Coconut Pineapple Upside Down Cake

coconut pineapple upside down cake

Pineapple upside down cake reminds me of my childhood and the countless afternoons I spent watching my mother play bridge or mah jongg with her friends and the Wednesday evening potlucks at our local church. She always brought one of three dishes to those potlucks: spaghetti pie, seven layer dip or pineapple upside down cake.  I miss it too, those comforting foods of middle America, but I’m no fan of margarine, cake mixes and sweet cherries laced with vivid red food coloring.

So, upon waking with a wicked hankering for pineapple upside down cake this morning, I took to my kitchen and whipped up this alternative which pairs pineapple with honey and one of my favorite flours for sweet treats: coconut.

Why coconut flour?

We minimize grain consumption in our home, and coconut flour makes a beautiful alternative to grain-based flours.  Moreover, coconut flour is particularly well-suited to sweet treats and baked goods as it has a fluffy texture and is reminiscent of yellow cake when sweetened.  Coconut flour is also rich in protein, fiber and fat and, unlike grain-based flours, it doesn’t require soaking (wondering about why you should soak grains? Click here).  In this recipe, its soft cake-like texture and faint coconut flavor complements the pineapple well.  It’s a natural choice.

Coconut flour is dense and absorbent and it requires lots of liquid, usually in the form of eggs to produce a palatable result.  As a result, cakes and baked goods made with coconut flour are typically more dense in vitamins and healthy fats than those made from grain-based flours.  You can learn more about baking with coconut flour here.

Where to find coconut flour

Coconut flour and oils are increasingly available in good quality and well-stocked health food stores, but it tends to be expensive for a small amount.  I typically purchase my coconut flour in bulk online (see sources) to save money.

coconut pineapple upside down cake


By Jenny Published: January 15, 2012

  • Yield: about 12 slices (4-8 Servings)
  • Prep: 05 mins
  • Cook: 45 minutes (oven) mins
  • Ready In: 50 mins

A sweet treat that pairs pineapple with honey in a coconut flour based cake.


  • 1 1/2 cups coconut flour
  • 1 cup blanched almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp unrefined sea salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup honey (divided)
  • 1 dozen eggs (beaten)
  • 2 tsp organic vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 12 rings pineapple (about 1/2-inch thick)
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Whisk coconut flour, almond flour and unrefined sea salt together. Beat in coconut milk, 3/4 cup honey, eggs and vanilla and continue to beat them together until no clumps remain.
  3. Melt coconut oil in a 12-inch cast iron skillet over moderately high heat. Whisk in remaining 1/4 cup honey. When the honey and coconut oil foam and bubble, gently arrange pineapple into the skillet. Place dried cherries in the center of each pineapple ring and around the pineapple rings. Turn off the heat, pour in the cake batter and bake for forty-five minutes to one hour in an oven preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  4. Allow the cake to cool for about five to ten minutes before inverting on a platter and serving.

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What people are saying

  1. Lisa Lammert says

    My husband wanted me to make a pinneaple upside down cake so I thought I would try your recipe. I was attracted to this recipe since it did not use flour and everything in it sounded good. I baked it for at least an hour and was afraid to leave it in any longer because the top was getting really brown and the center still looked like it was not completely done. Sorry but the cake was not good. It had the consistency of cooked mush and it was not salvageable.

  2. zia says

    Has anyone else tried this with success? I really want to make it, but I am not interested in wasting ingredients.

    • Lisa says

      I just made this and it was amazing. I made it exactly the way the recipe indicated. I haven’t had much luck baking with coconut flour in the past but this came out perfect. I was afraid it was going to seem oily but it came out super moist, and not overly sweet!
      It is very filling, you definitely don’t need a big piece to feel satisfied. Thanks for the recipe!

  3. Anna says

    I’m going to try this recipe this week, to share in a family celebration. It seems to me though, that perhaps baking powder was left out of the list? And I’ll be sure to check my oven temperature to avoid over-browning the outside and leaving he middle mushy. Once we’ve shared the cake, I’ll write up what I think to share with you.

    • jenny says

      Actually, I’d advise you not to adjust the recipe. I think Lisa’s experience is an anomaly (what she described happening would happen if you substituted another flour for coconut/almond – I don’t know if she did or didn’t, though). Due to a site issue that occurred on 3/15, we lost all the comments from 8/2010 to 3/2012 and there were about 60 comments on this post from people who had tried the recipe as it was written almost all of them were resoundingly positive.

    • jenny says

      Also, coconut flour products don’t typically benefit from a rising agent like baking powder/soda. It doesn’t do much for them due to the nature of the flour.

  4. Anna says

    Oh crud. It’s in the oven. I used baking powder, and oof-dah, I forgot the coconut milk! However, in the end I noticed the batter was way to stiff, so I added more than a cup of coconut kefir.

    We’ll see how it does tomorrow.

