Did I just make you cringe? I want to say people either hate or love the word, but really, it’s more like hate or … tolerate.
In this case, I hope you can tolerate, because “moist” is a really good thing when we’re talking cake, am I right? Especially pineapple upside down cake.
Golden, caramely, bites of juicy pineapple, and – yes – moist vanilla cake. Nothing better, am I right?
For this vegan pineapple upside down cake recipe, I set out to create something that tasted just like the traditional version that’s made with dairy and eggs. But I didn’t want it to be overly complicated. And it’s not! We’re talking pineapple and brown sugar in a skillet, then a super easy (and I mean easy!) cake batter made with oil, applesauce, reserved pineapple juice, flour, sugar, vanilla (lots of it!) and not much else.
The first time I sort of winged (wung?) it and it came out (muy delicioso hand gesture) so good! I was actually kind of floored. And happy. Because having a recipe work out perfectly the very first time in food blogger land is a happy, happy thing.
Okay, so we’ve got pineapple. Sliced, because of course. Grab your cast-iron pan (a must) and warm the pineapple slices along with the brown sugar.
And then some maraschino cherries. I chose vegetable-dyed maraschinos but if you’re not strict about it, go traditional. (Note that some maraschino cherries are not vegan – you can find more details here.)
And then, something I’ve never put into pineapple upside down cake before but they do it here and I thought hey, why not – an entire can of crushed pineapple! Just drain then get that pineapple into all the nooks and crannies. Trust me. So worth it.
Then, the cake batter! It whips together so simply and takes but one bowl and a minute or so to whip up. Glorious, glorious, glorious.
Bake that bad boy, let cool for a bit, and flip!
Oh, glorious cake. Glorious, moist, golden cake.
I mean, I’m sorry! But it’s true!
Vegan Pineapple Upside Down Cake
- 2 tablespoons Earth Balance vegan butter (can sub regular butter if not vegan)
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 20-ounce can sliced pineapple, drained (reserve the juice!)
- 1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained well
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup reserved pineapple juice
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- One (10-inch cast-iron skillet)
- 12- inch or larger cake platter
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place skillet over medium heat. Add the butter. Once it melts, stir in the brown sugar and cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar melts, about two minutes. Remove from heat and add the drained sliced pineapple. Place maraschino cherries in pineapple holes. Spread drained crushed pineapple into the crevices and over the top. Use it all!
- To a large mixing bowl, add the applesauce, canola oil, sugar, pineapple juice, and vanilla. Mix until combined. Place a fine-mesh sieve over the top of the bowl. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt and sift over the wet ingredients. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, mix the dry ingredients with the wet until incorporated.
- Spread the batter evenly over the top of the pineapple.
- Bake for about 35 minutes, until the cake begins to turn golden brown on the top and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake layer comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes.
- Time to flip! Have a large cake plate or tray ready. Loosen the sides of the cake with a butter knife. Place the platter upside down over the top of the skillet and quickly flip the skillet over, inverting the cake onto the platter.
- Serve immediately (vegan vanilla ice cream or vegan whipped cream are great partners!) or let cool completely then refrigerate until ready to serve. Cake keeps well in the fridge for up 2-3 days.