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Almond Flour Pineapple Upside Down Cake (Paleo)

This Grain-Free Almond Flour Pineapple Upside Down Cake is so moist and fluffy with the perfect level of sweetness! Made with almond flour, dairy-free, paleo-friendly, and refined sugar-free. 

Slice of healthy pineapple upside down cake on a white plate with fresh raspberries to the side

It wasn’t until making this paleo pineapple upside down cake that I embraced the full magic of warm pineapple.

This buttery cake tastes remarkably similar like the much loved classic cake, yet is a grain-free and dairy-free option.

We’re still getting the light and moist texture with those amazing caramelized pineapple chunks on top. 

I can see why people love making pineapple upside-down cake as a holiday dessert, because it creates a tropical experience to mentally transport us somewhere warm and inviting amidst colder weather.

I based this recipe off of my Almond Flour Fig Cake, the main difference being I used fresh pineapple slices and raspberries for the topping rather than figs. 

This grain-free pineapple cake recipe is your gateway to all the upside down cakes. You know what they say. Once you go upside down, you never go back!

Pineapple upside down cake on a white background with slices. Ready to serve.

Let’s discuss the simple ingredients for this gluten-free pineapple upside down cake. You can find them at all grocery stores.

Ingredients for Paleo Pineapple Upside Down Cake:

Eggs: A few large eggs help the cake rise to a fluffy and light texture. I haven’t tested the recipe using an egg replacer like flax eggs, so I’m not sure how it would turn out.

In my limited experience with vegan grain-free baking, it can be difficult to get the right consistency in almond flour goods without the use of eggs.

Almond Flour: The base of the recipe! Taking the place of all-purpose flour, we use almond flour for a light texture and delicious warm nutty flavor.

I’m willing to bet your friends and family won’t even know this recipe is grain-free!

Pure Maple Syrup: Used to sweeten the cake, we use a little pure maple syrup. The cake turns out perfectly sweet without being overly sugary.

Nevertheless, if you enjoy very sweet treats, consider adding 1 to 4 tablespoons of brown sugar or coconut sugar to the cake batter mixture.

Avocado Oil: Bringing moisture to the cake for a moist tender crumb, we use avocado oil. I like that avocado oil has a neutral flavor and adds healthy fats to gluten-free cakes. You can also use melted coconut oil, olive oil, or 5 tablespoons of melted butter.

Baking Soda & Cider Vinegar: The combination of baking soda and cider vinegar creates the perfect chemical reaction to leaven the cake. 

Pineapple Rings: Use fresh pineapple or canned pineapple rings for this pineapple upside-down cake! I prefer using fresh pineapple, but canned pineapple that is stored in pineapple juice (not syrup) works great too.

Raspberries: Rather than using maraschino cherries, I like using fresh raspberries.

I’ve never been a huge fan of maraschino cherries and fine raspberries bring a bright pop of tangy flavor. You can also use pitted fresh cherries.

Recipe Adaptations: 

  • If you have an intolerance to almond flour, you can proceed with this recipe for Paleo Vanilla Cake, which calls for coconut flour (simply use an 8 or 9-inch cake pan rather than a baking sheet)!
  • I have found that both cassava flour and gluten-free flour work well as a replacement for almond flour. If you’d like to try it, start with 1 1/2 cups and increase to 2 cups if the batter seems too thin. Cassava flour and gluten-free flour tend to be more absorbent than almond flour. 
  • For a low-carb option, substitute monk fruit sweetener for the pure maple syrup and add 3 tablespoons of additional avocado oil. Do note that pineapple contains a great deal of natural sugar so although there wouldn’t be added sugar, the cake recipe will still contain a decent amount of net carbs.
Woman cutting an upside down cake on a cutting board

Now that we’ve discussed the main ingredients for grain-free pineapple upside down cake, let’s make this yummy gluten-free dessert!

How to Make Paleo Pineapple Upside Down Cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a 8-inch spring form pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper (to do so, trace the pan on parchment and cut out a circle that fits perfectly in the bottom).

Note: you can also use a cast iron skillet, pie pan, or regular cake pan to make this cake!

Whisk the eggs, avocado oil, pure maple syrup, cider vinegar, and pure vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl until the wet ingredients are well-combined.

Stir in the almond flour, baking soda and sea salt (dry ingredients) until a thick, smooth cake batter forms.

Lemon cake batter in a mixing bowl.

Pour one tablespoon of pure maple syrup into the bottom of the prepared pan. Arrange pineapple rings on the bottom of the pan, placing a raspberry in the center of each ring.

Moving the pineapple pieces around in the pure maple syrup before arranging them in a decorative pattern to get a nice light coat of syrup.

If you’d like, you can slice an additional 2 to 3 pineapple rings in half and use the pineapple ring halves to line the sides of the cake pan. 

