This delightful Pineapple Sunshine Cake combines a simple crushed pineapple cake with the dreamiest whipped pudding topping.
One of the underrated benefits of marriage is inheriting another family’s best recipes. When Will and I got married, his mom gave us a big gray binder packed with all their family favorites. It was a treasure trove of goodness, one I’m still exploring almost ten years later.
This last time we visited our family in Dallas, my mother-in-law whipped out a new recipe for a crushed pineapple cake. It was a yellow cake topped with the dreamiest whipped pineapple cream cheese frosting. It was so light and refreshing, the perfect cake for a hot summer day.
Needless to say, I knew this one was a keeper, and I knew I had to request the recipe to add to the family binder. I think you all will love this pineapple sheet cake as much as we do.
How to Make Pineapple Sunshine Cake
My mother-in-law’s cake was titled “Pineapple Pudding Cake,” and it started with a boxed yellow cake mix. I loved it as-is, but I really wanted to amp up the pineapple flavor, so I decided to make my pineapple cake from scratch.
This moist pineapple cake recipe calls for only 6 ingredients and doesn’t use any butter or oil, making it almost as quick as a box mix! That said, you can absolutely use a yellow cake mix for the bottom layer if you prefer.
- To make the cake, whisk together flour, sugar, and baking soda.
- Stir in vanilla extract, a large can of crushed pineapple, and 2 eggs.
- You’re done! Spread the batter in the pan and bake!
The resulting pineapple cake is super moist and packed with pineapple flavor!
The Dreamiest Whipped Pineapple Frosting
This isn’t really a frosting in the traditional sense of the word. It’s more like a pineapple whipped cream cloud, which is a very, very good thing.
- To make the frosting, whip the cream cheese with a few Tablespoons of milk until it’s smooth and creamy.
- In another bowl, whisk together a packet of instant vanilla pudding and 1 1/2 cups cold milk until thickened.
- Combine the cream cheese mixture and pudding mixture, then stir in a can of drained and crushed pineapple.
- Spread the pudding mixture over top of the cooled pineapple cake, then spread a tub of whipped topping over the top.
The end result? An absolutely luscious homemade pineapple cake that’s light, refreshing, creamy, and bursting with tropical pineapple flavor.
Can I make pineapple cake ahead of time?
Absolutely! In fact, I recommend it! I mostly prefer cake at room temperature or even warmed, but this pineapple sunshine cake actually tastes best served chilled. The cake needs at least an hour to chill in the fridge, but really it tastes the best the day after it’s made.
How long will pineapple cake last?
This cake keeps very well in the fridge. Cover it with saran wrap or a lid, and the cake will stay nice and moist for 4-5 days.
Pineapple Sheet Cake Variations:
I absolutely love this cake exactly as it is, but if you’re looking to switch things up a bit, you can absolutely add some toasted shredded coconut and/or toasted chopped nuts to the top of the cake. You can also add halved maraschino cherries to each slice for decoration.
Additionally, if you swap the homemade pineapple cake for a boxed yellow cake mix, you can experiment with all different kinds of fruits. Try it with diced canned peaches or mandarin oranges!
I don’t recommend making this into a layer cake as the pudding layer is too soft, but I also have a wonderful Pineapple Coconut Layer Cake recipe. You might also enjoy my Carrot Sheet Cake, which is super moist and flavorful thanks to trusty crushed pineapple!
Need more pineapple recipes? Try these!
For the cake:
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1 20 oz can crushed pineapple with juices
For the topping:
- 1 3 ounce box instant vanilla pudding mix
- 1 1/2 cups + 2 Tablespoons milk
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 20 oz can crushed pineapple, drained
- 8 ounces whipped topping, thawed
For the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
- Stir in the vanilla, then whisk in the eggs until well combined. Stir in the crushed pineapple.
- Spread the batter evenly over the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool before adding the topping.
For the frosting:
- In a bowl, whisk together the pudding mix and 1 1/2 cups milk until thickened and creamy, about 2 minutes.
- In another bowl, beat the cream cheese and remaining 2 Tablespoons of milk until the mixture is smooth and very creamy. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding and stir until combined. Stir in the drained pineapple. Spread the mixture over top of the cooled cake, then spread the whipped topping over the pudding.
- Chill the cake at least two hours. It will keep for several days (and is actually really excellent the second day). I prefer to serve this cake chilled.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 18 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 267 Total Fat: 8g Saturated Fat: 6g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 2g Cholesterol: 34mg Sodium: 327mg Carbohydrates: 46g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 32g Protein: 4g