Tropical Upside Down Fruit and Nut Cake


Tropical Upside Down Fruit and Nut Cake


The warm golden color palate of the Fall season is highlighted in this beautiful cake making it the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving table. Reminiscent of the tropics with the flavors of pineapple and a hint of coconut, it will evoke nostalgia for many who may have grown up enjoying this dessert. 

This cake is an old fashioned favorite and is really not that difficult to make. The name Upside Down Cake simply means that the beautiful nested fruit design is revealed once the cake is turned “upside down” on a serving platter. There is no need for frosting or additional embellishments with this cake and it all comes together beautifully in the oven in about 45 minutes. It is a lovely dessert to complete a special meal or as a sweet offering at brunch or afternoon tea time served with warm cups of coffee or tea. The base of the pan becomes the baker’s canvas as the arrangement of the fruit and nuts will be the highlight once the cake has been unmolded. A golden caramel topping is formed when the sugar and butter meld together atop the buttery moist cake.


Traditionally an upside down cake is topped with pineapple slices and maraschino cherries. I have vamped it up with the addition of pitted prunes and ground almonds. I also like a hint of coconut flavor in the cake batter which gives an island vibe and is nothing short of happiness in every bite. A sprinkling of nuts also gives a nice texture to the topping. I have used almonds but macadamias, pecans or walnuts can be substituted if you prefer. 

I hope you enjoy making new memories with this cake. It is one of my favorites and it never disappoints.


Tropical Upside Down Fruit and Nut Cake


Serves 10-12



6 oz or ¾ cup butter

1 cup white sugar

3 eggs

2 cups all purpose flour

⅛ tsp salt

2 tsps baking powder

½ cup pineapple juice (reserved from the slices)

1 tsp coconut essence 

1tbsp rum



2 tbsp melted butter

½ cup brown sugar

6 pineapple slices ( I use canned pineapple slices)

6-8 maraschino cherries

¼ cup ground almonds

8 pitted prunes or as many as you like soaked in either a bit of apple juice or rum for about 10 minutes to moisten.



In a mixing bowl, cream butter and white sugar until light and fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Sift flour and baking powder together. Add the salt and combine.

Stir together pineapple juice reserved from the can of pineapple slices, coconut essence and rum.

Fold flour mixture in 3 parts and alternate with juice mixture.


Prepare either a 12” x 8” x 1 ½” pan or a 9” Round pan by spraying with a non stick baking spray.

Pour melted butter and  distribute evenly over the base.

Sprinkle brown sugar over the melted butter.

Arrange the pineapple slices and pitted prunes in a pattern. Place a cherry in the center of each pineapple round. You may also cut rounds in halves and decorate as you like.

Sprinkle almonds onto any empty spaces remaining.

Pour cake batter over the fruit base.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 40-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Cool cake in pan for about 15 minutes on a wire rack. Slide a knife around the edges of the cake to loosen. Place serving platter over the top of the cake and then flip over quickly. Wait a few minutes until the cake and fruit release before lifting the pan off. If any fruit remain on the base of pan, simply remove and replace in the spot from which they came.

Happy feasting!!


Note: This cake must be unmolded for the full visual effect. If using a rectangular pan or dish, please ensure that you have a slighter larger rectangular shaped serving platter on which to turn out the cake.

Do not allow the cake to cool completely before unmolding as it will be difficult for the topping to release. 


Sharon Brun

Food and Lifestyle Blogger

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