Super Moist Pineapple Cake

You are going to love this easy Pineapple Cake! One of my readers entered it in a baking contest, and it won second place. It needs no frosting, though it’s amazing with freshly whipped cream. It’s soft, moist, eggy and delicate. 

This Super Moist Pineapple Cake needs no frosting (though it's delicious with a dollop of fresh whipped cream). It's soft, eggy and delicate.

When I first began making layer cakes, I was a nervous wreck. They used to scare me to death because I was always worried about messing up. But overtime with patience and practice I grew more comfortable with the process.

Now, I actually love preparing layer cakes with buttercream (especially my chocolate espresso layer cake). However, layer cakes can take a long time to put together. Sometimes I just want some to eat some cake, you know?

A photo of pineapple cake cooling on a rack, fresh from the oven.

This pineapple cake recipe is fast, easy and wonderful. It’s eggy like a pound cake but with a softer texture similar to butter cake. I love it so much that it ultimately wound up in the dessert chapter of my cookbook, The Gourmet Kitchen.

Don’t let the cracks on top fool you; the cake is incredibly moist. It has an entire 20 ounce can of crushed pineapple mixed into the batter including the juice. And yes, I know that sounds like a lot. It is. But trust me, the cake holds together. You’re looking at it.

Recipe Notes

  • This cake will not work if you substitute fresh pineapple, because it will be missing the juice. A 20 ounce can does not equal 20 ounces of straight pureed/crushed pineapple. I have no doubt that there’s a way to recreate the canned contents using a specific ratio of crushed real pineapple to pineapple juice. However, even if you can track down a website claiming to offer the correct ratio, I can’t promise it will work here if I haven’t tested it. If anyone would like to figure it out, test the cake and report back, please do! I would love that.
  • I have made this cake many times, and there are two important things worth noting. Because this is a high ratio of eggs to butter/sugar, you want to add them very slowly. Let the eggs incorporate one at a time, scrape down the bowl periodically, and do not rush. Otherwise the batter is more likely to break. If it does start to break, don’t worry. The flour mixture will still bring things back together.
  • Because crushed pineapple is lumps mixed with juice, it will make the batter look broken when you mix it in. Add the flour mixture almost immediately after adding the pineapple.
  • I don’t think this cake needs any frosting but if you’d like to serve it with a condiment, I recommend some freshly whipped, barely sweetened whipped cream.

What are you waiting for? Make this.

A slice of crushed pineapple cake.

5 from 6 votes
Super Moist Pineapple Cake
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 10 mins

This Pineapple Cake needs no frosting (though it's wonderful served with some freshly whipped cream on the side). 

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 servings (approximately)
Calories: 270 kcal
Author: Jennifer Farley
  • 10 ounces all-purpose flour (approximately 2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 7 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple (do not drain - see notes)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • optional: fresh whipped cream for serving
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-inch or 9-inch round cake pan and line it with parchment paper (note: the 8-inch pan cuts it a bit close with the batter when the cake rises in the oven but won't spill over). Place the cake pan on a baking sheet.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, kosher salt and lemon zest (make sure the zest doesn't clump together). Set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together for several minutes until light and fluffy (first on low speed and then gradually increasing the speed to medium high). Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  4. Turn the mixer back on low speed and slowly add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after the second egg. Allow the eggs to incorporate completely and then scrape down the bowl again. (This is a lot of eggs so don't worry if the mixture starts to break. The flour mixture will bring it back together.)

  5. Add the crushed pineapple along with the vanilla and mix very briefly on medium low to combine. (The texture of the crushed pineapple and juice WILL make the batter look broken.) With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in 3 batches and mix until just combined. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the bowl with a spatula, giving the batter one final stir.

  6. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and use a spatula to level off the top.
  7. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before removing the cake from the pan. Serve plain or with freshly whipped cream.
Recipe Notes

You want pineapple canned in juice, not in syrup.

Don't drain the canned pineapple. You wan't all of the pineapple juice in the cake for both flavor and moisture! 

This cake will not work if you substitute fresh pineapple, because it will be missing the juice.

This Pineapple Cake Recipe needs no frosting (though it’s amazing with freshly whipped cream). It’s soft, eggy and delicate.

