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Mini Gluten Free Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes

Gluten free Pineapple Upside down cake

These Mini Gluten-Free Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes are also known, in these here parts, as my other most-favorite-dessert in the whole world…they are in close contention for first with the elusive Black Forest Cake.

I warned you last week this recipe was coming. I also warned my hips that I would have to test it again…just to make sure it was perfect for you all, my wonderful readers and friends.

So…I hope you are ready for it. After a few extra neighborhood jogs, I think my hips finally are…

The gluten-filled version of this cake was a regular staple in my grandma’s baking repertoire. I remember her making it for so many wonderful food-filled family gatherings.

I also remember picking off all of the pineappley, buttery, brown sugary caramelized topping when no one was looking and then trying to smooth it over to make it look like my fingers had not yet found all of that deliciousness.

My grandma always knew…but she never got mad. After all, this is the same lady that would spend twenty minutes hand-stirring my bowl of strawberry ice-cream until it was the perfect soft-serve consistency. She liked her grandbabies happy. And one of the best ways she knew how to make us happy was with the attentive love she put into all of our food.

When I converted her recipe to a gluten-free, and slightly healthier, version, I also changed it so that it was actually baked in individual ramekin dishes. It was easier to control myself when I knew I had a specific serving size…as long as I could control myself to only one per sitting.

Gluten free Pineapple Upside-down cakes

This recipe is for 4 eight-ounce ramekin dishes (actually there is just enough batter to squeeze out 5). This is only because I only have four left amongst my kitchen supplies. Because I use these versatile little gems for so many different things…ice cream bowls, condiment holders, mise en place containers…my supply has started to dwindle. Somehow, I manage to break these more often than I break my wine glasses, which says a lot considering how regularly I tend to use those as well.

But, if you happen to be a bit more careful with your kitchen supplies than I, then feel free to just double this recipe to fit your nice collection of eight ramekins.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Mini Gluten-Free Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes

Also Nut-free and Very Easily Dairy-free, and Egg-free



  • 6 tsp Coconut Palm Sugar (OR Brown Sugar)
  • 2 Tbsp Butter, melted, divided (FOR DAIRY-FREE: use Coconut Oil, room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup Fresh Pineapple Pieces, thinly sliced


  • 1/2 cup Superfine Brown Rice Flour (such as Authentic Foods brand)
  • 1/4 cup Millet Flour OR Almond Flour
  • 3 Tbsp Arrowroot Starch
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder, Aluminum Free
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum
  • 1/4 tsp Fine Sea Salt
  • 3 Tbsp Butter, Softened at Room Temperature (FOR DAIRY FREE: use Coconut Oil)
  • 3 Tbsp Coconut Oil (IF DAIRY FREE: just use 6 Tbsp Coconut Oil and NO Butter)
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Palm Sugar (or Granulated Sugar)
  • 1 Egg (FOR EGG FREE: Mix together in small bowl: 1 1/2 Tbsp Unsweetened Applesauce with 3/4 tsp additional Baking Powder with 1 Tbsp Warm Water and with 3/4 tsp Ener G Egg Replacer – use mixture where you would add eggs)
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla
  • 1/3 cup + 2 Tbsp Buttermilk (FOR DAIRY FREE: use So Delicious Plain Cultured Coconut Milk Yogurt + 1 1/2 tsp Lemon Juice, let sit for 5 minutes)


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease 4 Oven-safe Eight-Ounce Ramekins with Coconut Oil.  Sprinkle 1 1/2 tsp of Coconut Palm Sugar (or Brown Sugar) into bottom of each ramekin. Then place pineapple pieces around the bottom (like above photo).

*Note: You may want to use more pineapple than above photo. I was running low on fresh pineapple when I made these. I typically like a lot more than I had on hand.

2.  Pour 1/2 Tbsp of melted butter (or Coconut Oil in liquid form) into each ramekin.  Place ramekins into oven for 5 minutes until butter starts to bubble. Carefully remove ramekins from oven.

3.  In a medium bowl, whisk together until airy: Superfine Brown Rice Flour, Millet (or Almond Flour), Arrowroot Starch, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, and Sea Salt.

4.  In bowl of stand mixer, add: Softened Butter, Coconut Oil, and Sugar. Beat on medium-high for 3 minutes until becomes light and fluffy. Add egg (or Egg-replacer) and vanilla. Stop to scrape down sides.

5.  Add half of the flour mixture, then all of the buttermilk (or dairy-free substitute), then the rest of the flour mixture and mix until just blended.

