Old Fashioned Pineapple Cake Recipe

| November 12, 2017 | 17 Comments

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.


Pineapple Cake, slider.
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, ingredients for the layers.
Pineapple Cake Layers, you’ll need these ingredients.


Pineapple Cake, frosting ingredients.
Pineapple Cake Frosting, you’ll need these ingredients.


Pineapple Cake, basic cake layers.
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.


Pineapple Cake, separate the eggs.
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.


Pineapple Cake, add the milk.
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.


Pineapple Cake, add the sugar.
Add the sugar.


Pineapple Cake, add the egg yolks.
Add the egg yolks.


Pineapple Cake, add the butter.
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.


Pineapple Cake, add the vanilla extract.
Add the vanilla extract.


Pineapple Cake, cook until thick.
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.


Pineapple Cake, add the drained pineapple.
Add the drained pineapple.


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


Pineapple Cake, measure the juice.
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.


Pineapple Cake, measure out an equal amount of sugar.
Measure out an equal amount of sugar.


Pineapple Cake, add the juice to the sugar.
Add the pineapple juice to the sugar in a small sauce pot.


Pineapple Cake, heat until the sugar dissolves.
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.


Pineapple Cake, assemble the cake.
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.


Pineapple Cake, add the waxed paper.
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.


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


Pineapple Cake, add some simple syrup.
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.


Pineapple Cake, frost the first layer.
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.


Pineapple Cake, add the second 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.


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


Pineapple Cake, frost the sides.
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.


Pineapple Cake, carefully remove the waxed paper.
Carefully remove the waxed paper.


Pineapple Cake, enjoy.

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

Old Fashioned Pineapple Cake Recipe

  • Author: Steve Gordon
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 slices 1x
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American


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.



  • 24 Yellow Cake Layers

For the Frosting

  • 1 can Evaporated Milk (large)
  • 1 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 3 Egg Yolks
  • ½ cup Butter
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 can Crushed Pineapple, (20oz) drained


Prepare the Frosting

  1. In a medium sauce pot, add the following ingredients.
  2. Add milk.
  3. Add sugar.
  4. Add egg yolks.
  5. Add butter.
  6. Add vanilla.
  7. Place sauce pot on a COLD burner, then turn heat on to medium.
  8. Cook, stirring constantly to avoid making scrambled eggs, until thick, about 12 minutes.
  9. Add the drained crushed pineapple, stir together.
  10. Spread frosting between layers, on top, and sides.
  11. Enjoy


You could use a boxed cake mix for the layers if you like. I’ve got a complete step-by-step, photo illustrated recipe for making Basic Cake Layers on Taste of Southern that will make this cake truly homemade from scratch.

Keywords: Pineapple Cake Recipe, old fashioned pineapple cake, made from scratch, southern recipes. southern cakes


Your Comments:  Have you ever made a Pineapple Cake from scratch? What type of frosting did you use or do you prefer? Ever tried an old fashioned frosting like this one?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on our recipe. It will only take a minute or two for you to leave your comments in the section below.

Just remember, all comments are moderated.  That just means that I personally read each and everyone before they are approved for viewing on our family friendly website. Thank you in advance for sharing.

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Be Blessed!!!


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Category: Desserts

About the Author ()

Award Winning Food Preservationist, Fisherman, Author of three cookbooks. "From Mama's Big Oval Table, From Mama's Big Oval Table - BOOK TWO and Carolina Christmas Sweets and Appetizers." Online Contributor to Our State Magazine Newsletter.

Comments (17)

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  1. Jo says:

    Looks delicious and I plan to make one soon. Thank you for the recipe.

  2. Lorelle Barwick says:

    The egg separator is from Tupperware. I was a Tupperware representative at one point and these were given away as favors. It’s made to sit perfectly on the side of a Tupperware bowl. Don’t you just love it?

  3. Michelle says:

    Good MOrning Steve..I had to tell you my story about your cake recipe…I am a volunteer fire fighter that is a member of a local catholic church. Every year the community ladies and gents get together and make cakes for our church fair. Everyone makes their “special” cakes and treats. Since you posted this cake ..this is my special cake asked for each year. People go early to the fair to bid on and buy cakes. My cake last year using your recipe sold for $30. I make it from scratch using your exact recipe. Thanks so much for this recipe and the memories year to year at the fair and for my 75 year old father’s birthday this cake brings everytime i make it.