Fresh pineapple slices in the bottom of a cake pan with fresh raspberries to make pineapple cake.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared springform pan and use a rubber spatula to smooth it into an even layer. 

Cake batter being spread in a cake pan with a rubber spatula to make pineapple upside down cake.

Bake on the center rack of the preheated oven for 45-55 minutes, or until the top appears golden brown and the cake tests clean. Baked goods are considered fully cooked once they reach an internal temperature of 190 to 200 degrees F.

You can insert a digital thermometer into the center of the cake to verify it is baked through if you’d like.

Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool 20 minutes. Release the mold on the spring form pan and turn the cake over onto a cutting board, serving plate, or cake stand.

Peel off and discard the parchment paper. If you’d like, you can drizzle the top of the cake with a little honey or pure maple syrup. Cut into thick slices and serve!

Store leftover cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Slices of almond flour pineapple upside down cake on white plates with the full cake in the background.

And that’s it for this easy cake recipe! Make it during the holiday season for a holiday dessert.

If you’re looking for more grain-free dessert recipes, also try out these reader favorites!

More Grain-Free Dessert Recipes:

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Enjoy everyone’s favorite dessert!

Slice of healthy pineapple upside down cake on a white plate with fresh raspberries to the side
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4.43 from 7 votes

Grain-Free Pineapple Cake (Paleo)

Pineapple Upside Down Cake made grain-free, refined sugar-free, and paleo-friendly. Add raspberries for a pop of color and flavor!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time55 minutes
Course: Desserts & Treats
Cuisine: American
Servings: 1 (9-inch) cake
Calories: 336kcal
Author: Julia

Ingredients

Cake Batter:

Topping:

  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 4 to 6 pineapple rings
  • 1/4 cup fresh raspberries

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a 8-inch spring form pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper (to do so, trace the pan on parchment and cut out a circle that fits perfectly in the bottom). Note: you can also use a cast iron skillet, pie pan, or regular cake pan to make this cake!
  • Add all of the ingredients for the cake batter to a high-powered blender. Blend until completely smooth (note: the batter will be very thick – this is normal). Note: you can also use a mixing bowl to prepare the cake batter instead of a blender if you'd prefer.
  • Pour one tablespoon of pure maple syrup into the bottom of the prepared pan. Arrange pineapple rings and raspberries on the bottom of the pan, moving them around in the pure maple syrup before arranging them in a decorative pattern to get a nice light coat of syrup. If you'd like, you can slice an additional 2 to 3 pineapple rings in half and use the pineapple ring halves to line the sides of the pan. Pour in the cake batter and use a rubber spatula to smooth it into an even layer. 
  • Bake on the center rack of the preheated oven for 45-55 minutes, or until the top appears golden brown and the cake tests clean. Baked goods are considered fully cooked once they reach an internal temperature of 190 to 200 degrees F. You can insert a digital thermometer into the center of the cake to verify it is baked through if you'd like.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool 20 minutes. Release the mold on the spring form pan and turn the cake over onto a cutting board, serving plate, or cake stand. Peel off and discard the parchment paper. Cut into thick slices and serve!

Notes

*You can also use melted (and cooled) coconut oil, olive oil, almond oil, or 1/3 cup of melted butter

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 336kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 21g | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 17g

This post is sponsored by Harry & David.

I originally shared this recipe on April 14, 2017. I made a couple small changes to the recipe, updated the photos and provided more information in the text.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

Recipe Rating




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Susan

Friday 21st of July 2023

In your notes it says use pineapple juice. . . But I don't see any place on the recipe for it. Am I missing something? Where do you use pineapple juice? Nice recipe, just what I was looking for. Thanks for sharing.

Julia

Friday 21st of July 2023

Hi Susan! I updated the recipe recently and accidentally didn't remove that asterisk :) You're good to go with the recipe as written now! Sorry about the confusion. I hope you love the cake!

Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health

Sunday 16th of April 2017

Dang girl, this cake is stunning! I've never made a pineapple upside down cake because I'm kind of a wuss when it comes to baking. But you are making me want to change that because this looks amazing and the way you describe it is like WHOA. Come to mama.

Also, the Fruit of the Month Club is such an awesome idea. That would make a great Mother's Day gift. Thanks for the idea! :)

Becky Winkler

Friday 14th of April 2017

This is so beautiful, Julia! And that fruit of the month club sounds like the best thing in the world. Love the tips for telling if a pineapple is ripe, too!

Lindsay | With Salt and Pepper

Friday 14th of April 2017

I am totally on board with this cake!!! You know I don't love sweets, but fruit anything I'm completely in love with. I'm with you, most pineapple upside down cakes I've seen or tried are over saturated with sugar. But this one you have here sounds so fresh and legit flavorful! Love it :-) Have a great weekend!

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