What could make a long day sitting by the pool or an afternoon at the beach even better? A dessert reminiscent of a tropical island, of course. Pineapple and coconut are two flavors that evoke Caribbean shores with steel drum bands playing in the background and salty seas on the horizon. 

Pineapple upside down cake is a familiar dessert classic on which people can put their own unique spins. With this recipe from “Vegan Cooking for Beginners” (Publications International) by PIL editors, vegan dessert guests can also enjoy the fare thanks to vegan-friendly ingredients.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Makes 10 servings 


1⁄2  cup packed brown sugar

1⁄4  cup vegan buttery spread

7 canned or fresh pineapple slices

7 maraschino cherries


3tablespoons boiling water

1tablespoon ground flaxseed

2cups all-purpose flour

2teaspoons baking powder

1⁄2  teaspoon salt

1cup granulated sugar

1⁄2  cup vegetable oil

1teaspoon vanilla

1cup refrigerated coconut milk beverage

1⁄2  teaspoon baking soda

1tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease 9-inch round baking pan.

For topping, cook and stir brown sugar and buttery spread in medium skillet over medium heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Pour into prepared pan. Arrange pineapple slices in pan, placing cherries in centers of pineapples.

Combine boiling water and flaxseed in small bowl. Let stand until cool. Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Whisk granulated sugar, oil and vanilla in large bowl until well blended. Whisk in flaxseed mixture. Stir in flour mixture just until moistened. Stir in coconut milk just until blended. Place baking soda in small cup; stir in vinegar. Gently stir vinegar into batter just until blended. Pour batter over pineapple.

Bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Run thin knife around edge of pan to loosen cake. Invert onto serving plate. Cool completely.

Note: The cake can also be baked in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet. Melt the buttery spread and brown sugar in the skillet, add the pineapple and cherries and pour the batter over the fruit. Check the cake for doneness at 40 minutes

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