6.  Pour batter into hot ramekins, only filling 2/3 full (note, you may have a little extra batter). Bake for 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool for ten minutes, run knife around edges, then remove from mold and flip onto serving plate. Serve with your dairy or dairy-free choice of vanilla ice-cream.

Do you have a favorite cake that reminds you of your childhood?


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  1. On June 8, 2011 Kalinda said

    Oh man, those are way too cute. I’m not sure I have the right-sized ramekins though. Hmm, I’ll have to think up a way around that.

    • On June 8, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      HI Kalinda!! Thanks so much! You know that you could use a smaller or bigger ramekin and just adjust the time. I even think that a muffin tin would work but they are probably more like 4 ounces so you would really have to watch them as they cook. 😉

  2. On June 8, 2011 Sarena said

    These look amazing! I love that they have such a sweet spot in your heart and memories too! Those make the best desserts, especially when you can make them fit into your restrictive diet!

    • On June 8, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Sarena, you are so sweet!! Thanks so much! I love remembering all of the wonderful things about my grandma. She is one of the main reasons I love cooking and baking so much. It just reminds me of her! 😉

  3. On June 8, 2011 Shirley @ gfe said

    Sweet, sweet, sweet, sweet! OMG, those are cute, and I love the idea of individual ones. I think those would make guests feel really special. Love this post, Kim! Oh, and good grandmas are so very special. 🙂 Your grandmother made me think of my favorite grandma who spoiled us rotten and NEVER got mad at us. Seriously. Such grandmas are true blessings in life.


    • On June 8, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Shirley, you are too sweet! I do have to agree that whenever I have served these, everyone loves the idea of the small individual ones. I love that you have a grandma that spoiled you as well! That truly makes for the most amazing memories! My grandma (and my mom, of course, who learned from my grandma) is the reason that I love to spend so much time in the kitchen!

  4. On June 8, 2011 Andrea said

    I love making desserts in individual ramekins. It really helps keep us “honest” with our portions!
    Your pineapple upside down cakes look yummy.

    • On June 8, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Thanks, Andrea! I have to say that I agree with you in that these little ones keep us honest….as long as you only eat ONE!! LOL 😉

  5. On June 8, 2011 ratih said

    Can you give me a clue how to substitute millet flour?
    Its hard to fine in my country and we cant eat nuts

    • On June 8, 2011 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hi Ratih,
      You can substitute quinoa flour, oat flour, or corn flour in place of the millet flour. All should work well in the same measurement amount! Let me know if you have any questions about it! 😉

      • On June 8, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

        Hi Ratih,
        You can substitute quinoa flour, oat flour, or corn flour in place of the millet flour. All should work well in the same measurement amount! Let me know if you have any questions about it!

        • On June 9, 2011 ratih said

          thanks, I will give it a try with corn flour ( different with corn starch right???)

          • On June 9, 2011 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

            Hi Ratih! Yes. Corn flour and cornstarch are different. Make sure to use the flour if you are trading it out for the millet flour! 😉

  6. On June 8, 2011 Annie in Illinois said

    I found mini tube pans & made some gluten-free Pineapple Upside down cakes that way, but each one is definitely two servings. I also put pecans in the bottom, like pecan rolls have. Had to leave out the maraschino cherries to avoid corn derivatives.

    • On June 10, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hi Annie! I love the idea of doing this in the Mini tube pans! And I love pecans in these too. I did not add them here because I have many Nut-free followers, but they really do add an awesome touch to this recipe! 😉 And I leave the maraschino cherries out as well! Not a big fan of them! 😉

  7. On June 8, 2011 Molly said

    What can replace the Rice Flour?????????

    • On June 8, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      HI Molly! To sub out the rice flour in this recipe, Sorghum flour or fava bean flour would be closest in weight and protein structure to the rice flour. However, I believe that I would adjust the amount from 1/2 cup of rice flour to 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons of the flour replacement, if you are using one of those substitutions I mentioned (they are each slightly lighter in weight than brown rice flour). Good luck and let me know how it turns out! 😉

  8. On June 9, 2011 InTolerantChef said

    Individual cakes are the perfect answer to portion control! Yummo

    • On June 10, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      HI Intolerant Chef! I could not agree more that individual cakes are perfect to keep us honest with ourselves~ 😉

  9. On June 9, 2011 Caro, SGF said

    Those are adorable! I love, love, love pineapple upside down cake. Such a great idea to have one all to one’s self so you don’t have to share 🙂

    • On June 10, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Thanks Carol! See, I pretend that I make them just to keep me from eating too many. But really? I make them individual like this so that no one can touch mine! 😉

  10. On June 9, 2011 Ariana Anderson said

    Suppose you don’t own ramekins, could you make this in say, a cake pan or pie plate?

