Yes, it’s a big claim! But this is the best pineapple upside-down cake according to my family. I’m a big fan of retro cakes, so this had to be done. I have made a small adjustment compared to the usual recipe but it’s the same. Why not give it a try?! 

I first made this cake back in home economics over 25 years ago. Since then it’s been a favourite in our household. Back when we lived in the U.K. I used Lyles Golden Syrup to make the topping, but since moving to Spain, golden syrup is hard to come by and can be quite expensive.

I found that using butter and brown sugar works well too. This recipe is slightly modified as I use panko breadcrumbs mixed with butter and sugar. If you’ve never heard of panko it’s used mainly in Japanese cooking as a crunchy coating for fried food.

Panko breadcrumbs are larger than normal breadcrumbs so it gives the cake texture and retains the syrup on top of the cake instead of it sinking down. You don’t have to use panko, but if you have it in your cupboard then I would suggest to give it a try. 

retro pineapple upside down cake
retro pineapple upside-down cake



What you will need for the topping

Soft brown sugar

Soft brown sugar takes quicker to dissolve but you can also use normal brown sugar.

Unsalted Butter

I normally use unsalted butter for this recipe but you can also use salt. I don’t think there is much of a difference, it just depends on what you have around.

Panko breadcrumbs

This is completely optional, but I prefer using it. It gives the cake a nice texture and the syrup is absorbed by the breadcrumbs making the cake taste so much nicer!


I normally use Lidls own brand, however, try to get hold of Del Monte pineapple rings if you can. They are sweeter and have a strong pineapple taste compared to other brands.

Glazed cherries

In Spain, glazed cherries are called ‘cerezas en almibar denso’ which literally translate to ‘cherries in heavy syrup’. My kids are not keen on cherries so sometimes I don’t include them. So it’s completely up to you, I just like how they add a bit of colour to the cake, and of course, it’s traditional. The kids can just pick them off later!

What you will need for the cake


I use salted butter for the cake mixture, simply because it saves me adding salt to the cake.


Caster sugar is better but you can also use granulated if you don’t have the other.


Plain flour but you can use self-raising flour. You don’t need to add baking powder if you use self-raising.

Baking powder

Only use if you have plain flour.


I used 3 large eggs, but you can use a medium size.

Pineapple Juice

Don’t forget to save a little pineapple juice to add to the cake to give it that additional flavour and softness.

Vanilla essence

It gives the cake a slight vanilla taste and aroma. Definitely use so your cake does not smell or taste eggy.

What’s The Best Cake Tin To Use?

Any syrupy cake can make a mess if you are using a steel cake tin. I have found that using a silicone cake tin is less messy and does not burn. 

How To Make My Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Making the topping

Place sugar and panko breadcrumbs in a small bowl. Melt the butter slightly in the microwave. I have an 800watt microwave and I find that heating up 100 grams of butter takes around 30 seconds. Once the butter is melted, add it to the soft brown sugar and panko breadcrumbs. Mix well and spread it evenly on to the prepared tin. Arrange the pineapple and cherries on top of the mixture and set them aside.

Pineapple over the panko and syrup
Pineapple over the panko and syrup

Making The Cake

Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, then alternately add the eggs and whisk well for a minute or so.

Once the eggs are added, start to add the flour and baking powder. Ensure that the flour is well mixed into the butter and sugar.

Cream butter and sugar
Cream the soft butter, sugar and add the eggs

Once the butter, sugar and egg are mixed well, add the flour

Add vanilla and 3tsp of pineapple juice

Add the vanilla essence and pineapple juice. Mix again. Spread the cake mixture into the prepared tin, making sure to cover the pineapple.

Tap a few times to even out the mixture and place in the oven at 180c for 25-30 minutes.

Cover the pineapple
Cover the pineapple
Seal the edges with the batter
Seal the edges with the batter

Even out the cake batter

To avoid syrup coming through the top of your cake, make sure that the cake batter is tightly sealed along the side of the cake tin.
Retro Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Retro Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Retro Pineapple Cake

What To Serve With The Cake

This cake is delicious on its own but it’s even better with custard or thick cream! Yum! 

retro pineapple upside down cake

The Best Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour


  • 100g soft brown sugar
  • 100g melted butter 
  • 20g panko breadcrumbs
  • 5 slices of pineapple rings
  • glaced cheeries


  • 150g plain flour
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g butter 
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp pineapple juice


Making the base

  1. Place a round baking tin on a sheet of greaseproof paper. With a pencil, trace around the tin and cut.
  2. Line your 9.5 inch round baking tin with the greaseproof paper.
  3. Mix 100g butter, 100g soft brown sugar and 20g of panko breadcrumbs in a small bowl.
  4. Spread on the bottom of the prepared tin until all areas are covered.
  5. Place the pineapple rings in the tin and add the cherries.
  6. Make your cake mixture by beating 150g of butter and add the sugar and eggs alternately.
  7. Add the flour and baking powder into the mixture and mix well.
  8. Finally, add the vanilla essence and mix again.
  9. Spread the cake mixture on top of the pineapple spreading lightly as you go along. Ensure to cover any gaps. Tap a few times to even out the mixture.
  10. Place in an oven with 180c for 35-40 minutes.
  11. To check if the cake is done place a toothpick in the middle, and if it comes out clean (without the cakey mixture) then your cake is done. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes before turning over on to a plate.


You do not have to use the panko breadcrumbs but I find that it gives the top of the cake texture and soaks in the syrup making the cake moist and super soft!

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British/Filipina now living in Valencia, Spain. Mum, wife, designer and illustrator. I am also the author of Ohla Living where I share my lifestyle, travel, recipes and creative ideas.

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