Pineapple Upside-Down Mini Cakes
Add a little warm-weather spring to your step with these mini Pineapple Upside-Down Mini Cakes! Make a half dozen little cakes from scratch in under an hour with this easy recipe for adorable individual-sized desserts.
About This Recipe
There’s something deeply nostalgic about Pineapple Upside-Down cakes. My mom used to make them in the spring, and even though I was always more of a salty-spicy kinda gal, I couldn’t resist the tropical allure of that pineapple, brown sugar, and butter-based top.
As I’ve gotten older, I still generally prefer savory indulgences but have a soft spot for from-scratch treats. With summer fast approaching, it is imperative that I make the transition from all the hearty, rib-sticking fare that I love during the winter to lighter, more seasonally appropriate recipes.
This mini version of my favorite childhood pineapple upside-down mini cakes still boast a moist, tender crumb thanks to the addition of sour cream, and the top is just as buttery and caramelly as I remember from childhood!
Ingredients & Substitutions
Making these homemade, mini cakes is a snap, and you probably already have most of the ingredients on hand! Here’s everything you’ll need:
- Unsalted Butter – Feel free to swap in your favorite plant-based alternative if you prefer.
- Brown Sweetener – Brown sugar gives these cakes the delicious molasses-caramel flavor I crave for pineapple upside-down cake. Or for a lighter option, try a zero calorie sweetener.
- Maraschino Cherries – These bright, candy-flavored confections are a signature of any pineapple upside-down cake. If you prefer to avoid artificial colors, opt for a natural brand that uses beet juice for the coloring agent, or simply make your own.
- Pineapple Slices – I generally opt to use fresh pineapple whenever possible. Watch this video on how to cut your pineapple like a pro! You can also opt to use canned pineapple rings if you prefer. Just be sure to grab the kind that are packed in juice instead of syrup in order to keep the added sugar to a minimum.
- All-Purpose Flour – In a pinch, you can always use cake flour instead.
- Baking Powder – Don’t confuse this with baking soda, as they react differently. Also, be sure that you preheat your oven before starting to make the batter; baking powder begins to start working as soon as it hits liquid.
- Granulated Sugar – For added sweetness you’ll also need granulated sugar. For a calorie-free option, you can easily swap in your favorite sweetener of choice.
- Eggs – Remember to allow your eggs to come to room temperature before making this pineapple upside-down cake recipe; they’ll incorporate into the batter much more easily, which will prevent you from overmixing.
- Neutral Oil – Any neutral-flavored oil will work here: canola, vegetable, corn, grapeseed, or peanut oil will all do the trick.
- Sour Cream – Again, be sure to let your ingredients come to room temperature before mixing the cake batter. This will help prevent overmixing, which can result in tough cakes.
- Pure Vanilla Extract – I love the flavor of pure vanilla extract, but you can also use vanilla or paste if you prefer. If you’d like something a little different, try swapping in almond extract instead.
You don’t need much to make these mini pineapple upside-down cakes a reality! Aside from your normal kitchen equipment like spatulas and mixing bowls, you’ll just need to grab:
- 6 x 4-inch Ramekins – In order to make mini pineapple upside-down cakes, you’ll need a vessel that is *just* large enough for a pineapple ring to fit. I used 4-inch ramekins, but you could also try using a jumbo muffin tin instead.
How to Make
These mini pineapple upside-down cakes are so easy to pull off! In less than an hour’s time, you’ll have a delicious treat to share with your family. Here’s how it’s done:
Prep: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 6 (4-inch) ramekins and set aside.
Make Topping: In a small saucepan, melt butter over low heat; stir in brown sugar. Cook and stir over medium heat until sweetener is dissolved. Remove from the heat.
Assemble Pineapple Topping: Place pineapple slices in each ramekin and place a cherry in the center ring. Spoon 1 tablespoon brown sugar and butter mixture in each ramekin.
Make Cake Batter: Combine dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, granulated sugar, and salt. In a large bowl, beat eggs, oil, sour cream, and vanilla until smooth. Slowly combine dry mixture with wet ingredients and beat until smooth.
Bake: Fill ramekins two-thirds full. Bake cakes for 28-32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool & Enjoy! Cool for 5 minutes before inverting onto wire racks to cool completely. Top with dried pineapple flowers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely! Once baked and cooled, these pineapple upside-down cakes can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.
Since upside-down cakes are super moist from the caramel topping, I suggest refrigerating any leftovers after no more than 24 hours at room temperature.
Of course! Simply swap in your favorite plant-based butter and sour cream substitutes.
While I haven’t tried it myself, I believe these mini cakes would come out well if you were to swap in your favorite gluten-free all-purpose flour blend.
More Light Spring Dessert Recipes
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Mini Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grease 6 (4-inch) ramekins and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, melt butter over low heat; stir in brown sugar. Cook and stir over medium heat until sweetener is dissolved. Remove from the heat. Place pineapple slices in each ramekin and place a cherry in the center ring. Spoon 1 tablespoon brown sweetener and butter mixture in each ramekin.
- Combine dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, granulated sugar, and salt.
- Slowly combine dry mixture with wet ingredients and beat until smooth.
- Fill ramekins two-thirds full. Bake cakes for 28-32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool for 5 minutes before inverting onto wire racks to cool completely.
- Once baked and cooled, these mini pineapple upside-down cakes can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.
- PRO TIP: Make sure to let your eggs and sour cream come to room temperature before making the batter so they can incorporate more easily. This will prevent overmixing the batter, which can result in tough cakes.
- Feel free to make these mini cakes dairy-free by using your favorite plant-based butter and sour cream substitutes.
- Decorate with dried pineapple flowers.
Photography by Jenna Sparks
Originally published: March 2022.