Gluten-free Piña Colada Upside Down Cake

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Dietary: Gluten-Free, Kosher, Peanut-Free, Soy-Free, Vegetarian, Whole Grain

A moist, springy cake softly scented with coconut, with the tangy-sweet fruit on top and the rich dark molasses-y syrup soaking into it.

Prep: 10 min
Total Time: 55 min
Yield: 10 slices


  • 9 maraschino cherries, drained
  • 1 box Hodgson Mill Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, or 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup butter, or non-dairy butter-flavored spread, such as Earth Balance
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 Tbsp light corn syrup
  • 9 slices pineapple, fresh, or from 16 or 20 oz can in 100% juice, unsweetened


  • Preheat oven to 350° F. In 9-inch cake pan, melt ¼ cup non-dairy buttery spread in oven. Stir in brown sugar and corn syrup; spread evenly in pan. Arrange pineapple slices on brown sugar mixture; place cherry in center of each pineapple slice. (To make the design pictured here, cut the pineapple slices into 6-8 arc-shaped pieces each, start with a tight ring of pineapple arcs around a central cherry, and build out with cherries and half-circles from there.)
  • In a large bowl, first cream coconut oil if it has hardened. Then add rest of cake ingredients, and blend. (If using a liquid oil, omit first mixing and simply blend all ingredients. If using butter, it could use the initial mixing to make sure it’s soft and fluffy.) Beat all ingredients on low speed 30 seconds until combined, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.
  • Pour batter carefully over pineapple and cherries, trying not to disturb the pattern. (Spread it evenly, and smooth it out, as the cake tends to keep the shape of the uncooked batter when it goes into the oven.)
  • Bake 38 to 43 minutes or until surface is golden brown and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Immediately run knife around side of pan to loosen cake. Place heatproof serving plate upside down onto pan; turn plate and pan over together. Leave pan over cake 5 minutes so brown sugar topping can drizzle over cake. Carefully remove pan; cool 30 minutes.
  • Notes: Do not use 8-inch square pan as there will be too much batter and it will not bake all the way through. (A 10-inch round pan also works.) Serve warm or cool. Store covered in refrigerator. Keeps 2 days or so, but will absorb sauce and get soggy over time.