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All Natural Pineapple Upside Down Cake

To celebrate National Pineapple Upside Down Cake Day on April 20th, we whipped up this classic dessert using natural ingredients!

Growing up, seeing a pan of pineapple-upside down cake for dessert after Sunday lunch made me long for a box of cookies. I didn't like the mushy texture on top created by the fruit. Plus, there was no frosting.

Now that I'm older and wiser, I know you don't need frosting because the sweet sogginess on top (or is it the bottom?) of the cake is the best part. And, now I love to see my grandmother place one on the table on Sunday afternoons.

Since my family has recently embarked on a journey of eating more whole foods, less refined carbs and the like, baking an old-fashioned pineapple upside down cake seemed out of the question. My grandmother's recipe includes a box cake mix, corn syrup and white and brown sugar. A quick perusal through my cookbooks and online recipes shows the same thing.

So with National Pineapple Upside Down Cake Day on April 20 (Isn't it fun that there are entire days solely dedicated to the celebration of specific desserts?), I knew it was the perfect opportunity to try and recreate the recipe to include more natural ingredients and less sugar, but still result in the moist, sweet cake I so enjoy.

I first mixed up a yellow cake from scratch using whole wheat flour, honey and coconut oil. Then, I made substitutions to my grandmother's recipe for the syrupy, pineapple topping, which means honey instead of white sugar and cutting the brown sugar amount in half.

  • For Cake:
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup (or 8 tablespoon) coconut oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 cup milk
  • For Topping:
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • pineapple slices (I needed seven.)
  • Maraschino cherries



Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray.

Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl. Set aside.

Cream honey and coconut oil in a mixer until smooth.

Add eggs and vanilla. Mix until combined.

Add in flour mixture and milk alternately to the mixing bowl, ending with the flour. Mix until just blended.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter with honey and brown sugar, stirring occasionally until the mixture bubbles up. Pour into prepared cake pan.

Place pineapple slices on top of sauce. Put one cherry inside each pineapple slice.

Pour cake batter over sauce and pineapple.

Bake 40-45 minutes or until edges are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool about 5 minutes in the pan before turning the cake out onto a serving platter.

Serves 8-10 depending on how big you cut the slices

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