| |

Super Fluffy Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

The fluffiest, most flavorful pineapple upside-down cake starts with box cake mix! This is a large batch recipe, easy to scale up to feed a crowd. Convenient boxed cake mix, luscious pineapple, and other pantry ingredients keep preparation approachable and affordable. Inspired by the vintage classic pineapple upside down cake, this recipe is a crowd-winner every time.

This website uses affiliate links. See our Privacy Policy for more information.

serving of pineapple upside-down cake on white dish surrounded by a swirl of caramel sauce; baked cake is in the background

Why this recipe works

Pineapple upside-down cake is a classic cake topped with pineapple, cherries, nuts, and decadent, buttery, brown sugar syrup. But to cook for a crowd, we want to keep things easy and affordable, so this recipe uses a little hack: boxed cake mix.

Now, stay with me here because if you are making cake for 100 people, you do not want to be making all that cake from scratch. Or maybe you do, so you do you. “This” recipe is for those of you that want the simple cake that does not taste simple.

This recipe works because instead of using water, we use pineapple juice. Not the juice from the can of pineapple which is watery. Actual pineapple juice which is richer and sweeter and will give you yummy, delicious cake that is SUPER easy to make for a lot of people.

whole pineapple upside down cake, removed from bake dish, on bake dish
On the occasion I made this cake, I was short on pineapple slices. There should be 4 more rings down the center.

About the ingredients

There are no challenges to the ingredients for this cake: they are all cheap and easy. And please don’t take “cheap” the wrong way — when I am cooking a church supper for 80 people, I am happy to cook a delicious dish that requires only ingredients that are cheap and easy.

  • Cooking spray.
  • Unsalted butter. Unsalted butter is sweet butter and sweet butter is best. Salted butter can be used if you so choose as it won’t change the way the cake bakes.
  • Light brown sugar.
  • Pineapple slices. Use them from canned pineapple rather than fresh because canned pineapple is soft.
  • Pineapple juice. You can find pineapple juice either in the fresh juice aisle or in cans in the nonrefrigerated juice section.
  • Maraschino cherries. Maraschino cherries are available stemmed and without stems. If you get them without stems, you save yourself the step of removing the stems.
  • Walnut halves and pieces. For crunch! Walnut “halves and pieces” are usually available in the baking aisle.
  • Yellow cake mix.
  • Caramel sauce. It is amazing what a difference a little drizzly finishing touch of sauce makes to elevate take this simple cake made with box mix.
table with many white dishes, each with a serving of cake


How much cake can be made at once is dependent upon two things: oven space and the size of your mixing bowl. My standard oven can accommodate four, 13×9-in bake dishes at once. A mixing bowl can take this recipe as written. My extra-large mixing bowl that I LOVE (see link in recipe card), can accommodate double this recipe (so, 4 boxes cake mix for 4 cakes).

This pineapple upside-down cake is best baked in 13 x 9-inch bake dishes; however, aluminum disposable pans can be used and can be helpful when baking for more people. In the thinner pan, the cake may cook differently so best to check for doneness a bit sooner.

While it is best to invert the cake out of the pan onto a sheet to have the dramatic presentation of a fully “upside-down” cake with the fruit on top, this is not required. An alternative, especially if making a lot of these, is to leave in the pan and use a metal spatula to cut square servings and, one-by-one, invert each onto a serving dish. When cooking for a crowd, there is a tradeoff with making things in advance vs how to serve, so I wanted to give an alternative to allow flexibility.

Rather than melt the butter, simply put the butter in the pan and warm in the oven until the butter is melted.

If you stir maraschino cherry juice into vanilla ice cream, it is so tasty! This is a great way to not waste the cherry juice.

whole pineapple upside down cake without nuts, removed from bake dish, on bake dish
The walnuts can be omitted, as I did on the occasion of this cake, if preferred or if there is need to accommodate a food allergy.


Can the walnuts be omitted?

Yes. If desired, leave out the nuts and I often do especially when serving elderly folks and especially if making a LOT – one less thing, you know? No other changes are required for this recipe.

Can pineapple upside-down cake be made in advance?

Yes. This cake can be baked a day in advance. I then recommend wrapping tightly with plastic wrap and leaving at room temperature. I do recommend that if you want the cake turned “upside-down” out of the pan, get it out of the bake dish while the cake is still warm.

top down view onto a slice of cake on this dish with a swirl of caramel
serving of pineapple upside-down cake on white dish surrounded by a swirl of caramel sauce; baked cake is in the background

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake 

Fluffy, flavorful pineapple upside-down cake starts with box cake mix! This is a large batch recipe, easy to scale up to feed a crowd.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pineapple upside-down cake using boxed mix
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Calories: 546kcal
Author: Erica
Servings: 24



  • Heat oven to 350℉. Lightly spray two, 13×9-inch bake dishes with cooking spray. Place 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) of butter in each bake dish and pop the dishes into the oven to melt the butter (~5 minutes).
  • While the butter is melting, use a meat tenderizer, small pan, or hammer to gently pound the walnuts in the bag into smaller pieces for a rough "chop" but not too fine or to the point of becoming complete nut dust.
  • Remove the bake dishes from the oven. Divide and sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over butter in the pans. Arrange pineapple slices (10 slices per cake), cherries, and walnuts over the brown sugar layer.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the cake mix, eggs, pineapple juice, and oil. Use an electric hand mixer to stir the ingredients on low for 30-40 seconds until combined. Increase hand mixer speed to medium-high and whip for 2 minutes until fluffy.
  • Divide batter between the bake dishes by gently pouring over the sugar-fruit layer.
  • Bake 40-45 min or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove bake dishes from the oven and allow to sit 5 minutes. Invert dish onto bake sheet or large serving platter to remove the cake from the bake dish.
  • Once individual servings are on dishes, drizzle each with 1 tablespoon caramel sauce and serve.


If the cake doesn’t release straight away once inverted, give it a minute and the weight of the cake should pull it down.


Calories: 546kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 339mg | Potassium: 57mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g

Sharing is caring!

Similar Posts

One Comment

5 from 1 vote

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating