Pineapple Upside Down Gooey Butter Cake

I must admit, this is probably not the most Instagram-worthy looking dessert you’ll find on the internet. But, it’s SOOOOOOO good and extremely easy to bake. I am way into it. If you’ve ever had gooey butter cake before, this is a dressed-for-warm-weather version as it features the flavors of a pineapple upside down cake. And if you’ve never had gooey butter cake before, you should! I believe it originates from the Midwest, and I recently had a version of this at restaurant in St. Louis and about died because it was so good. Of course I had to figure out a homemade version I could make myself.

Gooey butter cake is usually made with a yellow cake mix for the base. I ended up using a vanilla cake mix as I couldn’t find an organic yellow cake mix easily, but vanilla worked just as well. And if you’re looking to make gooey butter cake without a box cake mix, check out my friend Julie’s recipe here. I just love her photography style too. So pretty.

Press the base into a pan lined with parchment paper. I eventually abandoned my spoon and simply used my (clean) fingertips to press the dough in place. Then you top with the almost-cheesecake-like batter, pineapple, and cherries. Bake and allow to completely cool. That’s it! Super easy.

And maybe it’s just me but casseroles or sheet desserts, like this one, always remind me of church potluck dinners. I went to so many growing up and bringing a dish that travels well is a must. For that reason, I think this would be delicious to take to a backyard BBQ or other summer potluck you might be attending this season. And again, these may not be as pretty as this amazing sand art-inspired cake, but they are insanely delicious. I promise they will be a big hit. Enjoy! xo. Emma

4.67 from 6 votes

Pineapple Upside Down Gooey Butter Cake

Servings 12


  • 1 vanilla cake mix
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 2 eggs

Second layer:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 can pineapple slices drained
  • 8-12 maraschino cherries


  1. In a mixing bowl, stir together the cake mix, melted and cooled butter, and 2 eggs. Line a 9x12 baking dish with parchment paper and press the dough into the bottom in an even layer.

  2. In another mixing bowl, or stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and vanilla extract until creamy. Then add the eggs and powdered sugar in a couple batches, mixing in between until everything is well combined. Pour this mixture over the top of the dough. Top with pineapple slices and maraschino cherries.
  3. Bake at 350°F for 38-40 minutes. The cake will still jiggle in the center but the edges should be brown. Allow to completely cool before removing from the pan and slicing into bars.

Recipe Notes

This cake can be refrigerated overnight (or even another day or two) before slicing. You can also use a yellow cake mix instead of vanilla if you like.

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with the ACS for Desktop actions.
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