From looking at this cake, you'd think it's an unsuspecting pineapple upside down cake, right? But it's more than that. Let me be clear. It's more flavorful than that but don't think there's a ton of work involved in baking this stunning dessert. You know I am all about ease, which includes easy dessert ideas, sis. And this key lime pineapple upside cake is just that. It's my new favorite thing because it combines two of my most loved treats (key lime pie and pineapple upside down cake) into one beautiful flavor bomb baked up in a cute little package. Let's get into it.
If you know me, you know I am forever putting a little twist on things and this sweet dessert idea is no different. A healthy dose of key lime juice and zest provides the perfect hit of tartness to balance out what would otherwise be an exceedingly sweet cake. Pineapple is naturally really sweet and between the crushed pineapple, pineapple juice, and brown sugar, there's a LOT of sweetness going on here. All of this talk about pineapple reminds me, to recommend you also try this beauty. It's a cross between pineapple upside down and rum cake and it's the bomb.com periodt okkurrrrrt?! Trust me, it's one of the most popular recipes here on the blog for a very good reason.
I like to use brown sugar in my pineapple upside down cakes for a deeper, caramel-esque flavor throughout. It plays so well with the pineapple but you should note that the cake will not turn out the pale yellow color we have come to expect with box mixes. And that's just fine. We're making soulful pineapple upside down cakes only, OK? Normally, I'd use pineapple rings when baking pineapple upside down cake but used crushed pineapple for this key lime loaf cake and the outcome ensures you get pineapple in every single bite! Now, key lime pineapple upside down cake is best enjoyed warm and it reheats well. But be sure to store it in the fridge...if you make it to the point of having any leftovers, that is.
Tips for Pineapple Upside Down Cake
- In this recipe, you can use either dark or light brown sugar. Dark brown sugar will give a deeper caramel-like molasses flavor and the color of the cake will be darker.
- You can also use pineapple rings in this recipe or pineapple chunks instead of the crushed pineapple. Pineapple chunks would be my last choice because of their thickness. I recommend cutting them thinner if you want to use chunks.
- Be sure to bake this cake on the middle rack. You never want to burn the bottom of a cake but especially don't want burned pineapple upside down cake because the bottom is really the top! So don't bake it on the bottom rack.
How to Remove Upside Down Cake From Pan
Wondering how to remove this pineapple upside down cake from the pan? Don't be nervous. It's actually quite easy! Here are a few tips for a beautiful result every time with no sticking.
- Be sure to use a non-stick pan. Pineapple upside down cake is quite buttery so sticking is not typically a problem but you don't want to be disappointed, right?
- Let the cake rest for about 10 minutes before flipping it over.
- Run a butter knife around the edges of the cake to release any sticky bits on the sides.
- Flip the upside down cake over by placing a plate or platter on top then gently inverting the pan onto it.
- Let the pan sit on top of the cake for a couple of minutes so all the buttery, brown sugary, pineapple-y goodness seeps down into it.
- Tap the pan a couple of times then gently pull it away.
I hope you make a key lime pineapple upside down cake soon--let me know how it turns out for you! And sharing is caring so be sure to pin this recipe on Pinterest. Thanks for reading!
P.S. more desserts you'll like:
Sweet, buttery, classic pineapple upside down cake made even better with a tangy twist of natural key lime flavor.
- ¼ cup butter
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 cup crushed pineapple drained
- 8 maraschino cherries
- 1 cup flour
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 4 key limes zest and juice reserved
- ¼ cup pineapple juice
- ½ cup butter melted
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 egg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add butter from topping ingredients into a non-stick or prepared loaf pan and place in oven to melt for a couple of minutes.
Meanwhile, combine flour, sea salt and baking powder, baking soda in one bowl. Add the zest from four key limes to this mixture and stir to dredge in the flour.
In another bowl, combine pineapple juice, key lime juice, butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract, milk, and egg. Stir until uniform. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and stir well so that no dry pockets remain.
Carefully remove loaf pan from oven and mix brown sugar in with melted butter to create topping. Spread crushed pineapple into mixture then arrange cherries on top and gently push them through the crushed pineapple so that they touch the bottom of the pan.
Carefully pour cake batter into pan with topping. Place in oven and bake for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Let cake sit for about 10 minutes then run a butter knife around the edges of the cake to release any sticky parts from the pan. Invert cake onto a plate by placing the plate on top of the pan and gently flipping.
Serve warm and refrigerate any leftovers.