Pineapple Upside Down Cake with Spelt flour

Pineapple Upside Down Cake with Spelt flour

Who remembers pineapple upside-down cake? A retro dessert that most mother's or grandmothers made when you were a kid. I have adapted the old original recipe to bake this with Spelt flour, however, this recipe can be adapted to include regular flour, self-raising flour or your preferred flours. The cake is light and moist and is perfect the next day if there's any leftover. If you are lucky enough to have access to fresh pineapple, then you could use fresh pineapple in this recipe.

Fun facts – where did the Pineapple Upside Down cake originate? It's said to have originated in Hawaii, originally bake in a skillet pan. Then it became popular through the 1950s and 1960s.

According to the term upside down first started appearing in the 1800s. The first upside-down cakes were not even pineapple, as canned pineapple hadn't been invented. What was used was seasonal fruit. Canned pineapple manufacturing didn’t begin until 1901 when Jim Dole established the Hawaiian Pineapple Company (now Dole Company) and began producing and marketing mass quantities of canned pineapple.

In 1925, the Hawaiian Pineapple Company sponsored a contest calling for pineapple recipes with judges from the Fannie Farmer’s School, Good Housekeeping, and McCall’s Magazine on the judging panel. It is said that 2,500 of the 60,000 submissions were recipes for pineapple upside-down cake. The company decided to run an ad about the flood of pineapple upside-down cake recipes it had received, and the cake’s popularity increased! Wow who would have thought it would be so popular.

Here's my version of the fun dessert Spelt Pineapple Upside-down cake, easy and economical to make, maybe not super healthy.

Ingredients for the cake

  • Milk – 120ml (1/2 cup)
  • Fresh Lemon Juice – 1 tbsp
  • Unsalted Butter – 95g (3/4 cup)
  • Large eggs – 2
  • Castor Sugar – 100g (1/2 cup)
  • Light brown sugar – 50g (1/4 cup)
  • Vanilla Extract – 1 tsp
  • Pinch salt (optional)
  • Lemon Zest (optional) – 1/4 tsp
  • Ground cinnamon (optional) – 1/2 tsp
  • *Spelt flour/ Plain Flour / Self Raising Flour – 170g (1 cup)
  • Baking powder (leave this out if using SR flour) – 1 tsp
  • Bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) – 1/4 tsp
  • Pineapple juice from tin – 1 tbsp

Ingredients for the topping

  • Canned pineapple rings – 6 to 9
  • Glazed Cherries – 6 to 9
  • Dark or light brown sugar – 150g (2/3 cup)
  • Unsalted butter – 60g (1/4 cup)


  1. PREHEAT oven to 170˚C fan, 190˚C
  2. PREPARE – grease with butter and paper line 20cm (8") or 23cm (9") baking tin. I use a springform style for easy removing. Add foil to the base of the tin to avoid any spills. (I didn't do this the first time I baked this cake in a long time and had to spend time cleaning my oven).
  3. ADD lemon juice to the milk and rest it for 10 minutes.
  4. MELT butter in a small saucepan, then add in the brown sugar.
  5. POUR the combined melted butter and sugar into the base of the prepared lined tin. Ensure it is evenly spread over the based.
  6. PLACE pineapple rings in a pattern. One in the centre, 4 circles on the sides and 3-4 in the gaps. They may be tight to fit in but once the cake is cooked they will be fine. Be careful not to overlap. Place a cherry in the centre for the total retro look.
  7. CHILL tin in the refrigerator while you prepare the cake batter.
  8. WHISK flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together in a separate bowl.
  9. WHIP butter until light, then add sugars and beat until light and fluffy.
  10. ADD in one egg at a time and beat on low until combined.
  11. ADD lemon zest and pineapple juice.
  12. ADD in the flour, half at a time alternating with half the milk mix. Careful not to over mix.
  13. POUR into your cake tin and bake for 23cm bake 40-45 mins until your skewer or toothpick comes out clean.
  14. REST for 10 minutes before flipping out of your cake tin. Careful you may have syrup flying out.
  15. SERVE with vanilla ice cream. Delicious cold for breakfast with a coffee.

Sue Maree P Baking Tips

  • FLOUR – Swap out the flour for self-raising flour and leave out the baking powder
  • SPICES and FLAVOURS – Leave out the cinnamon spice and lemon zest
  • SUGAR – you could use 150g total of castor sugar and leave the brown sugar out. Using dark brown sugar for the topping creates a more toffee-like flavour. You may even get a few bonus chewy bits of toffee.
  • VEGAN – eggs could be swapped out for flax eggs
  • BUTTER – could be swapped out for dairy-free butter or oil
  • ACID – lemon juice could be swapped out for apple cider vinegar
  • SKEWER – try using a stick of spaghetti to check the cake, this is what the Italians do.