavor – I don’t know what it is but baking pineapple steals a lot of its flavor. I had the same thing happen with holiday roasts (vegan and pre-vegan). Weird.
5 of 5 for ease in making, 4 of 5 for overall flavor. Maybe a little cinnamon and allspice or clove next time and we’ll see how that works. Still, a definite hit that I’ve saved to my collection!
Just checked my larder…I have all of the ingredients on hand. The only thing I DON’T have is the time to make it tonight, so I’ll be making this tomorrow and will be sure to snap a pic of it to share with you!
We can’t wait to hear what you think!
Im so confused while making this…. is it 2- 2/3 cup of flour or 2 & 2/3 cup???? It wasn’t at all runny or batter like haha
That measurement means 2 and 2/3 cup flour
Can I replace the applesauce with pineapple crushed (pineapple sauce pls. Can’t wait to bake this amazing cake
I would puree the pineapple and not just leave crushed so it helps bind. Otherwise yes. Enjoy!
What are the measurements for the ingredients?
It’s right in the printable card above the comment section 🙂
This recipe was amazing! You’d never know it’s vegan- it can compete with the best pineapple upside down cake. The cake texture was moist and soft. A+
—I will say I only used 1 cup of sugar in the cake batter though and it was plenty sweet.
Thanks for the update on the change you made! So happy that you liked the recipe! We appreciate you taking the time to leave a review. Have a great week!