This stunning dessert is the perfect cross between a pineapple upside down cake and classic rum cake in beautiful bundt cake presentation--a truly decadent treat! Originally posted in July 2017 and last updated April 2021.
In case you didn't know, pineapple upside-down cake is one of my favorite kinds of cake. I have fond memories of enjoying the box-mix version throughout childhood but decided to attempt one from scratch once I got to college and had my own kitchen. The cakes made back then tasted great and looked pretty good, too, but I had never actually perfected my recipe until recently. I then made it even better by adding rum!
Yes. Today, we are talking all about how to make the perfect pineapple upside down cake with rum. Once you've had my delicately flavored pineapple cake amped up with spiced dark buttered rum, you'll never look back. The look of this cake also sets it apart. Let's get into the delicious details.
If you like upside down cakes, add these recipes to your list, too.
Rum Sauce for Pineapple Upside Down Cake
You're probably wondering what is in the rum cake sauce that sets this boozy pineapple upside-down bundt cake recipe off. Here are the ingredients:
- Dark Spiced Rum
- Melted Butter
- Pineapple Juice
The otherwise classic pineapple upside down cake soaks up all of this boozy goodness and becomes a grown and sexy dessert. What I mean by this is that the liquor isn't cooked out of it so it isn't necessarily a family friendly cake. Enjoy it responsibly. As far as the boozy-infusion, there are just a couple of extra steps to make this magic: poke the baked cake with holes all over then return it to the pan and slowly pour on the rum butter glaze. Now you have a drunken pineapple upside down cake.
And if you're wondering how to arrange the pineapples and cherries for this pineapple upside down bundt cake from scratch, here's a look at that step in the process. It's pleasing to the eye (especially if you like things to be perfectly in order, like me) and they can serve as natural dividers when cutting slices of the cake. Now, bundt cake takes a little longer to bake than, say, a sheet cake but the result is undeniably gorgeous. This is the showstopper you want to serve a dinner party and I can tell you from experience that there will be no pieces left. It's a hit every single time.
Tips for Baking the Best Pineapple Upside Down Rum Cake
- What kind of brown sugar to use in pineapple upside down cake? You can use either light or dark brown sugar in this recipe. Either one works but dark brown sugar will provide a deeper, molasses-like flavor.
- How to keep pineapple upside down cake from sticking to pan? Pineapple upside down cake is very buttery by nature so sticking to the pan is not likely but still be sure to use a nonstick bundt pan.
- Which rack to bake upside-down cake on? Be sure to bake this pineapple rum upside down cake on the middle rack in order to avoid burning the pineapple brown sugar topping.
- When to flip my pineapple upside down cake? This step is important with regular upside down cakes and even more so with this spiked upside down cake. After baking, let the cake sit in the pan for about 10 minutes before inverting onto a platter. It should come out easily at this point and I have more tips on how to flip a pineapple upside down cake here.
- Can I make pineapple upside down rum cake ahead of time? This cake is best served immediately after the rum has had time to soak in so I don't recommend making it ahead. If you do need to make it in advance, bake the cake, remove it from the pan after 10 minutes, and allow it to fully cool then cover it and place in the refrigerator. Before serving, allow it to come to room temperature then make the rum sauce and resume the recipe steps from there.
I hope you make my tipsy pineapple upside-down rum cake for yourself and people you love very soon. So many of you have already enjoyed it all around the world and that's truly gratifying. If you give it a try, let me know in the comments below. And sharing is caring so be sure to pin this drunken pineapple dessert recipe on Pinterest. Thanks for reading!
How to Make Rum Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Tipsy Pineapple Upside-Down Rum Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ cup milk room temperature
- ¾ cup butter melted
- ¼ cup pineapple juice
- 1 cup brown sugar packed
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup pineapple juice
- ⅓ cup butter melted
- ½ cup spiced dark rum
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup butter
- 1 can sliced pineapple rings cut slices into half circles and reserve juice
- 10 ounce jar of maraschino cherries
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add butter from topping ingredients into bundt pan and place in oven to melt for about two minutes.
- Meanwhile, add flour, sea salt, and baking powder to a bowl and whisk to combine. In another bowl, combine ¼ cup pineapple juice from the can of slices, milk, butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and egg and mix until uniform.
- Add wet mixture to dry and stir until batter is uniform and no dry pockets remain. Set aside.
- Carefully remove pan of melted butter from oven and mix in brown sugar to create the topping. Arrange pineapple slices and cherries in pan as shown. Carefully pour cake batter over top.
- Place pan on middle rack of oven and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into multiple parts of the cake comes out clean.
- Remove cake from oven and let sit for about 10 minutes then invert onto a platter.
