spiced rum pineapple upside down cake

Spiced Rum Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Layered with spices, rum, caramel, and brown sugar, this cake is bursting with flavor and is tender as can be!

Recipe by Liz Clements of Think Like a Baker, helping home bakers become confident and creative in the kitchen.

Spiced Rum Caramel

  • 84g granulated sugar
  • 50g Brown sugar
  • 34g Distiller’s Workshop Spiced Rum
  • 50g Pineapple Juice from drained pineapple slices (or water)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 piece star anise (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
  • Several grinds of black pepper
  • 67g unsalted butter
  • Small pinch of salt
  1. Measure the granulated sugar into a small bowl and set it aside.
  2. In a small saucepot, measure the brown sugar, rum, pineapple juice, and spices. Heat on medium/high until the mixture comes to a rolling boil and set aside.
  3. Place another small saucepot on medium heat and sprinkle in a very thin layer of the granulated sugar.  When the sugar is completely melted, add another thin layer of sugar and stir gently until it is fully melted.
  4. Keep adding small additions of sugar and stir to combine until all of the sugar has been incorporated. This should take about 5 additions depending on the size of your pot. As you add more and more sugar, the mixture will begin to get a golden brown hue and caramelize. If it seems like the process is going too fast for your comfort, don’t sweat it, just take the pot off the heat for a moment and adjust your burner temp down.
  5. Once all of the sugar is incorporated and the caramel reaches a light to medium amber color, slowly whisk in the rum/brown sugar mixture. Be sure to do this slowly, as it can furiously bubble up if added too quickly.
  6. Once all of the rum/brown sugar mixture has been safely added, let it boil on medium heat for about 1 minute.
  7. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and pinch of salt.
  8. Set aside to cool while you prepare the pan and make the cake batter.


Brown Sugar Cake

  • 1 (20 oz) can pineapple rings in juice, drained
  • Amarena cherries (optional)
  • 150g Spiced Rum Caramel
  • 220g sour cream
  • 100g neutral oil (like canola, grapeseed or vegetable)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 190g all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Butter or pan spray the bottom and sides of a 9 in. round cake pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.
  3. Remove star anise and bay leaf from the rum caramel.
  4. Pour 150 g of the rum caramel into the cake pan and tap the edges on the counter until it has spread almost all the way to the edge of the pan. Set aside the remaining caramel for later use.
  5. Place the pineapple rings in the pan and nestle them into the caramel.  Add a cherry to the center of each ring. Set aside and mix the cake batter.
  6. Measure the flour, salt, baking powder, and soda together in a bowl and whisk until no clumps remain. Set aside.
  7. In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar and eggs for one minute until slightly pale and light in color.
  8. Add sour cream, oil, and vanilla to brown sugar/egg mixture and whisk until thoroughly combined.
  9. Add dry ingredients all at once and whisk until fully combined.
  10. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula.
  11. Gently spoon the batter into the pan, starting around the edges and working your way towards the middle. Using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon, smooth the top of the batter.  Gently tap the pan on the counter to settle it.
  12. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the cake releases from the sides of the pan and a cake tester comes out clean.
  13. While the cake is baking, add 16 grams (1 ½ Tbsp) of spiced rum to the remaining caramel and whisk to combine. Set aside. This will be used to glaze the cake after it is unmolded.
  14. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes in the pan.
  15. Run a knife around the edges of the pan to release the cake.
  16. Place a cake plate or platter on top of the cake pan.
  17. Using pot holders or towels, place one hand on the bottom of the cake pan and the other on the platter and quickly flip over. Center the cake pan before removing it from the cake.
  18. Using a pastry brush or a spoon, glaze the cake with the remaining caramel/rum mixture.


A Few Notes

  1. The cake is best the day it is made, but can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  2. Don’t have a 9-inch round pan? An 8×8 inch pan or 9-inch skillet will do the trick.
  3. Try replacing the pineapple with blueberries, apricots, peach slices or fresh pitted cherries.
  4. The rum caramel recipe isn’t just for upside down cakes! Try drizzling it over ice cream or adding it to your coffee (use water instead of pineapple juice).



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