  5. Tiffany says

    Hi! I felt the need to reply after the problems the first poster had. I made this yesterday and it turned out amazing. My three boys beg for it every night. When it’s time to pull it from the oven it looks un ready in that the top is brown but it looks a little oily. But, once I pulled it and let it sit, that oil absorbed and some hung at the bottom (to become the moist top). It fluffed up a lot…maybe 3 1/2″ high…i thought about the baking soda too…but didn’t add it. Trust doesnt need it! I think with that many eggs it’s going to fluff :). I might add something like a carmelized top next time to drizzle afterwards. I did miss that carmel taste that butter seems to give.
    Thanks for the recipe. I will be fiddling with it a bit, but it’s a keeper.

  6. says

    wondering if dry sweetener, such as coconut sugar, can be used in place of honey? converting this into peach upside down cake tonight!

  7. gloria says

    It was brought to my attention that these nuts flours have high phytic acid. If that is true I cannot see how they could be a better alternative. Is this true?

  8. says

    I grew up on pineapple upside down cake that my grandmother made. I still have her recipe. However I have a gluten problem so was thrilled to see this recipe. I am definitely going to give it a try. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  9. says

    I just came across this recipe AFTER I made a pinapple upside down cake using the authors ‘coconut cake’ recipe. After that one, which I LOVED! this one can only be even better.
    This blog has just become my number one, ‘go to’ source for healthy eating.
    ps. that recipe calls for baking soda, but I used alum free baking powder. with walnuts and organic brown sugar.
    pps.. I also used organic cane sugar instead of honey.

  10. Joy says

    Actually, baking soda and baking powder are used when the batter that’s being baked will not rise with yeast. The chemicals produce gas when heated, while yeast produces gas when rising.

    We make a banana bread with baking powder and soda and it works great to produce a tasty bread with a 1/2 cup of coconut flour, four bananas, four eggs and spices.

  11. Misty says

    I want to try this recipe, however my daughter is highly alergic to nuts. What would you use instead of almond flour and yet stay away from the grains?

  12. Christina says

    I made this cake this morning, and it is absolutely delicious! I served it to my ‘regular food’ friends for lunch, and it was a hit with them, too. The pineapple carmelized wonderfully in the pan, and the dense crumb and honey flavor remind me of European Renaissance or Medieval-style cakes. So good we had to wrap it up ASAP before the second half disappeared!

    As a note, I read the earlier comment regarding their cake not baking through, but I had no problems with this–it was just nicely moist from the topping & pineapple juices. Mine was a little singed around the edges, but I know that’s due to our finnicky oven (and, ok, my not-so-watchful eye!)

    Thanks for a great pineapple upside down cake, Jenny!

  13. Steph says

    I’m really looking forward to trying this recipe, but I wanted to clarify two things first:
    1. Do you really use 12 eggs?
    2. Could I use coconut flour again or plain gluten-free flour instead of the almond flour?


  14. Annamarie says

    Amazing cake! I made it for my husband’s birthday and followed the recipe exactly, except that I used Tillen Farms cherries instead of dried. Yum! A great recipe for my files.

  15. jessica says

    What would I use to replace the eggs with the same amount of moistness and flavor? Thanks, this looks like a great recipe and I look forward to adapting it with no eggs with your assistance.

  16. Bernice Pipa says

    I made this cake (with no recipie alterations) a few days ago… And it was just okay. It looked really pretty but no one that ate it could get past the texture after a few bites. The top part with the pineapple was really good though so maybe next time I will add more liquids to it so it can have the same texture throughout. I will continue on to find a great pineapple upside down cake recipie.

  17. Sara says

    I made this cake for my mothers birthday last night and although the flavour was amazing, the texture was way too moist. It made quite a large cake that rose well and the pineapple on the top tasted great. But the cake ended up turning out more bread pudding custard like than light cake like.
    I bake a lot with coconut flour, and have never had a problem with it being overly “wet”.
    I always bake with large eggs, and did use the dozen eggs that this recipe calls for. Next time however, I will only use 8 and will use some chia eggs to replace the ones I leave out.
    I also think it depends on how juicy your pineaplle is…. Mine was very juicy and sweet.
    Thanks again for another great recipe.
    I will be tweaking it a little and will let you know how I go.
    Sara xo

  18. Mariam says

    Jenny, I’ve tried both coconut bundt and upside down cakes, I follow the recipe and ingredients without change, the dough is very thick, and the bread comes out so thick, dry, and unappealing. I’m missing something. With so many eggs, why aren’t these cakes fluffier? Could you give us gram or weight conversion measurements for the flour amounts? Or, please explain, how do you measure the quantities of coconut and almond flours: loosely packed or tight packed? I will be very leery to try any other recipes without weight measurements, because we’re loosing too many good ingredients.

  19. Stacey Perrin says

    HELP? Hi Jenny – I’m making this tonight for my mom and dad’s birthday (tomorrow). My dad is diabetic so I’m always trying to find friendly recipes for him. Two questions – 1) can I replace the honey with cocunut sugar or does this cake need the moisture from the honey? 2) Why blanched almond flour? (just curious what that does!) Thanks much!!!!

  20. Zainab says

    This looks so good but I’m so skeptical of trying it because of my past coconut flour failures… And the amount of eggs in this recipe…

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