    • On June 10, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hi Ariana! You could totally double this recipe and then make it in a 9 inch round cake pan as well! I have done that and it worked perfectly. It took about 45 -50 minutes to bake at 350, but I would definitely keep a watch on it. 😉

  11. On June 9, 2011 Alisa Fleming said

    Why does your food always look so darn perfect? I’m always in awe. I’m going to fly to AZ to get some food styling tips from you and soak up some much-needed sun!

    I’m not a big cake person (I know, I know), but these I would love. I am so the person who picks off the caramelized stuff and then tries to cover my tracks, that is the best part! I also make apple crisp with a triple layer of crisp. I just love that really sugary stuff.

    • On June 10, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Alisa, I totally guessed you would be the one who also picked off all of the good stuff on top! LOL And I also make my crisps and crumbles AND my coffee cakes with TONS of topping as well for the same reason!

      And, I hope you are booking that flight to come see me in AZ! We would have WAY too much fun together in the kitchen (and elsewhere)! I am serious! I have a room waiting for you and I love house guests! 😉

  12. On June 10, 2011 Christine said

    These look so cute and delicious! To keep to the cake “one per sitting” rule, I would sit down, eat one, get up, sit down again and have another! haha.

    • On June 10, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Christine! That is hysterical! I love your idea of “one per sitting”! I am SOOOO adapting that for myself! 😉

  13. On June 10, 2011 Ashley said

    I have a confession to make. I read your blog all the time but never comment, however, thats not the confession i meant. My mother in law makes pineapple upside down cake all the time and when Im over there I just cant resist myself when i’m alone in the kitchen; sneaking bites out of the pan and trying to cover it up. haha however, the being sick part afterwards always clues everyone in that I was the one who ate half the pan!! I always feel like a little kid who is caught with their hand in the cookie jar! The pretending like gluten and dairy isn’t a problem has finally become something I can’t justify anymore and has had me searching for the perfect gluten free and vegan pineapple upside down cake and I am soooo happy that you have created it! You truly are a blessing!

    • On June 10, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hi Ashley! I am so glad that you finally commented! I hope you continue to do so! 😉
      And I LOVE that you too were a “topping thief”! Pineapple Upside Down topping is totally addicting!
      I hope you are feeling better now that you are gluten and dairy free! 😉 I also hope you enjoy the cake! 😉 Thank you for your kinds words!

  14. On June 14, 2011 Maggie said

    Kim I want one of these RIGHT NOW. I love the way you described them. So my kind of dessert! Grandmothers are the best secret-keepers 🙂 Gorgeous pics, as always! One more thing, I totally hear you on the ramekin thing! My stash is in the same state! I need to get married again so I can replenish. Hahha! xo

    • On June 22, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Thanks Maggie. I just actually broke another ramekin yesterday, so I think I will actually have to go out and finally invest in some more. ;(

  15. On June 22, 2011 jas said

    these look so cute! I’ve never tried a pineapple upside down cake before – betting you I can now 🙂

    • On June 22, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Thanks, jas! I cannot believe you have never tried pineapple upside down cake before. You must give it a go! 😉

  16. On June 22, 2011 Alex said

    I made the vegan version of this recipe. The “egg” mixture is a good idea, but I think it needs some xanthan gum in the flour or some ground flaxseeds if you don’t use the real egg; mine prettymuch all fell appart when I tried to take them out. I’m in love w/ the flavor though! I unfortunately couldn’t resist stuffing all the crumbles into my mouth… And I doubled the recipe… So there where a lot of crumbs.

    Another idea to veganise it is to use pineapple juice instead of buttermilk.

    • On June 22, 2011 Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hi Alex! Thanks so much for the feedback! I am going to make these again, with the egg replacement this time, and add some xanthan gum or possibly a chia slurry to the recipe to test the amounts and crumble-factor and will update the recipe. THanks for letting me know. Glad you liked the flavor! I love the idea of the pineapple juice for the buttermilk replacement! 😉

  17. On October 13, 2011 Erin said

    Hi, I see that this receipe is gluten free, our family doesn’t have this restriction, do you know how the receipe would change if it was converted with white flour? Also, you have an interesting mix for egg replacement, does this work better for baked goods in general, or is it specific for this recipe? Eggs (amongst other things) are on our DON”T eat list, and I am always looking for new ways to better my baking.
    Thanks, this is a great site!

