History of Upside-Down Cake

Upside-down cake is a classic American dessert that has been around for over a century. It is a cake that is baked with fruit on the bottom and then flipped over to reveal the fruit on top. The cake is then served warm with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream. In this article, we will delve into the history of upside-down cake, its origin, and how it has evolved over the years.

upside down cake
upside-down cake

The Origins of Upside-Down Cake

Upside-down cake has been around for a long time, with some records dating back to the late 1800s. The earliest known recipe for upside-down cake was published in 1876 in a cookbook called “American Cookery” by Amelia Simmons. However, this recipe was for an upside-down cake made with pineapples, which were not native to the United States at the time and were considered a luxury item.

The modern-day version of upside-down cake, which is typically made with canned pineapple, maraschino cherries, and yellow cake mix, was popularized in the 1920s and 1930s. This was due in part to the increased availability of canned goods and the ease of using cake mixes, which became popular during the Depression era.

Variations of Upside-Down Cake

While pineapple is the most common fruit used in upside-down cake, other fruits such as peaches, apples, and plums can also be used. Some people even use savory ingredients like tomatoes, onions, and bacon in their upside-down cakes.

In addition to variations in the type of fruit used, there are also many different ways to make the cake batter. Some people use a cake mix, while others prefer to make the batter from scratch. There are also variations in the type of sugar used in the topping, with some recipes calling for brown sugar and others using granulated sugar.

Upside-Down Cake in Pop Culture

Upside-down cake has been featured in many popular films and television shows over the years. In the 1980s, the TV show “Twin Peaks” featured a cherry pie that was served upside-down. The character of Agent Cooper was particularly fond of the pie, which became a recurring theme throughout the show.

In the 2001 film “Amélie,” the main character makes an upside-down apple tart for her father, who is depicted as being very picky about his food. The scene is one of the most memorable in the film and has become a favorite of foodies and film buffs alike.


What is the best type of fruit to use in upside-down cake?

Pineapple is the most traditional fruit to use in upside-down cake, but peaches, apples, and plums can also be used.

Can I make upside-down cake from scratch?

Yes, you can make the cake batter from scratch or use a cake mix.

What type of sugar is best for the topping?

Some recipes call for brown sugar, while others use granulated sugar.

What is the most popular variation of upside-down cake?

Pineapple upside-down cake is the most popular variation.

Can I use savory ingredients in my upside-down cake?

Yes, some people use ingredients like tomatoes, onions, and bacon in their upside-down cakes.


Upside-down cake has a rich history that dates back over a century. From its origins in the late 1800s to its modern-day variations, this classic dessert has remained a favorite among home cooks and professional chefs alike. Whether you prefer pineapple, peaches, or apples, there is an upside-down cake recipe out there for everyone.

I'm Jennifer Tirrell, a self-taught baker, and founder of CakeRe. As an experienced baker and recipe publisher, I have spent over a decade working in the kitchen and have tried and tested countless baking tools and products. From classic cakes to creative twists, I've got you covered. So grab your apron and let's get baking!

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