We Made the Iconic Duncan Hines Double-Layer Pineapple Upside-Down Cake and It’s a Tropical Delight

The classic pineapple upside-down cake has been a go-to dessert for decades. But the Duncan Hines double-layer pineapple upside down-cake takes this tropical treat to the next level!

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Does it get more retro than a pineapple upside-down cake? This beauty immediately conjures up visions of ’50s and ’60s kitsch, but the recipe has been around for close to 100 years now.

Though usually a one-layer cake, this Duncan Hines double-layer pineapple upside-down cake is twice as nice! The same delectable flavors that made this a favorite for so long have been transformed into a darling layer cake with a creamy frosting center and cherries on top.

How could I resist? I decided it was time to make this pineapple confection!

Duncan Hines Double-Layer Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Duncan Hines Pineapple Cake IngredientsNancy Mock for Taste of Home


Nancy’s Tip: The coconut rum liquor is optional, and the cake will still be delicious if you decide to omit it.

Get the Mix


Nancy’s Tip: If you don’t have 8-inch round cake pans, larger round pans can be used. Just keep in mind your cake layers will be thinner and need slightly less baking time.


Step 1: Line the pans

Upside-down cakes are notoriously sticky (that’s what makes them so good!). To keep the cake from sticking to the pan, line the cake pans with parchment paper and spritz with cooking spray.

Step 2: Add the sugar and pineapple

Duncan Hines Pineapple Cake Getting StartedNancy Mock for Taste of Home

Then, pour in the melted butter followed by a generous layer of brown sugar. This will form the caramel we all love.

Next, place four pineapple rings in the bottom of each pan. Fill the center of each ring with a maraschino cherry. You could also nestle a few extra cherries (or nuts!) into the gaps around the pineapple.

Step 3: Stir up the cake mix

Now it’s time to grab your box of Duncan Hines cake mix. Duncan Hines also makes some of the Taste of Home Test Kitchen’s favorite brownie mixes and white cake mixes—not to mention some exceptionally tasty treats in partnership with Dolly Parton.

Blend the upside-down cake mix with water, eggs and oil to make a smooth batter. Divide the batter between the two cake pans. Be careful as you pour so you don’t disturb your pineapple-cherry design.

Step 4: Bake

Place the pans on the center rack of the oven. Bake at 350ºF for 25 to 28 minutes (or as instructed on the box for the pan you choose). It doesn’t take long before a sweet pineapple scent fills the kitchen!

Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes then flip them out of the pan. Let them cool completely before filling and stacking.

Step 5: Make the filling

Duncan Hines Pineapple Cake FrostingNancy Mock for Taste of Home

For this cake, you don’t want to cover up the top; you’ll be hiding the pretty pineapple upside-down finish. Instead, this cake just needs an easy filling.

The package recommends using some Duncan Hines frosting, but I suggest taking things to the next level with homemade whipped cream or homemade vanilla buttercream. You can add a little extra flavor by splashing in a bit of pineapple juice from the can or a bit of coconut rum.

Step 6: Assemble the cake

Duncan Hines Pineapple Cake AssemblyNancy Mock for Taste of Home

Finally, it’s time to assemble. But before you stack, I suggest you add a little twist to make this cake mix taste homemade. Brush each layer of cake with a little bit of rum (my favorite is Malibu). This step is optional, but my family enjoys it.

Next, place your first layer of cake onto a plate with the pineapple side up, of course! Spread about tw0-thirds of the whipped cream over the cake. Then top with the second layer.

For a finishing touch, top the cake with dollops of whipped cream and a few maraschino cherries. What a lovely and cheery cake!

How Does Duncan Hines Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Taste?

Slice Of Duncan Hines Pineapple CakeNancy Mock for Taste of Home

My family and I couldn’t wait to dig into thick slices of this dessert—it was our first time trying a pineapple upside-down cake of any kind!

The first thing that struck us was how moist the cake is, and each bite was full of lovely pineapple flavor. The top of each cake layer has a sinfully delicious layer of caramelized brown sugar that surrounds the tender rings of pineapple. The fruit and cake get a light flavor from that coconut rum, too.

And that whipped cream frosting is a nice balance with the sweetness of the cake and fruit. I could see how a sweeter, more traditional frosting would make the whole cake feel heavy and overly sugary. The whipped cream-style filling is suited to this pineapple cake.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was that we found this cake to be even more delicious when seerved cold. Cake slices eaten straight from the fridge are very moist and the flavors seem more concentrated, more intense!

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I began making this cake, if it would be a one-time adventure or live up to the hype and become a new favorite. Given how quickly this whole cake disappeared, I can safely say that pineapple upside-down cake will be back again soon, and definitely with that light frosting and splash of coconut rum.

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Nancy Mock
Discovering restaurants, tasting bakery treats, finding inspiration in new flavors and regional specialties—no wonder Nancy loves being a Taste of Home Community Cook and a food and travel writer. She and her family live in Vermont and enjoy all things food, as well as the beautiful outdoors, game nights, Avengers movies and plenty of maple syrup. Find Nancy’s writing and recipes at her website: Hungry Enough To Eat Six.