  18. On November 12, 2011 Krista said

    Hi there,
    I just came across your blog after a search and I’m loving it! This recipe looks fantastic and I can’t wait to try it out!! I know my kiddos would love it.
    Do you have another suggestion for replacing buttermilk? I cannot find coconut milk yogurt here in Canada (although I SO wish I could!) Do you think coconut milk with lemon juice would work?

    • On November 12, 2011 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hi Krista!! You can actually just use coconut milk and lemon juice in place of the coconut yogurt. If you use the canned full-fat coconut milk it will definitely mimic the consistency of the yogurt and the added fat from the milk will just add a richness to your cake! Hope you enjoy it!

  19. On January 9, 2012 Stephenie said

    This is a fabulous recipe! Rice, eggs and pineapple are on our “don’t” list along with gluten and dairy so, I substituted fresh mango for the pineapple, buckwheat flour for the rice and 2T ground flax cooked with 5T water, until egg white consistency. Also, I didn’t have the coconut sugar so I subbed with maple flour.
    It’s delicious, doesn’t taste “healthy,” and only tastes a bit oily. I forgot the extra 2T flour that is recommended when replacing the rice flour.
    Thank you for this recipe!

    • On January 12, 2012 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hi Stephenie! Thank you so much for letting me know how the recipe turned out! So glad that all of your substitutions worked out so well here! I love it! Glad you enjoyed the cakes!!

  20. On January 28, 2012 Stephenie said

    We love these as mango upside down cakes. I’ve made this every week since we started our restrictive diet a month ago.
    Mango instead of pineapple
    Maple syrup 1/3 of the recipe, instead of sugar in batter
    The egg replacer u recommended minus the water and ground chia instead of energy egg replacer
    Full fat coconut milk with apple cider vinegar instead of yogurt with lemon juice
    sorghum instead of rice flour

    The way I make it it’s sugar free, grain free, egg free, gluten free and dairy free but fully fabulous thanks to u!
    Thank u for sharing this recipe!

    • On February 1, 2012 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Stephenie, I am loving your adaptions to the recipe! I am so happy you are enjoying the upside down cakes. The idea of the mango sounds awesome!! Thanks for coming back and letting me know about your results!! 🙂 I just may give your version a try next time!!

  21. On April 5, 2012 Jan Cowan said

    I made this for my family, for once we could all enjoy the same desert – only one person in our family is gluten intolerant. It was such a hit that I have had requests to make it again and again.
    I didn’t have the millet or arrowroot but substituted tabioca flour. It worked perfectly,
    Thanks for all of us.

  22. On April 16, 2012 Linda said

    I made these tonight, and tweaked them just a little and cooked them as a doubled recipe in a muffin pan. They are BEAUTIFUL!!! Thankyou so much for a recipe that works!

    • On April 16, 2012 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Woohoo! Linda, this made my Monday morning! THank you so much for coming back and reporting your results…so happy that you enjoyed them!! 😉

  23. On June 21, 2012 Jenny said

    I just made these tonight. Fabulous! Thanks to the coconut sugar- I have no sugar high afterward either.
    I made a couple of changes- subbed tapioca starch for arrowroot because it’s what’s in the cupboard 🙂 I subbed out a little of the almond milk soured with lemon juice for some pineapple juice for added pineapple flavor. I had to use canned crushed pineapple, drained, because it’s what was in the cupboard…lol
    I doubled the recipe since I used my 6 cavity mini pineapple shaped baking pan from nordic ware.
    My only error was that they could have baked just a bit longer. They tested fine with the touch method and a toothpick but as so often happens with GF baking, that wasn’t accurate enough.
    Thanks for the recipe!

    • On June 22, 2012 Kim-Cook It Allergy Free said

      Hi Jenny! Thank you, thank you for coming back and sharing your success with these! So excited to hear that these turned out for you. I love the idea of using the juice from the pineapples for some of the extra flavor! I am going to do that next time too! 😉 And I agree that in GF baking that touch test has failed me many times. That, I think, is the trickiest part of baking with substitutions. It can be so tricky to know when something is done!
      So happy that you enjoyed these! 😉

  24. On September 27, 2013 Jessica said

    Hi! I’d love to make this for my best friend’s birthday which is next week, but I’d like to make her a double layer cake. Do you have a recipe that would be translated to an 8″ round rather than cupcakes?

    Thanks so much!

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