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Old Fashioned Pineapple Cake Recipe

Pineapple Cake, made from scratch, as seen on Taste of Southern,

Follow our complete, step-by-step, photo illustrated instructions to make this homemade, Old Fashioned Pineapple Cake Recipe. We make the layers from scratch, and the frosting from scratch. I think you’ll love the old fashioned frosting on this one. Printable Recipe Included.

Old Fashioned Pineapple Cake Recipe

This recipe is more about the old fashioned, homemade, made from scratch “frosting” than anything else. Yes, we make our cake layers from scratch too, but they are just basic yellow cake layers.

I didn’t even go through all the steps of baking the layers in this post because I have a full step-by-step, photo illustrated recipe for how to make those elsewhere here on Taste of Southern. The link to make the layers is just below. I wanted to concentrate just on making the frosting and assembling the cake here.

As you can probably tell by the photo above, this is not one of those overly sweet buttercream or cream cheese type of frosting’s you might typically find on a Pineapple Cake. It’s not a Seven Minute Frosting either, which is more like what Mama would have used when she made her’s.

My cousin Aleane submitted this recipe for Pineapple Cake Frosting as one of her favorite recipes when our yearly family reunion published a small cookbook of family favorite recipes some years back.

You do cook this frosting, and you will need to give it a good full 12 minutes of your undivided attention to make it work. I’ve outlined all of that for you in the steps below.

Seriously, there is nothing difficult about making this frosting, or the cake layers. I made the cake layers one day, then made the frosting the next day and assembled the cake.

I was concerned that it might be a bit “runny” based on the ingredients, but it all worked out fine. If you just follow the steps for stirring the frosting while it’s cooking, you should be okay. You might have to work with it a bit to get it on the sides, but it does firm up some more once it’s all frosted.

While I love both buttercream and cream cheese type frosting, it’s always good to try something that’s a little different. I think you’ll be well pleased with this one. It’s not as sweet as some other frosting, but just a bite brings back memories of “old times”. I think it has to do with the evaporated milk. Tell me what you think after you try it.

Ready to give it a try? Don’t be afraid, the results will be worth the little extra time and love you place in it. And, you’ll get to brag a bit when you say, “I made it myself – from scratch.” Let your friends and family top that.

Let’s get in the kitchen then, and… Let’s Get Cooking!

Pineapple Cake Layers, you’ll need these ingredients.

Pineapple Cake Frosting, you’ll need these ingredients.

You’ll need our Basic Cake Layers for this cake.

I didn’t really think it was necessary to repeat the steps to make our cake layers, so I’ll just direct you to that recipe here on Taste of Southern.

We’ll show you step-by-step how to make the layers, then you can make the frosting below and assemble your Pineapple Cake.

Yes, you could just use a box mix if you really need too, but I hope you’ll make your layers from scratch if at all possible. These are basic yellow cake layers, and our recipe will make 2 of the 9 inch layers.

Click the link here to take a look:  Basic Cake Layers

I made the layers one day, then made the frosting and assembled the cake the next day.

Prepare the Pineapple Cake Frosting:

To begin the frosting, we start by separating the egg yolks from three eggs.

I don’t really know where this little gadget came from, but I’ve had it for years. It’s a very easy way to separate the yolks from the whites when I need to.

And of course, I always suggest you crack the eggs into a small bowl so if any shell falls in you can easily see and remove it..

Drain the juice from the Crushed Pineapple. Save the juice for later.

In a medium sized sauce pot, add the canned milk.

Please note that I’m doing this in my sink as opposed to on the stove. I just wanted to emphasize that we’re not starting this over heat. I’ll get to that part a little further down.

Don’t start heating this up just yet.

Add the sugar.

Add the egg yolks.

Add the butter.

I just pulled this from the refrigerator and placed it in the pot. It doesn’t have to be at room temperature for this particular frosting like most others might call for.

Add the vanilla extract.

Please follow these steps carefully. It’s not difficult, it just needs your undivided attention for a few minutes.

