UPDATED A New Easter Tradition–Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
Someone else’s attempt at this classic, which is usually round.


In 2016, when I originally posted this, I was recovering from second degree burns and had been rather ill from them all week. Pretty much everything suffered, with my poor, sweet husband having to pick up some of the slack for me. God used a friend I hadn’t seen in forever to get me the meds I needed, and I finally had enough energy to clean my house.

I finished the Easter centerpiece I’d been working on in bits and pieces (flowers made from green straws and #2 cone coffee filters soaked in leftover Easter egg dye and left to dry. Carefully tear it open, fold accordion style 1/2 way, then wrap the other half around, tucking in the short corner. Twist bottom into a point, stick on straw, arrange in a vase or suitable substitute) I stuck saved cracked egg shells in the dye, too, and arranged them in the vase and on a plate (paper) around the vase, crumpled up a few extra dyed coffee filters to go with them. Cute and inexpensive. Not bad at all for a first try, while I’d been ill, really.

You know, this reads exactly like every recipe online where I get annoyed by the blather and skim to the actual recipe, lol.

A few years back, I decided to start a new family tradition of serving pineapple upside down cake on Easter. This new tradition is based upon my short story “Pineapple Upside Down Cake,” loosely based on actual events from my childhood. Namely, shortly before she died of Parkinson’s disease, my paternal grandmother promised to bake my dad said concoction when she got better. In the story, the local church sends a care package full of food to the family (as mine did) and among the items is a pineapple upside down cake. Not sure how much of this is fiction, but to the children in the story, the cake is a reminder of, and assurance of, the funeral preacher’s assurances Grandma was now in Heaven and was well again there. Thus the spiritual meaning it has for me makes it perfect for Easter.

That treat isn’t exactly kosher on my current diet (for health reasons). So I made a few modifications that seem to have worked.

Healthier (Gluten-Free, Dairy Free) Pineapple Upside Down Cake

1 hour and 10 minutes to make 9 servings


¼ cup Smart Balance® Omega-3 margarine (or butter substitute of your choice. Use Butter if not avoiding dairy)
2/3 c a natural brown sugar (Or make brown sugar by adding 1 tbs molasses to 1 c sweetener of choice)
9 pineapple rings, drained (reserve juice)
9 maraschino cherries, destemmed. (I add extra)
11/3c Gluten-Free flour mix (I use Pamela’s Products Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Blend)
1/2 cup Swerve or Pyure sweeteners (OR 1 c of your preferred sugar or 1:1 ratio sugar alternative.)
1 1/2 tsps aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 c almond or cashew milk (increase pineapple juice if omitting)
1/2 c reserved pineapple juice (increase non-dairy milk if omitting)
2 eggs
2-3 tbs olive oil or avocado oil

1) Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In a 9 in round pan, melt the butter substitute in the oven. (Trust me, do this FIRST). After it is melted, remove pan from oven. Ensure all surfaces are greased well to avoid the cake sticking. Sprinkle in the brown sugar then arrange the pineapple over the coconut sugar. Place cherries in the center of each pineapple ring. Note you can use a square brownie dish for this recipe but you’ll have to do some squeezing to get them to fit. Otherwise, the 9 in round pan is best.
2) In a bowl, stir together the flour mix, sweetener, the baking powder, and salt. Add in the oil, the nondairy milk and/or pineapple juice, and 2-3 eggs. Beat lumps out of the batter with an electric mixer on high, about 3 minutes, scraping bowl 2-3 times. Pour batter over the topping mix that’s on the bottom of the pan.
3) Bake 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Immediately place a heatproof serving plate upside down over the cake’s pan. Quickly flip over the plate and the pan. You may need to gently bang on the pan to get the cake to fall off it onto the plate upside down. Leave the pan on over the plate to let the caramelized sugar-oil mix drizzle down; you may need to scrape some off. Note I used a pizza pan as the serving plate before I bought a cake box that includes a serving plate. Cake tastes best warm but it is delicious cold, too.

Adapted from the classic Betty Crocker recipe.

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