Pineapple Upside Down Layer Cake with Coconut Milk Buttercream

Although the end of summer is near, it is the beginning of oh so many wonderful things! Not only is the crisp, cozy season known as fall upon us, but my fiancé and I are 1. moving into a new apartment, 2. approaching the year mark until our wedding, and 3. slowly making this website even more fabulous and friendly!

So, as we are packing up our first little apartment and moving to the next (about 5 miles away), my exhaustion has hit an all time high. Packing in the morning, working during the day, packing and planning a wedding at night—that has been and will be my life for the majority of this lovely September. I barely even have time for baking!

WHAT?! No baking?! Yes. Who knew the fun of adulthood was actually just being tired all of the time…

And that’s when I thought, it’s time to take a break from it all, soak in the last summer of the rays, and bake a totally tropical, very vacation-worthy cake. So here you have it: a fresh sweet pineapple upside down cake, with toasted coconut buttercream, all on a moist vanilla cake. What is even better is that making it in a tiny 6” cake pan makes it basically like a personal sized cake—perfect to finish off this bikini season!


vanilla cake ingredients

2-6” cakes


Sugar—16 oz, or 2 C

Flour—13 oz, or 2 2/3 C

Baking Powder—0.4 oz, or 3 tsp

Salt—0.2 oz, or 1 tsp

Butter (softened)—8 oz, or 1 C


Milk—12 oz, or 1 ½ C



Preheat your oven to 350˚ F.

Sift together the sugar, flour, baking powder and salt into your mixing bowl; attach the paddle.

Cut your softened butter into chunks and add to your mixer on low. Mix until combined.

Add your 2 eggs—1 at a time.

Slowly stream in your milk.

Mix just until the batter comes together.

Prepare your 6” cake pan by spraying with nonstick spray, putting a 6” parchment round in the bottom of the pan, spraying again with spray, and then rubbing flour on the sides of the pan. This will ensure that your cake will come out clean once it is baked.

Pour the cake batter halfway up the pan.

Bake in the middle rack for 45-48 minutes, or until the cake springs back when touched.

Place on a cooling rack.


pineapple topping ingredients

Butter (melted)—1 oz, or 2 TBL

Brown Sugar—3 oz, or 1/3 C

Pineapple—2-3 slices



Put the melted butter in the bottom of your 6” cake pan.

Sprinkle the brown sugar over the melted butter, making sure that it is evenly distributed.

Arrange your pineapple on top of the brown sugar.

*Note: you may either purchase pineapple precut and/or in cans, but I like to use fresh! I just cut the outside off of the fruit, cut thin slices, and then cut out the hard core with a small round cutter!

Pour the cake batter on top so that it is filled roughly half way up the pan.

Bake for 45-48 minutes, or until the cake springs back when touched.

*Note: this step is only for one layer of your cake! You do not need to do the pineapple part for both, follow the vanilla cake process instead!*


toasted coconut buttercream ingredients

Butter (room temperature)—8 oz, or 2 sticks/1 C

Confectioner’s Sugar (sifted)—18 oz, or 3 ½ C

Coconut Milk—1.5 oz, or 3 TBL

Toasted Coconut Flakes—1.25 oz, or ½ C



Cream the butter in the bowl of your mixer using the paddle attachment until smooth.

Slowly add the sifted confectioner’s sugar.

Once all of the sugar has been added and incorporated, slowly stream in the coconut milk.

Add in the toasted coconut.

To toast the coconut—spread unsweetened flakes on a sheet pan. Place in the oven, which can be anywhere from 325˚F – 350˚ F for 5-7 minutes. Take out of the oven and toss the flakes around so that any which have not been toasted will become toasted, and vice versa. Toast for another 5-7 minutes. Take out of the oven and allow to cool before using. You may do this a day ahead of time!



Start with your vanilla cake and trim the top off of it so that it is flat.

Put this cake on either a plate or cake board to begin assembling.

Place a medium-sized piping tip in your piping bag (even a large ziplock will work!) and fill with your buttercream.

Make a “moat” around the edge of the cake with the buttercream—this will make it easier to fill in the next step!

Now place a generous dollop of the coconut milk buttercream in the center, and, using an offset spatula, spread around so that it is even with the moat you just made.

Next, place the second layer of cake on top of the buttercream—this will be your pineapple upside down layer.

For some more flavor, sprinkle some of the extra toasted coconut on the top as a garnish.

Cut and serve!


Bon Appétit!