  1. Start out with a COLD burner.
  2. Place the pot of ingredients on the stove top, turn the heat on to MEDIUM.
  3. Start stirring immediately, and continue to stir vigorously as the mixture heats up.
  4. You don’t want to end up with scrambled eggs, so you have to stir this constantly.
  5.  I started a timer, set for 12 minutes just before I turned the heat on.
  6.  Stir fairly vigorously until the butter fully melts.
  7. Once the butter melts, you should be safe with the eggs not scrambling. Slow down the stirring.
  8. Continue to stir slowly until the mixture begins to bubble slightly and thickens.
  9. Remove from heat when the mixture has thickened.

It took me the full 12 minutes to complete this step. Yours may vary a little, but you do want the frosting to thicken a bit. It will thicken more as it cools, but you have to cook it for at least 12 minutes… maybe a few minutes more.

Remove it from heat when it thickens.

Add the drained pineapple.

Stir the pineapple into the frosting until it’s well combined. Set aside to cool.

Simple Syrup is OPTIONAL.

I decided to use the leftover pineapple juice to make a simple syrup for the layers. You can skip this part if you like, entirely up to you.

Simple Syrup is typically made with one cup water and one cup sugar that is heated until the sugar dissolves. It’s then spread over cake layers to add moisture and more flavor. I made this one using the leftover pineapple juice instead of water. Again, it’s optional. Use it if you wish. Smile

I measured the pineapple juice and had exactly one cup. I know I’m not going to need this much with just two layers, but if you split your layers to make four, you might need more simple syrup. Half of this was sufficient for my two thicker layers.

Measure out an equal amount of sugar.

Add the pineapple juice to the sugar in a small sauce pot.

Heat this mixture of juice and sugar over Medium heat to let the sugar dissolve. Let it boil for a minute or two then remove from heat. The syrup needs to cool completely before you add it to the layers.

Again, the simple syrup is totally optional. I just wanted to use the leftover pineapple juice since it has so much flavor. Couldn’t just let it go to waste you know. Smile.

When it cools, place it in a small squeeze bottle if you have one. If not, just spoon it onto the layers.

Assemble the cake:

I’m going to assemble this on a cake board. I’ve placed the board on a turntable to help with frosting the cake. Then, I placed a small dab of the frosting on the center of the cake board. This will help hold the layer in place and keep it from sliding around while adding the frosting.

I also tore four small strips of waxed paper to place over the edges of the board. Parchment paper, aluminum foil, even copy paper would work. This will keep the edges of your plate clean as you frost the layers.

Place the first layer on the cake board. I turned this layer upside down so the flat bottom would be UP.

I then added some of the simple syrup to the layer. Don’t get carried away with this. You don’t want your layers to end up all soggy. Just spread some of the simple syrup over the entire top of the layer. It should soak right in.

Frost the top of the layer.

I used a little less than one third of the frosting for this part. You’d like to have a good layer of frosting in the middle of the cake, but take it easy so you have enough left to do the top and the sides.

Just spread the frosting over the top, all the way to the outside edge of the layer.

Add the second layer.

Typically, I would have turned this one bottom up also, but it didn’t have a big dome from baking that I needed to remove, so I just put it topside up.

Add enough frosting to cover the top of the cake, spreading it to the outside edge.

An offset spatula comes in real handy when trying to frost the sides of the cake.

You’ll just need to show some patience and take your time with this part. The frosting is sort of thin and runs a bit, but if you work with it, it will adhere to the sides and cover them fairly well.

It’s the imperfections that prove this cake is truly homemade. You will probably do a much better job at frosting yours than I’ve done with mine, so go for it.

Just remember it’s not one of those professionally baked cakes, covered with frosting and fondant. It’s homemade… from scratch, and YOU did it.

Carefully remove the waxed paper.


Now, stand back and admire your handiwork. Mama never made the best “looking” cakes, but they sure tasted great. If you take this cake to a church homecoming or family reunion, everyone will go for it when they see it sitting on the table. They will instantly know it’s homemade… and they’ll thank you for taking the time and effort to put it all together. Smile

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