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  • Simply beautiful! I’m still a little bit terrified of layer cakes and tend to lean more towards cupcakes because they’re a little less daunting and quicker to make. But I want to push myself to give more layer cakes a go and I think I might start with this one!

  • I stink at making layer cakes. It’s why I stick with cupcakes. Much easier to decorate. This cake looks simple but absolutely gorgeous (and I’m sure it’s delicious!).

  • I love fruity desserts and pineapple is up there with my top favorites. This cake is lovely and looks so light. Perfection!

  • I am suddenly craving this cake. It looks so simple and delicious… but I have a pineapple intolerance (and I don’t think I could resist a second or third slice). I wonder if this would work with any other canned fruit…

  • one of my favorite desserts growing up was a pineapple cake my aunt made. It was not really a cake more like a pie that was cold but nontheless it was my favorite. Your pineapple cake brought back fun memories and I love how moist it looks. tangy sweet and moist are the perfect ingredients for an amazing cake:)

  • I love naked cakes like this! When cakes have a ton of frosting, you don’t get to appreciate the delicate taste and texture of the cake. The flavors in this sound simply amazing! Can’t wait to make this : )

  • Wow, this cake looks perfect! I love that it is like pound cake but with a softer texture. I’m pretty much addicted to pineapple so I know that I would love it!

  • You listed vanilla under the ingredients, but you left it out of the instructions. (Oops!) I realized it when I saw the vanilla sitting on my counter right after I put the cake in the oven, so I pulled it out–slopping some of the batter as I did so–and quickly stirred in the vanilla. I’m sure it will taste fine, but I was just wondering if you would come over and clean my oven for me since this is. All. Your. Fault. ;)

    • Sorry about that, editing it now. Next time don’t pull a cake out of the oven over a teaspoon of vanilla. Not worth the mess or the potential burns! Vanilla makes everything better but it’s also one of those ingredients that won’t make or break a recipe unless it’s the main flavor.

      • But I *so* love vanilla…and I know you’re on your way over here now with oven cleaner, so it’s all okay! Haven’t tasted the cake yet, but it looks lovely and will be tonight’s dessert. Thanks for the recipe!

  • I am about to make this cake for tomorrow’s dessert. What do you recommend for storing? Wrapped and on counter or refrigerated?

  • Ive nevet made a “layer” cake that I know of, but I just made this cake with the assistance of my 5 yr old son and it came out just fine. For those posting about the difficulty of layer cakes who haven’t yet tried this recipe, i say, ” if a 5 yr old can do it, have no fear. Yum!”

  • I made the Pineapple cake and it was easy and turn out great. I wanted a plain cake but still inviting looking so i dusted it with powdered sugar. Beautiful

  • Looks delicious! Planning to make it soon but curious about the amount of butter; 7 oz (14 tbsp) seems like a lot, is it 7 oz or 7 tbsp? Thanks for the recipe!

  • Can this be adapted for cupcakes? I’m hosting a baby shower in April and this looks perfect, but we were thinking cupcakes. Recomendations?

    • Hmmm… I’ve never tried it, but I think it sounds like a great idea. Since you have time, are you ok with experimenting? You would probably have enough batter for 12 cupcakes. They definitely wouldn’t take 60 minutes, so I’d start peeking through the oven window after around 25 minutes and then doing toothpick tests when they seem firm. They would be good with a coconut frosting. Maybe I’ll experiment sometime in the next few weeks if I have time. If I do, I will let you know what happens! But I’d be doing exactly what I just described above if you want to dive in.

    • Unfortunately, you can’t. The pineapple itself is part of the structure of the cake. The only thing I can think of is swapping out the pineapple for another canned textured fruit like grapefruit (something like peaches would be too soft). I know Del Monte and a few other brands sell canned grapefruit. I’m not sure how that will taste since grapefruit is slightly more bitter and less sweet, but it’s worth a try (I might try it for fun, actually). If you are set on pineapple cake made from only the juice, your best bet is to find a different recipe. I’m sure one exists out there. Sorry I can’t be more helpful!