- Using a wooden skewer or toothpick, pole several holes in all sides of the cake. Place cake back in pan and poke more holes into bottom of cake.
- Combine rum syrup ingredients in a small bowl and mix vigorously until uniform. Then slowly pour rum syrup over top of cake, allowing it to flow into the poked holes.
- Allow cake to soak for about an hour then invert it again onto a plate and serve warm. Do not refrigerate cake during this step.
That is the prettiest presentation of an upside down cake I've ever seen! Great job. Can't wait to try this recipe 🙂
Thanks so much! I hope you love it.
Can you use a cake mix?
Hi, Deb! I think a cake mix could work, however, I have not tested this recipe with one so can't speak to exactly how it would turn out. Do let me know if it works for you!
This cake is a winner! I made this cake for my friends birthday (he does not like cake but likes pineapple and rum ) followed the recipe step by step and it turned out exactly as pictured. It was beautiful and tasted so good he had 2 pieces! Thank you for helping me look like an amazing baker! I will definitely be making this again!
That is awesome, Terasa! So glad to hear y'all enjoyed the cake and that it worked out well for you.
That's such a pretty cake. I love making pineapple upside down cake but have never tried it with rum. Sounds like a tasty addition. I am going to try it.
Thanks Jazz. I'm a 60 year old bloke in UK & who took up baking during Lockdown. This recipe was a breeze & outcome delicious. Deviated by using fresh pineapple soaked in MountGay rum & sugar & baked in the oven (A delicouus dessert in it's own right). This softens & flavours the pineapple & makes pudding even more tipsy.
Took to family meal & showered with praise. Special occasions only as broke a calculator counting the calories.
Thanks so much for your feedback, Neil. So glad you enjoyed this cake and were able to make it your own.
Nancie McDermott says
So fun and delightful! Upside-down BUNDT cake --- love this. It slices nicely too, looks like, which isn't true of a traditional pineapple upside down cake -- you're trapped by the pineapple rings!. And that glaze.....mmmmmm. Cherry recipes: WELL: I have never made clafoutis and am curious about it. I also wonder if it's possible to candy fresh cherries for fruit cakes. Yes I love and make fruitcake and wonder if there's a homemade candied cherry hack.
Sarah Kranz says
I love pineapple upside down cake and I am sure this one is delicious 🙂
Girl, this looks amazing! I once made mini pineapple upside down cakes... they looked nothing like this 😛 😛
Emily Lauren says
This is super yummy looking! I would love to try this!
My first time trying this as a bundt and I hope my coworkers like the glaze! Thanks for the recipe 😊
You're so welcome! I hope you all enjoy it.
Felicia @ The Starving Chef says
I LOVE how you put the slices of pineapple in the cake as little dividers. So pleasing to look at.
Thanks, Felicia! I never thought of them that way but I have used them as guides for slices lol.
Nostalgia Diaries says
This reminds me of my grandmother's version. So pretty!
What a compliment! Thanks for stopping by.
This is such a perfect summer dessert!
Stacey Eckert (@HomemakerStacey) says
I'm a sucker for pineapple upside down cake, always have been! I love that this is a grown, sexy cake! My hubby will love this! Thank you!
lesley sullivan says
my mouth is watering! What a perfect dessert for this weekend 🙂
Stephanie Petersen says
A quick question about the recipe — in the ingredient list for the cake “topping” that goes in before the cake batter, you specifically say a can of pineapple rings cut in half and the juice from said can.
No mention of pineapple juice in the butter/sugar/pineapple/cherry “base” instructions. Am I correct in assuming the juice only goes into the cake batter and the glaze that goes on after baking?
Hi, Nick! Yes, that's correct. Pineapple juice goes in the cake batter and the rum glaze.
Yum! this is brilliant
Wow, this cake is beautiful! I love how you tucked the pineapples inside the cake batter and adding rum of course makes it even better! Definitely wanna try this!
Jazzmine, this cake looks SUPER moist and so glad to hear you've upgraded from the box version to making your own from scratch. Good job!
Chef Mireille says
what a unique and create way to present upside down cake - I love it
Michelle Blackwood says
Wow this is absolutely stunning! I have never seen pineapple upside down cake this way. This is my childhood favorite so I'm in love.
Thanks, Michelle! It's a childhood favorite of mine, as well, and I wanted to change up the presentation a bit--especially because this has rum in it. 🙂
Aaron Oliver says
Welp, there goes my diet! This is simply gorgeous Jazz! I'm not a baker per say, but I will be finding someone to make this for me!!!
I bet you could pull this off, Aaron. Thanks for stopping by!
