Pineapple Upside Down Cake Doughnuts

Pineapple Upside Down Cake Doughnuts | Kitchen Confidante

Every so often I pull out a little black folder tucked in the bottom of my desk drawer. I take it to the couch or into my bed, and with the same sense of calm as reading a novel, I sift through the hodgepodge of papers…recipes…from my mother. Some are laminated index cards with her handwriting in blue ink, cleanly written. Some are torn scraps of paper, franticly scribbled, as though she were in a rush. I imagine her taking these notes as she watched The Frugal Gourmet or Julia or Martin Yan. Then there are the magazine clippings, the newspaper food sections, yellowed with age.

I stopped at one the other night. On one side, ads for the local grocer, where you could buy fillet mignon for $2.38 a pound and cucumbers were 5 for 49 cents. A rotisserie chicken was $1.99 each. Each. On the other side, were several recipes for Pineapple Upside Down Cake. There was a version from 1925, another from Dole, and another for the skillet.

It brought me back to her Pineapple Upside Down Cakes. She favored crushed pineapples over slices, and the cake itself always had a lovely crumb. I’ve often wondered which of these versions she liked best.

As I reminisced, I had a vision of Pineapple Upside Down Cake Doughnuts. The little canned slices seem to be begging for it, don’t you think?

Pineapple Upside Down Cake Doughnuts | Kitchen Confidante

I baked a batch yesterday, and was so excited I just had to share them right away. I think you’ll forgive me for not posting my intended healthy recipe and letting this skip the queue. Between nostalgia and sweet euphoria, I couldn’t resist.

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Pineapple Upside Down Cake Doughnuts

Yield: 1 dozen doughnuts

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

There's nothing more retro (and nostalgic) as Pineapple Upside Down Cake. The adorable round rings just lend itself perfectly to be made as baked doughnuts!


1/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 15 oz can sliced pineapple, drained
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar until it is moist. Spread in the bottom of your doughnut pan.

Sliced the drained pineapples in half into thinner rings. Place the rings in the doughnut pan and press into the brown sugar.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until it is creamy. Add the sugar and continue beating until fluffy. Add the egg and beat until it is fully incorporated.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a measuring cup, stir in the vanilla into the buttermilk. Add the flour mixture in increments to the butter mixture, alternating with the milk. Beat until just combined.

Fill the doughnut pan about 2/3 full. Bake for about 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. Gently remove the doughnuts from the pan by inverting onto a plate.

Let it cool on a wire rack...or enjoy immediately.

Adapted from 1925 Winning Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Source Unknown and Best Baked Doughnuts Ever,

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by Liren Baker on April 4, 2013

30 Responses to “Pineapple Upside Down Cake Doughnuts”

  1. Cassie | Bake Your Day April 4, 2013 @ 8:54 am (#

    Beautiful story, Liren! I love nothing more than my mother’s and grandmother’s handwritten recipe cards. And pineapple upside down cake is one of them – my grandpa’s favorite and my grandma also uses crushed pineapple instead of rings. The rings are perfect for the doughnuts though. I love this!

  2. Malou | Skip to Malou April 4, 2013 @ 9:13 am (#

    I can’t resist clicking on your post when I read the first few lines from my reading list. What a heartwarming post… one of the greatest joys of cooking is being able to keep the memories of our dearly departed come to life again! Hugs Liren, I know your mom could smell what you just made … and I know she’s smiling in heaven!


  3. Laura (Tutti Dolci) April 4, 2013 @ 10:20 am (#

    Absolutely love these beauties, Liren! So glad they turned out :). Love your story about your mother’s recipes!

  4. Marcie @ Flavor the Moments April 4, 2013 @ 10:21 am (#

    These are just genius! I just love pineapple upside down cake, and this donut version is such a nice, single serving way to make and eat it!

  5. Deb April 4, 2013 @ 11:47 am (#

    My mom loved to make Pineapple Upside Down Cake in her cast iron skillet. Your post evoked such sweet memories of Sunday dinners! The doughnuts are just sublime, a scrumptious post!

  6. Carol | a cup of mascarpone April 4, 2013 @ 1:12 pm (#

    I love family memories so much, they’re the greatest! …and Liren, these doughnuts are positively incredible!! Adore them!!!