  4. Brenda says:

    Absolutely delicious! I’ve been trying to find a homemade pineapple cake similar to what my grandma used to make. Unfortunately, she passed away before I could get her recipe. I think I may have found a close contender! Thank you!

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Brenda, Thank you for sharing your comments. I’m glad you enjoyed the Pineapple Cake. I’m sure it’s not as good as what your Grandmother made, but glad it could bring back some good memories for you. Thank you for giving it a try. I’m thankful you found us and I appreciate your visits. Be sure to stop by again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  5. Lynette Bunn says:

    Steve, I’ve been looking for this recipe for pineapple cake like Aleane used to make. And behold the internet took me to taste of southern..thanks so much for preserving it and many more old family recipes. Hope to see you soon..God Bless

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Cuz, I don’t know if this is as good as Cousin Aleane made, but hope you enjoy it. Please share your results if you get the chance to try it. I hope to see you soon as well. I do appreciate the visit and hope you’ll stop by again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  6. Ramona Lord says:

    Steve, I am looking for a pineapple frosting that does not have evaporated milk or eggs In it. II remember that my mother made it in Georgia when I was a child. I think it may have been made with a simple syrup . If I made your simple syrup recipe, and added the drained pineapple, would that work? She only iced the tops of the layers and not the sides. I’m not sure the frosting would even stay on the sides! Please advise.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Ramona, You’ll find numerous recipes on the Internet for making frosting without milk and eggs. Just run a search for such and hopefully you’ll find one that you like or sounds close to what you remember. As for the simple syrup you mention. I would drain the juice from the pineapple and place it in a measuring cup. Then add enough water to fill the cup to whatever amount of simple syrup you want to make. Since simple syrup is half water and half sugar, you’ll get the benefit of more pineapple flavor by using the juice as part of the amount of water you need. Make sense? Please let me know what you find and how it turns out for you. Maybe one of our readers can suggest some options as well. I appreciate the question and do hope you’ll visit with us again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  7. Andrea Schmidt says:

    I am making this cake for the second time for my mom’s birthday. I added coconut to the pineapple frosting along with chopped walnuts. We absolutely loved it! A friend of mine, who cannot eat chocolate, birthday is coming up as well and this is the perfect gift. For her, I will make the original cake. I think next time I will skip the walnuts and put maraschino cherries around the edges. Thank you Steve for the great recipe!!

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Andrea, Hopefully your comments will help someone else decide to try the recipe. I’m glad you’ve been enjoying it and happy to hear you’ve made it your own with some additions and changes. I’ve considered doing a Pineapple-Coconut recipe for Taste of Southern myself. I appreciate your visit today and I do hope you’ll stop by again… real soon. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  8. Rodney says:

    Made this cake today for the first time. We had small groups at church tonight. People brought other food l had to make dessert they loved it they they ate it all thanks for sharing your recipe God Bless Rodney.

    • Steve Gordon says:

      Hi Rodney, I’m really happy to hear that everyone enjoyed the Pineapple Cake. Thank you for trying the recipe and for sharing it with your friends at church. I really appreciate your visits and hope you’ll visit with us often. Be Blessed!!! -Steve

  9. Steve,Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I’m always looking for the next best homemade layer or icing. When I See recipes like this one I start singing the Hallelujah chorus: My family appreciates home cooking and I Love baking for them. I Have several of my best cakes I’ll Be taking to church and in-laws and of Course Mom’s for Christmas. This Is Sure to Be A Hit..Again thank you so much. Merry Christmas~Smile

  10. Kathleen says:

    Thanks so much for this recipe! It does look like some of the old timey cakes I remember.
    I think most modern icings are way too sweet, too.

  11. Marilyn says:

    I love the pineapple cake, it looks delicious, and I will make a cake from your recipe from scratch. Boxed mixes put things in it to thicken it up (gums) and my husband is allergic to the “natural Flavors” that manufacturers put in virtually everything now. So I have to make salad dressings, cakes, cookies, etc. from scratch all the time, even pickles. Thank you for all the hard work to put together so many nice dishes and posting them for all to take advantage of. And I love your newsletters, look forward to seeing them every week.

  12. Sherry Urena says:

    Can’t wait to make this cake! I remember my aunt making something similiar when I was young. Your step by step instructions are great. 🙂 Do you have a receipe for what I guess would be corn pudding? We had a corn side dish on a trip recently. It wasn’t sweet, so I hesitate to call it a pudding. But it was a somewhat custard consistency. It was delicious. I would like to try it for Thanksgiving.

    Thank you.

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