This pineapple sunshine cake is the ultimate pineapple cake! This is a three layer pineapple cake (crushed pineapple inside the cake layers!), filled with a pineapple jam and topped with a pineapple cream cheese frosting. If you are a pineapple lover, you will love this cake!
This southern pineapple sunshine cake is basically sunshine in a cake. Pineapple is the best during the summer, and would be such a perfect cake for birthday parties, wedding cake, or for the 4th of July!
My favorite part about this cake is the frosting. This is a cream cheese frosting filled with some of the pineapple jam. There are little peaks of pineapple all through out the cake!
Why This Recipe Works
- Pineapple cake- There is crushed pineapple in the cake. The way it is made is similar to a carrot cake. It has melted butter, oil, sour cream, buttermilk, and crushed pineapple!
- Pineapple filling- The filling of this cake is a pineapple jam! It helps the cake have a strong pineapple flavor.
- Pineapple frosting- You have to have a pineapple frosting to go with this cake!
- Fresh pineapple decoration- It is topped with pineapple circles to complete the look!
What Is Pineapple Sunshine Cake?
Pineapple sunshine cake is also known to be called Crushed Pineapple Cake. Usually it is a box of yellow cake mix filled with a crushed pineapple and topped with a whipped topping like cool whip.
I wanted to classy the cake up a bit and make it homemade! So, this is a layered crushed pineapple made from scratch with a pineapple jam and a pineapple frosting. It tastes even better than the traditional cake!
Here are some notes on the ingredients. For a full list of ingredients, check out the recipe card below.
- Crushed pineapple- You will need two cans of 20oz of crushed pineapple.
- Unsalted butter- For the cake, it needs to be melted and cooled before using. For the frosting, it needs to be pulled out 30 minutes before using to be slightly cold.
- Oil- Use canola oil or vegetable oil.
- Sour cream- Use full fat sour cream. Pull this out 2 hours before baking.
- Buttermilk- Use full fat or reduced fat buttermilk. Pull this out 2 hours before baking.
- Eggs- Pull the large eggs out 2 hours before baking.
- Cream cheese- Use full fat cream cheese. Pull this out 2 hours before baking.
- Powdered sugar- Make sure it is sifted to avoid a gritty frosting.
- Sour cream- Use can use plain full fat greek yogurt.
- Buttermilk- Use ½ cup of milk and ½ Tablespoon of lemon juice. Let it sit for 10 minutes before using.
- Cream cheese- Increase the butter to 2 cups and decrease the powdered sugar to 6 ½ cups.
Step By Step Instructions- Cake Layers
Here is how to make and bake the pineapple cake. You don't need an electric mixer for this recipe. You will need three 8-inch cake pans, baking spray, 8-inch parchment paper circles, two bowls, a whisk, and a rubber spatula.
STEP 1: Squeeze out the pineapple juice. Place the crushed pineapple into a colander. Use a rubber spatula to squeeze the pineapple juice out.
This process takes several minutes because there is a lot of juice! Continue until most of the juice is out.
STEP 2: Mix the dry ingredients. In a large bowl, sift the all-purpose flour. Then, add the baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
STEP 3: Mix the wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix the crushed pineapple, melted butter, oil, eggs, sour cream, white sugar, vanilla extract, and buttermilk.
STEP 4: Pour the wet ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and whisk until combined, don't over mix though!
STEP 5: Bake. Pour the cake batter evenly into the three cake pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool the cakes in the hot pans for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. The cakes need to be completely cooled before decorating.
Step By Step Instructions- Filling and Frosting
The frosting will need a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or a hand mixer. Make sure to give yourself plenty of cool down time after you make the jam.
STEP 1: Make the jam. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, mix the crushed pineapple (keep the juice), sugar, and cornstarch.
Heat for awhile until the jam thickens, then cool completely.
STEP 2: Beat butter and cream cheese. Using a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese on high speed for 3 minutes. Then, slowly add in the powdered sugar on low speed.
STEP 3: Add the wet ingredients. Next, add the vanilla, salt, heavy cream, and pineapple jam. Mix on high speed until creamy.
Assembling The Cake
- To get perfectly even cakes, use a serrated knife or a cake leveler to cut the domes off.
- Place the 1st cake layer down. Spread 1 cup of frosting over the cake. Using a piping bag, pipe a border of frosting around the edge of the cake. Spread half of the pineapple filling using an offset spatula.
- Repeat with the second cake layer. Place the last cake layer down with the bottom of the cake facing up.
