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Upside down pineapple cake

Servings: 8
This is a gluten-free riff on the classic 1970’s Golden Circle Cookbook pineapple cake, with a maraschino cherry and golden syrup caramel that flings it into the 21st Century. Gluten-free flour can vary, and I prefer the brands that put more potato and tapioca starch in rather than going heavy on the cornstarch. Check the back of the label before you buy, and the less ingredients they have, the better they tend to taste, in my experience. If you’d prefer to use your plain flour up, just add 2 teaspoons of baking powder to turn it into self-raising.


  • 4 slices pineapple fresh or tinned
  • ¼ cup maraschino whole cherries and juice
  • ¼ cup (90g) golden syrup
  • 120 g softened unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup (170g) caster sugar
  • 1 tsp whole vanilla bean extract
  • 2 ½ cups GF self raising flour
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • ½ tsp salt flakes


  • Preheat your oven to 170℃ conventional (I prefer to use this setting for baking, so if you can turn your fan off, do - or bake at 150℃ fan if you must).
  • Grease a 30cm long (1.7L capacity) loaf tin and line the bottom with baking paper.
  • Place a medium sized saucepan onto a gentle heat and plonk in the maraschino cherries and syrup, the golden syrup and the pineapple slices. Gently warm through for 2-3 minutes, turning the pineapple over a few times to soak up the juices. Gently arrange the pineapple pieces along the bottom of the loaf tin, and pour the cherries and sauce over the pineapple, swirling so that the syrup goes up the sides of the tin too. Pop into the fridge until ready.
  • In a stand mixer or with electric beaters, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and add in 1 egg and the vanilla, beating well, then repeat for the other egg, scraping down the sides for a uniform mix.
  • Remove from the stand mixer and sift in half the flour, half the milk and salt, mix and then repeat with the remaining until all incorporated and a runny-ish batter is formed (remember that GF flour can’t be over-mixed… bonus!). If the batter feels too stiff, then add in another ¼ cup more milk.
  • Pour into the loaf tin, and smooth down with your flexible spatula.
  • Place in the middle of your oven and pop the timer on for 50 minutes. Test with a skewer - it shouldn’t be wet through the middle, but if a few crumbs come off, that’s a good time to take it out, as residual heat will do the heavy-lifting.
  • Let the cake sit in the loaf tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Have a baking tray underneath to catch any of the delicious syrup, which can be poured back over the top to serve.

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