Teresa Brust says
I am a little worried about taking the Bundt cake out to cool and the placing it back into Bundt pan to add sauce. Won't it crack? Can I not add the sauce in the pan after removing from oven?
Hi, Teresa. I haven't had any issues with cracking and several folks have followed the recipe without issue so I think you'll be ok. That said, I think you can add the sauce while still in the pan.
Sabrina S. says
I made this a few days ago for my guys special birthday dinner. His favorite cake is pineapple upside-down cake and he loves dark liquor. Sounded like a win! Let me first say that I LOVE to cook but I only bake homemade desserts about 2-3x a year. Also my oven temp is not calibrates at all so I was EXTREMELY nervous!! Guys...this...cake. ((Heart Eyes)) It turned out SO beautiful!!! My only issue was that after I added the rum syrup, I placed the cake in the fridge (still in the pan) overnight. When I served it the next day, the top half was overly saturated (borderline gross) and the other half was much drier. I’m hoping that if I flip the cake over after and hour that it will rectify that problem. That being said, I am DEFINITELY making this recipe again. Thanks so much for this recipe!
Awwww, thanks Sabrina! I'm so glad this cake looked beautiful. I would say that the butter in the rum butter syrup sank to the bottom and congealed while in the fridge overnight. Flipping and serving after just an hour or so should yield the same results from the recipe. Hope it turns out perfectly for you next time!
Susan Surdow says
With rum cakes you have to add the rum butter glaze while it is still warm. Even room temp and it doesn't absorb into the cake. I also pour small amounts of the syrup over the cake at a time so the bottom of the cake can absorb some rum before it comes out of the pan. Honestly, I have never placed a rum cake in the fridge. It never lasts long enough.
Hello i was lookong to make this and had a question. Should you let the cake cool before you put it back in the pan for the rum glaze?
Hi, Naz--great question! No need to let the cake cool before adding the rum glaze.
Are you able to use this recipe in a 9inch springform pan?
Hi, Lindsey! I haven’t tested this recipe in a springform pan so I can’t speak from experience but it should work, bearing in mind that a 9-inch springform capacity is about 10 cups of batter whereas the bundt pan is about 12 cups so you might have so excess batter left over. I would also start checking for doneness after 35 minutes to be safe. Hope this is helpful!
This looks great. One question though. Does anybody have any idea how you mix softened butter into liquid ingredients?
Hi, Michael. You can combine the liquid ingredients by either whisking vigorously by hand or using a stand or hand mixer on medium speed. Alternatively, you can use melted butter instead of softened butter for an easier time mixing.
Heather Nichole says
I made it tonight .... waiting for the hour to pass by so I can try it.... simple recipe, thank you!
You're so welcome! I hope you love it.
Cheri Rodriguez says
Making this for my son's 21st birthday tomorrow. Never made it with rum but I'm sure it will be yummy.
Thanks for reading, Cheri! Let me know how it turns out for you and if you have any questions along the way.
Do I us light brown sugar or dark brown sugar? Thanks
Hi, Marshall! I typically use light brown sugar but either will work.
Excellent -and- gorgeous. I made it exactly as described with a couple of changes. I used black rum (Goslings or Cruzan Black) and it was worth the money. For the syrup that tops it I measured the liquids and the sugars for the syrup at the beginning and stirred every so often. By doing this by the time it was time to drizzle, the sugar was 100% dissolved so I just added the melted butter and I was ready to roll. I had a lot of cherries so I added two between each pineapple slice. This was definitely a keeper!
Shirley Benzley says
I made this cake according to directions. It looked great going out of the oven but after adding al the glaze it is totally soaked and I would be embarrassed to serve it. It is also way too sweet. I think it would have been better to just poke holes and pour the rum on, What went wrong?
Hi, Shirley! As you said you made the cake according to directions, I’m not sure what could have gone wrong. Assuming by “soaked” you mean the texture is too wet for your liking? This cake should be far more moist than a standard cake but as written, this recipe yields a cake that would hold the rum glaze and present beautifully without seepage. As for it being too sweet for you, everyone has different preferences so I’d recommend using less sugar in the cake batter should you decide to make it again.
I had a very similar experience in regards to the cake being too wet. I now believe my mistake was in not reading the comments first. A clarification was made that I wish I had know. Under the topping it says the pineapples and juice. I now see that the juice should not have been used in the topping, but only the cake and glaze.
We just tried the cake and it’s good, but we were disappointed with the lack of rum flavor. I also see that there was a previous version that included rum extract. I’m going to try and find that one to try next time.
