This Cardamom-Infused Vegan Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Is a Modern Riff on a Retro Fave

A grown-up version of the author's childhood memories, this cake is worthy of any celebration

Photo: Clare Winfield

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This vegan pineapple upside-down cake recipe is excerpted from Vegan Holiday Feasts: Inspired Meat-Free Recipes for the Festive Season by Jackie Kearney. Sounds Ryland Peters & Small, 2019. Reprinted with permission.

I was about 8 years old when I made my very first pineapple upside-down cake. I followed the recipe from one of my mum’s ‘70s cookery books. I even made her buy the glacé/candied cherries so it would look like the picture. This is like a grown-up version of those childhood memories.

If you’re not a cake eater, you could simply poach the pineapple with the cardamom and serve with a scoop of vegan ice-cream. Either way, pineapple and cardamom is a delicious combo however you serve it. It’s important to use the right amount of cardamom, as it can taste soapy if you add too much.

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Vegan Pineapple Upside-Down Cake by Jackie Kearney

Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
60 min


  • 1 fresh pineapple or 10 1/2 ounces (300 grams) canned pineapple, cut into rings or pieces
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • Generous 3/4 cup (160 grams) caster or superfine sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups (225 grams) self-rising flour
  • 4 ounces (125 grams) vegan margarine
  • 1/8 cup (80 milliliters) soy milk (or other vegan milk)
  • 2 flax eggs or egg replacer
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 10 green cardamom pods, shelled, seeds removed


  1. Preheat the oven to 325˚F (170˚C)
  2. Soften the coconut oil and rub 20 g/1½ tablespoons of the sugar into it. Rub this mixture around the bottom of a lined 8-inch round cake pan and halfway up the sides. Place the pineapple slices across the bottom of the lined cake pan. Set aside.
  3. Grind the cardamom seeds to a powder with a pestle and mortar. Then sift the ground cardamom into a bowl along with the remaining ingredients and whisk together with an electric hand-held whisk.
  4. Pour the mixture into the cake pan and place in the preheated oven for 50–60 minutes, until the cake is evenly risen and a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  5. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.