  • All my boyfriend wanted for his birthday was a moist pineapple cake and I couldn’t find one anywhere and then I stumbled upon this one, thankfully. This cake came out so moist and delicious, in one night it was completely devoured. Thank you SO much for this recipe! It was delicious.

  • I had half a batch of coconut buttercream frosting left from some 4th of July cupcakes, so I started searching for a nice cake to go with it. Your pineapple cake was perfect. I had just enough frosting for a thin layer over the whole cake, so there was a little coconut sweetness with each bite without overwhelming cake. It was a big hit! Thank you for the clear directions and photos. I agree that a 9 inch pan is the way to go.

  • Wonderful recipe! Made this for my husband’s birthday, came in handy in a pinch since we lacked time and funds to order from a bakery, and he really wanted pineapple. Very filling, too, so we’ve got some for the next few days. Thanks for the great recipe!

  • I’m wanting to make a sculpted cake for mistext daughter’s pineapple themed birthday in a flew weeks. I’m planning on using your recipe because it looks amazing! Do you think it is sturdy enough to carve, provided I freeze it before carving? Thanks! I’ll report back.

    • Hi Anjea! I don’t think this one is sturdy enough to carve, unfortunately. I’m not kidding about the “super moist,” because it’s a very soft cake. While freezing might help, I’m concerned it will lose it’s shape once it thaws. My layer cake recipes are much sturdier, if you’re trying to go that route. Good luck!

    • I have not frozen it, but I can’t think of any reason that would be an issue. It’s a bit softer than my other cakes (hence the “super moist”), so I can see it potentially being a bit delicate when it thaws due to the condensation. I’d recommend thawing it in the refrigerator to minimize that.

      • Thank you Jennifer. Maybe I’ll just have to figure out my schedule to bake right before I need it. Made it today. Looking forward to a slice!

    • Hi Tiara,

      You sure can! Someone recently shared a photo with me of a triple layer version they prepared with coconut buttercream. I need to try that one!

  • Thanks for the recipie Rachel. I tried this for my hubby’s birthday. The taste was some superb. But the texture of my cake was too dense and kind of pudding like.
    Can you suggest what might have possibly gone wrong.
    Thanks again for the recipie

        • Ok, just wanted to make sure since that’s often the culprit. It’s hard for me to know without being able to see the cake, but offhand I’m thinking maybe it needed more time in the oven, or your baking powder has possibly expired?

          • I baked for 50 mins. After 50 mins when I checked it was done. May be my baking powder is the issue, it’s old abt to expire. I ll try with a new baking pwd and update thanks for ur suggestion.

  • I just made this pineapple cake to take to a friend tonight. It turned out perfect and It looks
    Exactly like the picture. Took all the stress out of my life as to what to bake as I am not a
    Baker. Oh by the way I had a piece……delicious!!!!

  • Didnt turn out….the batter was too liquid….didnt cone out cake-lije, more like mashed pineapple….had to throw out.

    • Hi Julie, I’m sorry to hear you had trouble with the cake! That’s always such a frustrating experience. I’d be happy to help you troubleshoot if you’d like. Did you by any chance make any substitutions to the original recipe?

      • I used fresh pineapple chunks, crushed it and weighted to 20 oz incl liquid. Maybe the canned 20 oz pineapple is different? (Different ratio of pineapple and liquid).?? I will have to try it next time using tbe canned pineapple. Also, the recipe says to grease the pan and line with parchment paper. I normally dont grease the pan when lining it.

        • Yes, unfortunately you substituted the main ingredient in the cake, and the ratio of pureed fresh pineapple with natural juice is not going to be the same as the ratio that comes in a can. If you follow the recipe as it’s written, I’m guessing you might have better luck! If you try it again, let me know how it goes :)

  • I was wondering if I could replace the batter in a pineapple upside down cake with the batter from this recipie.
    So would the texture and taste come out the same if I make it in a bundt pan lined with pineapple slices and the brown sugar/buter mixture? Or would the shape of the pan mess it up?

  • Just made your recipe this afternoon. I had opened a can of crushed pineapple thinking it was diced pineapple, so I needed to use the open can. :) This was perfect! Such a pleasant cake. Thank you for sharing!