- Frost sides of the cake in a very very light layer of frosting. Freeze for 15 minutes to set the filling.
- For a semi-naked look, frost the cake and use a cake scrapper to scrape the frosting smooth, while still seeing bits of the cake poking through.
For the same recipe, you can do two thick 8-inch cake pans, 3 6-inch cake pans, 9X13 cake pan (half the frosting and jam). Half the recipe to make a 8X8-inch cake pan or 9X9-inch cake pan or a small 3 6-inch cake.
Yes! Half the recipe to make 12 cupcakes. Bake for 18-20 minutes.
Yes. After the cake layers cool completely. Wrap the cake in plastic wrap. Freeze up to 30 days. Thaw for 1 hour before decorating.
Storing and Freezing
Store this pineapple cake in a cake carrier or an airtight container up to 5 days in the fridge.
The cake is best enjoyed at room temperature.
Freeze the cake in individual cake slices in an airtight container. Freeze up to 30 days. Thaw for 1-2 hours before eating.
Other Layered Cake Recipes To Try
Pineapple Sunshine Cake
- 3 ½ cups All-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon Baking soda
- 1 teaspoon Baking powder
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ½ cup Unsalted butter melted and cooled
- ½ cup Oil canola or vegetable
- 1 ½ cups White granulated sugar
- ½ cup Sour cream room temperature
- 1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups Crushed pineapple
- 4 Large eggs room temperature
- ½ cup Buttermilk room temperature
- 20 oz Crushed pineapple the whole can
- ¾ cup White sugar
- 1 tablespoon Cornstarch
Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 oz Cream cheese room temperature
- 1 ½ cups Unsalted butter slightly cold
- 8 ½ cups Powdered sugar sifted
- 1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup Pineapple jam
- 1 tablespoon Heavy cream
- ¾ teaspoon Salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray three 8-inch cake pans with baking nonstick spray. Line the bottoms of the pan with 8-inch parchment paper circles. Spray again.
- Pour the crushed pineapple into a colander. Use a rubber spatula to press juice out of the pineapple. There will be a lot of juice, do this as much as you can. Set aside.2 cups Crushed pineapple
- In a medium bowl, sift the flour. Add the baking soda, baking powder, and salt.3 ½ cups All-purpose flour, 2 teaspoon Baking soda, 1 teaspoon Baking powder, 1 teaspoon Salt
- In a large bowl, mix the melted butter (make sure it is cooled!), oil, sugar, sour cream, vanilla, crushed pineapple, eggs, and buttermilk. Mix using a whisk.½ cup Unsalted butter, ½ cup Oil, 1 ½ cups White granulated sugar, ½ cup Sour cream, 1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract, 2 cups Crushed pineapple, 4 Large eggs, ½ cup Buttermilk
- Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Whisk until just combined.
- Pour the batter evenly between the three cake pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Let the cakes sit in the hot pans for 10 minutes. Then, transfer to a cooling rack. Cool the cakes completely before decorating.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, mix crushed pineapple and sugar. Heat on medium until it thickens.20 oz Crushed pineapple, ¾ cup White sugar
- Cool completely in a bowl or glass measuring cup. You can speed this process by placing in the fridge.
Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting
- Place the butter on the counter for 30 minutes to get slightly cold. Sift the powdered sugar in a large bowl while you wait.1 ½ cups Unsalted butter, 8 ½ cups Powdered sugar
- Using a mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter on high speed for 3 minutes. Add the powdered sugar in on low speed slowly. It will be thick.8 oz Cream cheese
- Add the cooled pineapple jam, vanilla, salt, and heavy cream. Mix on high speed for 1-2 minutes until combined.1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon Heavy cream, ¾ teaspoon Salt, ⅓ cup Pineapple jam
- Use a serrated knife or a cake leveler to cut the domes off the cakes, so they are even. Place a small amount of frosting on the board you are decorating on.
- Place the 1st cake layer down. Frost 1 cup of frosting on top of cake. Pipe a border or frosting around the edge. Spread half of the pineapple jam on top of the frosting.
- Repeat with the second layer. Place the last layer of cake with the bottom of the cake facing up. This gives the flattest surface possible for the top of the cake. Freeze for 10 minutes to set the filling.
- For a full frosting look: Frost the cake in a very light layer. Freeze for 15 minutes. Then, frost the rest of the cake. Freeze for 10 minutes.For a semi-naked look. Frost the cake in a light layer of frosting. Then, freeze for 10 minutes.
- Decorate the cake with fresh pineapple!