Instant Pot Pineapple Upside Cake is an easy, no oven needed, recipe that starts with a cake mix. AND - these are make ahead and can be individual, personal desserts. I know you want to make them right now!
When it was time to make a Pineapple Upside Down Cake for Kyle and Joel's Great 8 Dinner, I had a few decisions to make. What kind of recipe did I want to make being the most important. I decided this recipe should be easy to throw together in the summertime.
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So let's start it with a cake mix instead of being totally from scratch. I also thought, "since I want a summer cake, how can we not heat the oven?" Light Bulb (insert emoji here), my Instant Pot! I had been dying to try a dessert in my multi cooker so this was the perfect opportunity.
How to make cake in the Instant Pot
You may think the Instant Pot is mostly for meats and soups. But it's also a Gr8 tool to use in lieu of your oven for dessert. There are lots of creamy dessert recipes, such as crème brulée and pots de crème, for the multi cooker, but not as many cake recipes.
This is because cake needs a dry environment to become "cake-y." And you need to put water in your multi-cooker with desserts, otherwise they will just burn on the bottom. And water is the opposite of a dry environment!
To get around this, you must put the cake batter into a sealed container to "bake" it in the Instant Pot. You could tightly wrap a larger pan that fits in your pot in foil. Or Aozita makes sealable stacking pans (I haven't tried them). I decided instead to make individual Pineapple Upside Down Cakes because I keep canning jars of all sizes on hand and they seal easily. And, individual desserts are always a nice surprise for both guests and family!
Since four 8-ounce jars fit comfortably in my 8-quart Instant Pot, I filled the first four jars and cooked them. Then, when I was ready to cook the second set of four, I filled the jars. I waited to fill the jars until ready to cook because I didn't want the cake mix sitting in the jars and seeping down into the topping.
And be sure to turn the cakes out of the jars soon after removing from the multi cooker. Just run a knife around the edge between the cake and the glass and turn the jar upside down onto your serving plate or platter. Be careful, they're hot! If you wait until the jars cool, the oil will solidify and make getting the cake out of the jar much more difficult.
*If you want this to be dairy free, be sure to check the cake mix you choose to ensure it is dairy free.
Instant Pot Pineapple Upside Down Cake
- Multi Pot Cooker (Instant Pot)
- 8 8-ounce glass jars with lids
- 4 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted, divided
- 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
- 20 ounce can pineapple slices, drained. Reserve the juice to use in the cake.
- 4 preserved sweet cherries, halved, see notes
- 1 box yellow cake mix, I like Duncan Hines best.
- 3 eggs, see Cake Mix note re measurement.
- 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted. See Cake Mix note re measurement.
- 1 cup pineapple juice, from the drained pineapple. If there is less than a cup of juice, add water to bring it to 1 cup. See Cake Mix note re measurement.
- 1 1/2 cups water, for the bottom of your multi cooker
- Use a paper towel to grease the insides of the jars with the coconut oil. Discard the towel.
- Mix 3 Tablespoons of melted coconut oil with the brown sugar. Divide this mixture into the bottom of the 8 prepared jars.
- Lay 1 pineapple slice in the bottom of each jar on top of the brown sugar/oil mixture. Then, place 1 half of a cherry in the middle of each pineapple slice. Now on to the cake mix.
Making the Cake
- Make the cake according to the box directions using the coconut oil in place of the vegetable oil. (This gives a nice tropical flavor.) And use the pineapple juice instead of the water, in the measurement requested on the box.
- Once the batter is well mixed, fill 4 of the jars halfway. Then just finger tighten the lids. Do not tighten too much or the jars could crack and break. (You can check your Instant Pot recipe manual for specific instructions.)
- Put the 1 1/2 cups water in the bottom of your Instant Pot inner pot. Then put the footed steamer rack in the pot. Set the 4 filled jars on top of the steamer rack.
- Put the lid on the multi cooker and seal. Make sure the pressure valve is in the sealed position.
- Cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Then let the pressure slow release for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, release the pressure using the quick release method.
- Using a towel or hot mitt, carefully remove the four jars from the pot. (They will be hot!)
- Immediately open the jars and run a knife around the edge between the cake and the jar. Then invert the dessert onto either individual plates or one large serving platter.
- Repeat the same instructions with the second 4 jars.
- Serve with whipped cream or ice cream and enjoy!
Gr8 Cake Mix Notes:
- Both Duncan Hines and Pillsbury use 1 cup water, 1/3 cup oil, and 3 eggs. If you are using a different brand, the measurements may be different.
- Using the pineapple juice from the pineapple rings and the coconut oil in lieu of vegetable oil gives this cake an amazing tropical flavor.
- Bonus for the Duncan Hines mix -- This mix is dairy free and there is no dairy in this recipe. Soooo, if you have any milk allergies in your family, this is the perfect dessert.
Gr8 Cherry Note:I prefer to use gourmet dessert cherries rather than the classic bright red maraschino cherries. If you prefer the maraschino cherries, they will work, fine.
Gr8 Make Ahead Notes:
- These cakes can be made a day ahead of time and refrigerated.
- BUT, you need to be sure to turn them out of the jars when they are still hot.
- Place on a platter, let them cool, then cover tightly and refrigerate.
- Remove from the refrigerator at least an hour before serving so they can come to room temperature.