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Gemma’s Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Gemma’s Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

An Impromptu Pineapple Upside-Down Cake with a Vanilla Bean Twist.

Pineapple upside-down cake is a classic dessert that has been enjoyed for generations. It is a simple cake to make, but it is always a crowd-pleaser. Gemma’s Pineapple Upside-Down Cake is a next-level version of this classic dessert. It is made with a moist, fluffy yellow cake topped with caramelized pineapple and no cherries.

Gemma’s recipe for pineapple upside-down cake is unique in a few ways. First, I used a combination of brown sugar and granulated sugar to create the caramel topping. This gives the topping a more complex flavor and prevents it from becoming too hard. Second, I used canned pineapple instead of fresh pineapple because it was more practical and easier. This gives the cake a brighter and more tropical flavor. Finally, I added a touch of vanilla extract to the cake batter, which enhanced the flavor of the pineapple and the sugar.

Gemma’s Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
Gemma’s Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

I’ve always loved adding dark rum to my pineapple cakes and prefer the famous Barbancourt. Baking with Rhum Barbancourt is considered a treat, and I was excited to use it in this small but special cake.

I started by melting some butter and brown sugar in a small baking dish. Then, I arranged the pineapple chunks in the dish and drizzled them with a bit of Rhum Barbancourt. Next, I made a simple yellow cake batter and poured it over the pineapple. I baked the cake for about 55 minutes until it was cooked.

Once the cake was baked, I let it cool for a few minutes before inverting it onto a serving plate. The caramel sauce from the bottom of the dish drizzled over the cake, and the pineapple chunks were perfectly caramelized. The cake was moist and flavorful, and the Rhum Barbancourt added a delicious depth of flavor.

Even though this cake was small, it was a special treat. The Rhum Barbancourt made it extra special, and I savored every bite.

The ingredients for the cake:

  • Unsalted Butter: Choose a good brand – for the sauce
  • Dark Brown Sugar: You can choose light brown sugar if you don’t want the cake to be too dark.
  • Can of Unsweetened Pineapple Chunks be drained and juice reserved
  • Rum Barbancourt, preferably
  • Ground Cinnamon: For flavor
  • Vanilla Bean: This is stronger than the extract and gives the cake a wonderful vanilla flavor and aroma.
  • Lime rind about 2 inches long: This is for flavoring the sauce. It is removed before adding the sauce to the pan.
  • Softened butter: for the cake. Choose a good butter brand.
  • White Sugar or granulated sugar sifted
  • All Purpose Flour sifted
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Baking Powder: to help the cake rise
  • Large Eggs: for moisture and for binding the ingredients
  • Nutmeg: For flavor
  • Vanilla Extract: for more flavoring
  • Milk: for moisture and to help bind the ingredients
  • Reserved Pineapple Juice: for extra flavoring
  • Rum Barbancourt: Check your nearest liquor store. This type of rum has a deep flavor compared to the other ones.

Tips for baking with Rhum Barbancourt:

  • Use a good quality rum if you cannot find Rum Barbancourt. The flavor of the rum will make a big difference in the taste of your cake.
  • Don’t overbake the cake. The rum will evaporate if the cake is overbaked, and the flavor will be lost.
  • Serve the cake warm or at room temperature. The caramel sauce will be more runny when the cake is warm, but it will still be delicious.

Tips for making the perfect pineapple upside-down cake:

  • Use canned pineapple instead of fresh. Canned pineapple is easier to use for this type of cake.
  • Drain and pat the pineapple chunks dry before using them. This will help to prevent the cake from becoming soggy.
  • Be careful not to overbake the cake. The cake should be cooked through, but it should still be moist.
  • Let the cake cool for 10 minutes before inverting it onto a serving plate. This will help to prevent the cake from breaking.

This pineapple upside-down cake tastes even better when topped with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

I hope you enjoy my latest creation, Gemma’s Pineapple Upside-Down Cake.

Gemma’s Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Gemma’s Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, both the pineapple mixture and cake mixture contain the aromatic Barbancourt Rum.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Dessert, Desserts
Cuisine Caribbean
Servings 6
Calories 642 kcal


  • 1/2 tablespoon Unsalted Butter
  • 1 cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 – 20 oz Can Unsweetened Pineapple Chunks drained and juice reserved
  • 2 tablespoons Rum Rum Barbancourt preferably
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 Vanilla Bean
  • 1 Lime rind about 2 inches long
  • 1/2 cup Butter softened
  • 1 cup White Sugar sifted
  • 1 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt kosher or seasalt
  • 2 tablespoons Baking Powder
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 1/4 cup Reserved Pineapple Juice
  • 1 teaspoon Rum Barbancourt


  • In a saucepan, add butter and sugar. Let sugar melt completely before adding pineapple chunks without juice.
  • Take vanilla bean, split in half, and scrape bean, add to the saucepan, cut bean in half, and add to saucepan.
  • Add lime rind, cinnamon, and rum. Cook on low to medium heat uncovered for 30 minutes or until mixture is syrup-like.
  • Remove from heat, remove the lime rind and vanilla bean and let cool completely.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Next, prepare a 1 – 8 inch round cake pan by lining the bottom with parchment paper, coating the sides with butter, and lightly dust with flour.
  • Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder.
  • Cream butter and sugar in the mixer. Add eggs one at a time and mix well. Add vanilla extract and nutmeg. Beat until light and fluffy.
  • On low speed, add the sifted dry ingredients alternating with the milk and pineapple juice.
  • Add rum and mix all ingredients until just blended.
  • Pour pineapple mixture into prepared pan, spreading chunks evenly – (do not overlap).
  • Carefully pour batter into the pan on top of pineapple chunks mixture.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F for 50 to 55 minutes or until cake tester or toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Allow cake to cool before removing the parchment paper.
  • Serve with alone, with ice cream or whipped cream.


Serving: 6gramsCalories: 642kcalCarbohydrates: 113gProtein: 7gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 100mgSodium: 375mgFiber: 3gSugar: 84g

Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on the products used.

Keyword Cake, cake recipes, pineapple cake
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Nutrition info is automatically generated and provided as a courtesy and as an estimate only.

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Corn Allergy:

Always choose ingredients without corn or corn derivatives.

Originally published on January 4, 2014. Revised and updated.

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