Pineapple-Coconut Cake ~ a Southern Cake for a California Bride

Pineapple Coconut CakeThis bride-inspired Pineapple-Coconut Cake is from Nancie McDermott’s dreamy Southern Cakes – Sweet and Irresistible Recipes for Everyday Celebrations (will post the groom’s little cake, behind, soon). My sister remarried on 9-10-11-12. September 10, 2011 at noon. No, no, this isn’t the “wedding cake.” Janie and Mike tied the knot at the house (Mike’s). But the evening before, our families crowded the condo (Jane’s) for meet, greet, pasta, CAKE. I made two Friday cakes.

The official wedding cake was a clever combo of a tiny, pretty thing to slice, plus a collection of cupcakes. I pulled this display together per the bride’s request, hacked orange tree branches, borrowed a bedroom lamp (blank white wall wasn’t working for camera-eye me). And after we all left, Mike would discover half his pots and pans were what made the levels under there.

Janie’s second marriage — things were more casual. As in, rubber ducky cake toppers on the Friday cakes… who could resist? I’ll tell you who COULDN’T… the duckies were stolen out of the pool by a guest Labrador retriever.

Cake-making tips: give yourself the better part of day. Each step needs to cool to room temperature, so bake the cake layers and go do your thing. Make the pineapple filling, and go do your thing. When you make the frosting, the other parts will be ready.

We are five sisters:  From left, Patti (I’m second oldest), Bride Jane (#4), Jackie (#5), Gretchen (mid kid) and Sue (first born, and didn’t get to enjoy it very long).

Pineapple-Coconut Cake from Southern Cakes

Yellow Cake

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pineapple Filling

  • One 20-ounce can crushed pineapple (do not drain)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Generous pinch of salt

Fluffy Pineapple Frosting

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

TO MAKE THE CAKE:  heat the oven to 325 degrees F and grease and flour two 9-inch or three 8-inch round cake pans (mine is two layers). Combine the butter and milk in a small saucepan, and cook over low heat until the butter melts. Stir well and set aside to cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt with a fork, and set aside.  In a large bowl combine the eggs and sugar, and beat well at high speed, scraping down the bowl often, until the mixture is pale yellow, smooth and thick.

Stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture, using a large spoon or spatula to mix only until the flour disappears.  Add the cooled milk and the vanilla, stir until smooth, and divide the batter between the prepared cake pans.

Bake at 325 degrees F. for 25 to 30 minutes, until the cakes are golden, spring back when touched lightly at the center, and begin to pull away front the sides of the pans. Cool in the pans on wire racks or folded kitchen towels for 10 minutes. Then turn out the cakes onto wire racks or plates to cool completely, top side up.

TO MAKE THE FILLING: in a medium saucepan, combine the pineapple, sugar, butter, flour and salt and bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until the butter melts and everything comes together into a chunky sauce. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature.

TO MAKE THE FROSTING: bring about 3 inches of water to an active simmer in the bottom of a double boiler or a medium saucepan. In the top of the double boiler, or in a heat-proof bowl that will sit snugly over the saucepan, combine the egg whites, sugar, pineapple juice and corn syrup. Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed for 1 minute, until the mixture is pale yellow and very foamy. Place the double boiler top or the bowl over the simmering water, increase the speed to medium-high, and beat for 7 minutes or more, until the icing becomes white, thick, and shiny, and triples in volume. Continue beating until the frosting forms soft peaks. (This process could take as long as 15 minutes.) Remove the frosting from the heat and beat for 2 minutes more. Frost the cakes as soon as possible.

TO COMPLETE THE CAKE: place one cake layer, top side down, on a cake stand or serving plate, and cover it with about half of the Pineapple Filling. Spread the filling almost to the edge of the cake. Place the other layer, top side up, on the filling and spread it with the remaining filling. Cover the sides and then the top of the cake generously with the frosting. Place the cake on a cookie sheet or tray to catch any coconut that doesn’t stick to the cake. Sprinkle the shredded coconut generously all over the top and sides of the cake, and then carefully pat coconut on any bare spots.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ghart January 2, 2016 at 2:53 pm

@Patti Mauldin Do you mean you will douse each baked layer cake before spreading with the pineapple filling? I want to make this for my neighbor, who is 70 yo and has spent practically her life time tasting many versions of this cake. I want to do her proud! Any additional experiential info appreciated!

2 Patti Mauldin May 14, 2015 at 8:57 am

I made this cake and it needs moisture. If I make it again I will add a cup of pineapple juice to be halved and poured through the layers before I put the thickened pineapple on the cake.

3 designer cakes manchester February 19, 2014 at 2:14 am

Thats a simply looking and Sounding! delicious cake! I may have to give that one a go myself this weekend! ha

4 leslie April 21, 2013 at 6:20 pm


5 Karla L January 17, 2012 at 8:46 pm

There is no way this is not a phenomenal cake. Thanks.

6 Worth The Whisk September 14, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Thanks, Dad, I remember your asking if these would be on the blog. Thanks for the support.

7 Ray Mathys (father of the bride) September 14, 2011 at 4:53 pm

The cake(s) were delicious. It was my suggestion that they be put on
“Worth The Whisk .com.” in order that others could enjoy them as much as we did.

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