Hi, Adrianne. Thanks so much for your feedback! The pineapple juice should be in the cake so the directions are correct in that regard. I can see how the listing of it in the topping ingredients might be confusing, though, and have updated that. I've never had a version of this recipe that included rum extract but would recommend increasing the amount of rum in the glaze for a stronger flavor to suit your preference.
Just taken up Lockdown baking at ripe old age of 60 & bought a Bundt tin for this. Amazingly simple & astonishingly delicious. Hardest part getting pineapple slices to remain erect. Made a slight modification by baking fresh pineapple slices soaked in golden rum & granulated sugar mix first. ( This is probably why I couldn't get them to stand up). Took to a family party & was showered with praise.did however wear out 3 calculators counting calorific content.
Taste and texture are amazing and delicious. Issue I have was with the recipe are the instructions. When combining all the wet ingredients, the butter would not melt and become uniform with the milk and pineapple juice. I spent wasted time trying to warm the entire mixture which was very frustrating. I would suggest that you combine the sugar, eggs and butter together separately, then add the other cold ingredients (milk and pineapple juice). This would help meld everything better.
Thanks for this feedback, Greg. I'll add a note to the recipe regarding the butter. Glad you enjoyed the cake!
I love this boozy twist for pineapple upside-down cake! I'm looking forward to trying this recipe for my mom's birthday. Thank you so much!
This dessert is stunning and a must for Mother's Day brunch! Thank you for this recipe.
Wow! That’s the reaction I got out of my husband when I made this cake last weekend! Both rum cake and pineapple upside down are his favorites. So this was a hit!
Rum AND pineapple?! Don't threaten me with a good time... Made this for an adult gathering and it literally disappeared. Everyone loved it. Thank you!
This cake was super delicious and fun to make. I love the arrangement of the pineapples and the addition of the rum sauce. Will definitely be making this again to bring to a get together!
Rum and pineapple in a cake! I don’t know why I’ve never come across this before. It tasted so delicious and tropical. I can’t wait to make it again
Barry J. says
I usually stick to making pound cake, but wanted to try something new. And I'm so glad I did. This cake was absolutely divine. I'll be making again very soon.
I am so pleased to have found this recipe - it tasted just like a cake Nana used to make. Scrumptious!
The rum glaze was for me the best part about this beauty!!! It set my tastebuds alight and made the already soft tasty cake even better!! Yum! I enjoyed this!
This cake is absolutely divine! It’s moist and so flavorful. The rum glaze is my favorite part! Will definitely be making this again!
This came out so good! I had a good feeling about it since I love rum cake AND I love pineapple upside-down cake, but it was even better than I expected! Thanks for this awesome recipe -- I'll be making this over and over!
Pineapples are my favorite thing!!!! I’ve tried pineapple upside down cake but never with Rum! Delish!!!!
The pineapples and rum played so well with each other in this recipe! That rum flavor with the sweet pineapples and soft cake was everything!
Omg this cake. It is SO GOOD! I followed the instructions to a tee and came out with an absolute winner! I’m a huge pineapple upside down cake fan and this was such a fun twist on it. So so good. Did I mention it was good??
Alex Rankin says
Question! I’ve made this once and it turned out AMAZING. Now my cousin in another state wants me to make it to ship to him. How would suggest doing this so it travels okay?? Especially since it is such a soaked cake.
Hi, Alex! I have never shipped a cake before but recommend the packaging method used in this YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16ysEYnvFmE
Additionally, it would probably be best not to add the butter rum glaze to the cake before shipping since it won't stay warm.
Ashley S. says
I can't wait to make this cake. One question, can I add vanilla pudding mix as well for more moisture?
Hi, Ashley! I can't speak to the impact of adding vanilla pudding as I have not tried the recipe in that way. I will say that the cake is moist as is, so I don't think vanilla pudding is necessary.
Sunday Wiley says
Hi Jazz, can you freeze this cake and later put in the rum?
Hi, Sunday! I have not frozen this particular cake before so can't make a guarantee, however, have frozen other pineapple upside down cakes and they did quite well, except that the texture is slightly different after thawing (takes at least 24 hours).
Sunday Wiley says
It's Sunday again, I did not have time to insert the rum, so I put the cake in the fridge and was going to add the rum before serving. The bottom half of the cake is pretty dry, so, I guess I am asking if now I should take it out of the fridge and try the rum, or if I can freeze it for a later date and insert the rum then? Btw.... the cake turned out BEAUTIFUL!
Sunday Wiley says
I guess what I am asking is if I can freeze this particular cake , and thaw it out later and add the rum glaze? It turned out beautifully, but just did not have time to add the glaze, so had to freeze it for later.
Yes, you can add the glaze after thawing completely. Just make sure the glaze is warm!