Vegan pineapple upside-down cupcakes

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Are you looking for a delicious dessert recipe that is loaded with sweet pineapple? Check out this recipe for vegan pineapple upside-down cupcakes. This recipe for pineapple upside-down cupcakes is made vegan by swapping the milk with coconut milk. The fruity flavor of the coconut complements the sweet, tangy flavor of the pineapple.

These cupcakes are made with gluten free all purpose flour so they are gluten free. In addition to being gluten free, these pineapple upside-down cupcakes are vegan, dairy free, egg free, and nut free.

Gluten free and vegan pineapple upside-down cupcakes with pineapple and marischino cherries.

What are pineapple upside-down cupcakes?

What are pineapple upside-down cupcakes? Pineapple upside-down cupcakes are like standard vanilla cupcakes with a few key additions. The following ingredients are added to pineapple upside-down cupcakes to add even more flavor.

  • Pineapple. Sweet and tangy pineapple chunks are added to pineapple upside-down cupcakes to give them an extra burst of flavor. The pineapples become even sweeter and more flavorful as they bake in the oven.
  • Maraschino cherries. Maraschino cherries are added alongside the pineapples. The sweetness of the maraschino cherries balances out the tanginess of the pineapple chunks. 
  • Brown sugar. A layer of brown sugar is added to fill the gaps between the pineapple chunks and the maraschino cherries. 

Gluten free and vegan pineapple upside-down cupcakes with pineapple and marischino cherries.

How do you make pineapple upside-down cupcakes?

How do you make pineapple upside-down cupcakes? Here are the steps you need to go through to make pineapple upside-down cupcakes. 

  • Make vanilla cupcake batter. The first step for making pineapple upside-down cupcakes is to mix a vanilla cupcake batter. Mix the wet ingredients in one bowl and the dry ingredients in another bowl. Then mix the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients together. 
  • Add the brown sugar. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners then add the brown sugar to the bottom of the muffin tin. 
  • Add the pineapple and maraschino cherries. Chop the pineapple into small, thin chunks then add the pineapple chunks and maraschino cherries on top of the brown sugar. 
  • Add the cupcake batter. Pour the vanilla cupcake batter on top of the pineapple and maraschino cherry. Jiggle the muffin tin a little so that the batter fills in the remaining spaces between the pineapple and the cherries. 
  • Bake the pineapple upside-down cupcakes. Bake the muffins for 23 – 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Pineapple upside-down cupcakes need to cook a little longer than regular vanilla cupcakes because they have extra liquid in them from the pineapples and cherries. 

Brown sugar in cupcake tines for gluten free and vegan pineapple upside-down cupcakes.
Pineapple and cherries in cupcake tines for gluten free and vegan pineapple upside-down cupcakes.
Batter in cupcake tines for gluten free and vegan pineapple upside-down cupcakes.

Tips for making pineapple upside-down cupcakes​

Pineapple upside-down cupcakes can be a little tricky to make. Why is that? Because the pineapple and cherries introduce extra liquid into the cupcake batter. Here are some tips to make pineapple upside-down cupcakes that are not soggy. 

  • Dry the fruit. You should dry the pineapple and cherries out with a paper towel before you put them in the muffin tin. If you do not dry them out then they will be too wet when you add them to the pineapple upside down cupcakes. 
  • Sprinkle flour over the pineapple. You can sprinkle a little bit of extra flour on top of the pineapple and cherries in order to dry out the cupcakes a little more. This is a great modification to make if you are finding that your cupcakes are a little too wet and doughy. 
  • Do not overfill the cupcakes. Make sure not to overfill the muffin tins. If you fill the muffin tins too much the cupcakes will spill over the sides of the tins and sink in the middle. Fill the wells no more than 2/3 of the way full. 
  • Do not peek at cupcakes. Since pineapple upside-down cupcakes have a little extra liquid in them they are more likely to sink in the middle if you open the oven before the tops of the cupcakes cook through. Make sure not to open the oven until the cupcakes are done. 
  • Cook the cupcakes few extra minutes. The fruits in pineapple upside down cupcakes add extra liquid. Whenever you add fruit to baked goods you should cook the baked goods a few minutes extra to dry them out. Usually, we would recommend cooking cupcakes for 20 – 22 minutes but we prefer to cook these cupcakes for 23 – 25 minutes.   
  • Cool the cupcakes in the oven. Pineapple upside-down cupcakes are more likely to sink in the middle if their temperature rapidly changes. The best way to slowly cook pineapple upside-down cupcakes is to turn the oven off and prop it open about 6 inches then let the cupcakes cool in the oven.

How to store pineapple upside-down cupcakes

These pineapple upside-down cupcakes should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container. The cupcakes will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. We do not recommend freezing these pineapple upside-down cupcakes because the texture of the pineapple and cherries can be affected by freezing and thawing. 

Vegan pineapple upside-down cupcakes

These tasty pineapple upside-down cupcakes are gluten free, vegan, dairy free, egg free, and nut free.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: dairy free, egg free, gluten free, nut free, vegan, vegetarian
Servings: 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 8 pineapple slices
  • 12 maraschino cherries
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

Cupcake batter

  • 2 cups gluten free all purpose
  • 2/3 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with liners.
  • Wrap the pineapples and cherries in paper towels and gently press on them. Soak up as much of the excess water as possible.
  • Add brown sugar to the bottom of the muffin tins.
  • Chop the pineapple slices into smaller chunks then add the pineapple slices and cherries to the bottom of the muffin tins. Sprinkle a little flour over the pineapple and cherries.
  • Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Whisk all of the wet ingredients together in another large mixing bowl. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients little by little, mixing as you do so. Stir the batter until there are no large clumps left in the batter.
  • Fill the wells of the muffin tin with the cupcake batter. The wells should be around 2/3 of the way full. Make sure not to overfill the wells so that the cupcakes do not overflow and sink in the middle.
  • Bake the cupcakes for 23 - 25 minutes at 350. Turn off the oven and prop open the door to let the cupcakes cool slowly in the oven. Taking the cupcakes out of the oven too quickly can result in the cupcakes sinking in the middle.

Notes

Xanthan gum. If your gluten free all purpose flour blend does not contain xanthan gum or a similar replacement for gluten then you should add around 1/4 tsp of xanthan gum per cup of flour.
Tips for measuring flour. We recommend measuring flour by spooning the flour into a measuring cup then leveling off the flour with a butter knife. This is the most consistent way to measure flour. If you dip your measuring cup into the bag of flour, it will compress the flour and you will end up with extra flour. 

Substitutions for pineapple cupcakes

  • Apple cider vinegar. You can use white wine vinegar or another vinegar that does not have a strong taste rather than apple cider vinegar. 
  • Vegetable oil. If you do not have vegetable oil then you can use another neutral oil. Do not use an oil with a strong flavor such as olive oil.  

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