Serves: 8Total time: 15 minutes prep / 30 - 45 minutes cook[ratings]

Dirty Gourmet is three women—Aimee Trudeau, Emily Nielson, and Mai-Yan Kwan—who came together after a bike tour across Canada. They put together a big variety of camp meals, many of which can be found in their cookbook of the same name, with lots of different cultural and taste influences. This recipe, from Aimee, for a pineapple coconut upside down cake is vegan, and a nice call for a fall dessert.

This recipe is a twist on a classic (one of our favorite things to do). Our Pineapple Coconut Upside Down Cake is conveniently vegan, making it a bit healthier and easier to execute at your next winter campfire.

This one can be made in a dutch oven with access to a campfire. A grate over the campfire would help, to begin by melting coconut oil in the oven, then you’ll slide the dutch oven next to the fire, on top of some hot coals, with a few more on the lid.

In the meantime, while you’re waiting for the cake to set up and cook, drape blankets across all your camp chairs and grab a Vanilla Cider Cocktail to accompany some good stargazing at the Pleides and Orion.


  • 1/3 medium pineapple
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, divided
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk (1 13.5 ounce can)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


For the topping:

  1. Peel and core the pineapple. Cut pineapple crosswise into 1/4 inch pieces or rounds.
  2. If desired, line the dutch oven with a dutch oven liner or parchment paper. Alternatively, you can grease the dutch oven with a little of the coconut oil.
  3. Place the dutch oven on a grate set over a campfire. Melt 1/4 cup of the coconut oil in the bottom of the dutch oven. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the coconut oil and arrange the pineapple slices over the brown sugar. Remove the dutch oven from the heat and set aside while you make the cake batter.

For the cake:

  1. Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the coconut milk, lemon juice, coconut oil, and vanilla. If your coconut oil is solid, melt it before mixing it into the coconut oil.
  3. Add the coconut milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir to combine. Don’t overmix, just make sure everything’s incorporated.
  4. Scrape the batter into the dutch oven, on top of the pineapple topping. Cover the dutch oven with its lid.
  5. Adjust your fire so that you have room to place the entire dutch oven next to the fire on a level surface.
  6. Place dutch oven on top of about 7 coals and arrange 14 coals on the lid.
  7. Bake for about 15 minutes, and then peek to make sure nothing is burning. Adjust the fire and coals as needed to ensure nothing burns.
  8. After about 15 minutes, rotate dutch oven 180˚. Also rotate the lid  ¼ turn independently of the dutch oven body to redistribute heat from the lid. If your fire is getting too hot, move the dutch oven further away from the flame to avoid burning the sides of the cake.
  9. Bake for about 15 minutes more, or until a toothpick or knife inserted into the cake comes out clean. This may take more or less time depending on the heat of your fire.
  10. When the cake is cooked through, remove it from the fire and allow it to cool slightly. If desired, carefully invert it onto a large plate or cutting board. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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