  7. Rose from Magpies Recipes April 4, 2013 @ 1:59 pm (#

    Adorableness! When I saw them I thought they were upside down cakelettes. But doughnuts? Such a brilliant idea Liren! but I am sure these taste fantastic!
    Oh and I remember those “Yan Can Cook, So can you!” episodes too! Was so excited to see him on Top Chef recently :)

  8. Rose from Magpies Recipes April 4, 2013 @ 2:00 pm (#

    I meant to say: and I am sure these taste even more fantastic! not but I am sure :)

  9. Kiran @ April 4, 2013 @ 6:31 pm (#

    You don’t need to apologize. In fact, thank you so much for sharing this recipe from your mom’s treasured collection :) xo

  10. Belinda @zomppa April 4, 2013 @ 8:10 pm (#

    What precious donuts are these!!

  11. Kankana April 4, 2013 @ 9:54 pm (#

    I had a feeling this was coming next and I am so glad you didn’t wait log. LOVE how neat they look and even though I am not a huge fan of pineapple upside down cake, I am gonna give this a try. So pretty :)

  12. Jill @ KitchenFunWithMy3Sons April 5, 2013 @ 3:55 am (#

    This is such a great idea…love it!!

  13. Jessica@AKitchenAddiction April 5, 2013 @ 6:51 am (#

    I love looking through family recipes! This is such a fun idea for donuts!

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  15. Lindsey @ Hot Polka Dot April 7, 2013 @ 4:08 pm (#

    Gosh you are a clever one! I never would have thought of doing this but, seeing your lovely mouthwatering photos now, it makes so much sense!

  16. Nami | Just One Cookbook April 8, 2013 @ 10:21 am (#

    We love pineapple upside down cake, and when I saw it in donuts shape, I got so excited. I’ve been meaning to check this recipe but haven’t had the chance till now. I have to save this, these look so good!! I probably need to make double batch considering how everyone in my family loves pineapples. :)

  17. Barbara @ Barbara Bakes April 8, 2013 @ 10:29 am (#

    Such a fun idea. I pinned this one to try.

  18. Lori @ RecipeGirl April 8, 2013 @ 10:31 am (#

    This is seriously the cutest idea for a doughnut ever! Love it!

  19. Becky April 9, 2013 @ 12:21 pm (#

    My mother used to make pineapple upside down cake every year for my dad’s birthday. She wasn’t fancy and used boxed cake and canned pineapples but it was still good and now it’s forever a flavor of my childhood :)

  20. Irene April 15, 2013 @ 3:12 am (#

    Yay I finally got around to making some, making adjustments to reduce some of the butter in the doughnut batter! This is such a ridiculously great idea- the caramel sauce soaking into the doughnuts makes it super moist and a delish sweet treat! Thanks for the inspiration :)

  21. Simon @ Rice & Sticks April 15, 2013 @ 1:43 pm (#

    mmmm Pineapple, moist sweet pineapple. I LOVE anything with pineapple. Seems like a recipe to try when in the mood for something sweet.

    Great blog you got there. Definitely gonna check back regularly.

  22. Averie @ Averie Cooks April 17, 2013 @ 11:27 pm (#

    These are fabulous! What a clever idea and love that they’re a baked, no yeast, no fuss donut recipe. Pinning to my donut board!

  23. Lokness @ The Missing Lokness April 19, 2013 @ 12:40 pm (#

    These donuts are incredible looking. What a great idea to put pineapples over donuts. Love to try them.

  24. jules April 19, 2013 @ 11:25 pm (#

    so delicious. what a great idea. i wish i had one (or three) of these tomorrow morning

  25. Derrick Johnson April 20, 2013 @ 7:55 am (#

    What a great recipe! I WILL try this recipe real soon!

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  27. Lori @ Foxes Love Lemons April 24, 2013 @ 12:40 pm (#

    OMG, these look amazing. Beautiful recipe!

  28. Jenn B September 10, 2013 @ 4:32 pm (#

    Saw these, made them, LOVE THEM! My kids devoured them and they are delicious. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Liren replied: — September 11th, 2013 @ 8:34 am

      So glad you enjoyed them, Jenn!! :)

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