Coconut Pineapple Upside Down Cake

A pineapple coconut sugar mixture bakes on the bottom, then gets flipped over to be on the top of this Coconut Pineapple Upside Down Cake. Top with a homemade whipped cream and sprinkle with coconut. A light, fresh cake!

A piece of cake on a plate, with Coconut and Pineapple

Coconut Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Box cake mixes with pudding are some of the most popular, easy cakes to make. It’s hard to mess up a box cake mix! This cake recipe uses pudding in the mix to make a fluffy textured cake. Coconut Pineapple Upside Down Cake has the delicious pina colada flavor. You’ll love the simple frosting on top!

How to Make Pineapple Cake Layers

This from-scratch pineapple cake gets its flavor from pineapple juice and  instant pineapple cream pudding mix. If you can’t find pineapple pudding, use coconut cream or even vanilla. Whatever flavor you like best will work!

  • Can you use butter instead of shortening? The short answer is yes, but note that it will change the texture of the cake slightly. Cakes with shortening tend to be lighter and have a more delicate crumb than cakes with butter. We recommend shortening for this cake.
  • Be sure to reserve the pineapple juice when you drain the crushed pineapple for the topping. That is the juice you’ll use for the actual cake batter.
  • Beat the cake batter on medium speed for about 3 minutes. Don’t forget to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Sometimes the shortening gets cold from the eggs or milk and sticks to the side of the bowl. Keep scraping the sides of the bowl while you beat the batter so all of the ingredients get well blended.
  • We used 8″ cake layers for this cake which gives you a nice, tall cake. You can use 9″, but lower the baking time. Please also note that if you use larger cake pans, the cake will not be as tall as the cake shown here.
  • You can bake this cake in a 9×13 pan if you’d like. Cook at the same temperature. Check the cake at 35-40 minutes to see if it is done yet. It will most likely need more time. Try to just turn the oven light on and peek in to check it instead of opening the oven door. Opening the oven door during baking can sometimes cause a cake to fall.

Coconut Pineapple Topping

This cake recipe is from an old Pillsbury Bake-Off Cake Cookbook. It was called “Flip-Flop Pineapple Cake”. It gets that name because of the coconut pineapple “topping”, which actually bakes on the bottom of the cake pans.

To make the topping, pour the melted butter in the bottom of the cake pans, then add the sugar, coconut and crushed pineapple, spreading it in the pans evenly. Pour and spread the batter gently over the pineapple coconut mixture. Once the cakes are baked, you’ll flip the cakes so that the sugary pineapple & coconut is now the topping, like an upside-down cake.

This cake is delicious as it is and doesn’t 100% need the whipped frosting. But sometimes upside down cakes don’t look very pretty. You can serve it with just a dollop of whipped cream or you can make a simple whipped cream frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake.

cream covered cake on a plate

Whipped Cream Frosting

This Coconut Pineapple Upside Down Cake has a three ingredient frosting of whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Use a clean, grease-free, cold stand mixer bowl with the whisk attachment to whip up these three ingredients until the cream has stiff peaks. Whipped cream comes together most easily if the bowl is cold and if the heavy cream is really cold.

Frost the cake, then decorate the top with extra coconut or pineapple if you’d like. Be sure to store the cake in the refrigerator since it has fresh whipped cream.

a slice of pineapple coconut cake on a plate

Other Pineapple Cake Recipes

Tools to Make this Cake

coconut pineapple upside down cake
coconut pineapple upside down cake

Coconut Pineapple Upside Down Cake

4.49 from 121 votes
A pineapple coconut sugar mixture bakes on the bottom, then gets flipped over to be on the top of this Coconut Pineapple Upside Down Cake. Top with a homemade whipped cream and sprinkle with coconut. A light, fresh cake!
Servings 12
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


For the Coconut Pineapple Topping:

For the Cake:

Whipped Cream:


Prepare the Coconut Pineapple Topping

  • Spray two 8″ round cake pans with cooking spray.
  • Melt the butter and divide it between the two pans.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, coconut and drained pineapple. Mix well, then divide between the two pans, spreading the mix to cover the bottom.
  • Set the pans aside.

For the Cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the shortening, milk, pineapple juice, eggs, sugar and vanilla extract. Mix well.
  • Add in the pudding mix, flour, baking powder and salt. Beat for 3 minutes at medium speed, scraping the bowl as needed.
  • Divide the batter between the two pans, pouring the batter over the pineapple coconut mixture. Spread the batter carefully to cover the topping.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until the top springs back when you touch it lightly. 
  • Cool the cakes for 5 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack to cool completely. 

Prepare the Whipped Cream:

  • In a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, beat together the whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form.

Assemble the Cake:

  • Place a cake layer on a cake plate.
  • Smooth the whipped cream over the first layer. 
  • Place the second cake on top.
  • Smooth the whipped cream frosting over the top and sides of the cake.
  • Garnish with shredded coconut and drained crushed pineapple if desired.
  • Store in the refrigerator.



*If  you cannot find pineapple pudding, substitute it for coconut or vanilla pudding mix.
The calories shown are based on the cake being cut into 12 pieces, with 1 serving being 1 slice of cake. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate.


Calories: 526kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 106mg | Sodium: 270mg | Potassium: 248mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 890IU | Vitamin C: 3.1mg | Calcium: 103mg | Iron: 1.2mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 526
A piece of cake on a plate, with Pineapple and Coconut title image

About Julie Clark

We are Julie, Maddie, and Kinslee – a mother and daughter team sharing with you the best cakes to satisfy any need or sweet craving that you may have. Welcome to our family’s kitchen!

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5 stars
Best desert I have ever made. Great recipe
Used lard, cake flour and a 15oz can of pineapple.

My cake come out dense I can’t figure out why. The only thing I can figure out is the pudding. I used sugar free pudding. Do you make the pudding or just put the powder? Help

Rather than substituting, where can I find a box of instant pineapple cream pudding? I have looked all over.

Can one use canned coconut milk instead of regular milk?