Pineapple cake layers are filled with whipped pineapple cream cheese frosting in this refreshingly light and flavorful dessert!
If you love pineapple, this cake is for you. Crushed pineapple is baked right into the cake batter, and the resulting moist cake layers are brushed with pineapple juice and filled with pineapple cream filling.
All of these components contribute to the cakes' refreshingly sweet pineapple flavor.
How to Make Pineapple Dream Cake
You can find the full, printable pineapple cake recipe further down in this post, but here is a quick review of our steps!
- Preheat Oven & Prepare Pans: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease (with vegetable shortening) and flour three 8×2 inch round pans. We also like to line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper as well.
- Flour Mixture/Dry Ingredients: In a medium bowl, whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt for 30 seconds. Set aside
- Pineapple-Drain the Crushed Pineapple in order to avoid excess liquid- we used a strainer for this.
- Buttermilk Mixture/Wet Ingredients: In another bowl, add the buttermilk, vegetable oil, drained pineapple, and vanilla. The mixture will become fairly thick as the pineapple reacts to the buttermilk. Set aside.
- Butter and Sugar: In the large mixing bowl for your mixer, add the butter and mix at medium speed until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and continue to mix on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes until lightened in color and fluffy.
- Eggs: Add the room temperature eggs one at a time mixing after each addition until the yellow of the egg yolk is blended.
- Alternating Dry and Wet Ingredients: With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients (3 additions of dry ingredients and 2 of liquid). After the last addition, mix just until combined. Be careful not to over-mix.
- Fill the Pans! Divide the batter between the three prepared 8 inch round cake pans.
- Time to Bake! Bake at 325 degrees for 28-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with just few moist crumbs attached. Let the cake layers cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes while still in the pans and then turn out.
Filling for the Pineapple Cake
There are many fillings that would be perfect with this recipe! For pineapple cakes, we often do a layer of our cooked pineapple filling (or even just crushed, drained pineapple) paired with a layer of sweetened whipped cream.
Our popular Easy Pineapple & Cream Filling which uses a "mousse" from instant vanilla pudding mix and crushed pineapple is also a great choice for pineapple cakes, as we used in our other Pineapple Cake Recipe.
Today, we are going with a combination of our Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting and drained, crushed pineapple for a thick and flavorful filling!
We first made our Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting which is a combination of softened cream cheese, confectioners sugar and vanilla extract, with freshly whipped cream folded into it.
We will use most of this to frost the cake later, but we reserved two cups for the filling, which we will be combining with drained pineapple.
After straining the pineapple, you can reserve the juice for brushing on top of the cake.
Here is our lovely finished Pineapple Whipped Cream Cheese Filling.
We gently folded the drained, crushed pineapple into the two cups of whipped cream cheese frosting. We will use this in between our pineapple cake layers as well as on top.
Assembling and Decorating the Cake
We kept things very simple with our cake design today. Sometimes simple is best- especially when working with soft frostings.
To assemble, place the first cake layer on the cake plate or pedestal.
Brush with the Reserved Juice: Next, we brushed the top with pineapple juice. This step is optional but it gives our cake layers an added boost of pineapple flavor. (You will not use all the pineapple juice from the can of crushed pineapple).
Dam & Fill: Next, we piped a dam of our frosting about ¼-1/2 inch from the edge of the cake using a piping bag with the tip snipped away. Then apply the pineapple & cream filling.
The purpose of the dam is to keep the filling from escaping as the layers are stacked.
You could probably get away with skipping the dam if you are careful not to take the filling all the way to the edge- but we piped one anyway ;0)
Apply the second pineapple cake layer, brush with pineapple juice, pipe a dam, and fill once again.
Top with the third cake layer, brush with pineapple juice, and frost a thin coat of frosting on the top and sides of the cake. Reserve the remaining flavorful pineapple filling for the top.
Crumb Coat & Chill: When frosting our cakes, we like to apply a crumb coat (thin coat) of frosting first and then chill in the freezer for about 15-20 minutes to firm things up before applying the second coat of frosting.
The chilling step is optional but it helps prevent the cake layers from shifting as you are frosting the cake.
Decorating the Cake: I applied the second coat of frosting, adding a bit of texture using my offset spatula. Even though it is super simple, textured frosting makes for a beautiful cake.
I finished things off by spreading additional filling on top of the cake in the center-leaving room for a border- and piped a large shell border around the top edge using a large 1M piping tip.
I repeated this simple border around the bottom of the cake also.
Should this Pineapple Cake be Refrigerated?
Yes, you need to refrigerate our Pineapple Dream Cake because of the perishable filling and frosting.
For best taste and texture, make sure to remove the cake from the refrigerator a couple of hours before serving so that the cake has a chance to warm up a bit and soften.
Can Pineapple Cake Layers be Frozen?
Yes, you can freeze your pineapple cake layers!
This is an optional step but we freeze all of our freshly baked cake layers whenever time allows- we find that it makes them even more moist if they are wrapped while still warm.
Cakes can be tightly wrapped and frozen for anywhere from a few hours to a few months and they will taste as fresh as the day that they were baked. Make life easier and bake your layers well in advance!
Wrapping: After cooling our cake layers for about 10 minutes, we flip each one onto it's own foil-wrapped cake cardboard (we wrap the boards in foil so that they can be reused). Allow the cake layers to cool for a few minutes longer but wrap while they are still a bit warm.
Wrap the layers with plastic wrap followed by aluminum foil and pop them in the freezer.
Thawing: When you are ready to thaw the cake layers, simply remove them from the freezer and allow to thaw on the kitchen counter, still wrapped.
We keep the frozen layers wrapped for at least 30-45 minutes to allow condensation to form on the foil before removing the wrapping.
Thaw to desired softness- some decorators prefer to assemble their cakes while the layers are partially frozen as they are less fragile that way.
More Pineapple Cakes to Try
If you love pineapple desserts, make sure to put these other favorite cake recipes on your list as well! There are so many wonderful flavor pairings for pineapple!
Enjoy the Recipe!
Thanks so much for stopping by. We hope that this scratch pineapple cake with it's moist texture and bright flavor will become one of your favorite desserts!
It is the perfect choice for birthdays, holidays, and in the summertime when our fruity cake cravings are in full swing!
If you give it a try, please make sure to leave a comment and photo below!
For the Cake
- 1 ½ sticks (170g) unsalted butter, softened ( holds it shape but dents when pressed)
- 2 cups (400g) sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 3 cups (342g) cake flour (spooned into measuring cup and leveled off) If you do not have cake flour see substitution in Notes below.
- 2 teaspoons (8g) baking powder
- ½ teaspoon (3g) baking soda
- ½ teaspoon (3g) salt
- 1 ¼ cups (296g) buttermilk — if you do not have buttermilk, see substitution below
- ¼ cup (54g) vegetable oil
- 1 Tablespoon (12g) vanilla extract
- 1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple, DRAINED- This comes to about 1 ½ cup drained pineapple.
Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
- Two 8 ounce (423g total weight) packages cream cheese, softened. It must be full fat, not reduced fat or cream cheese in a tub, those are too soft.
- 2 cups (230g) powdered sugar, measure then sift
- 2 teaspoons (8g) vanilla extract
- 3 cups (696g heavy whipping cream
Pineapple Whipped Cream Cheese Filling
- 2 cups of the reserved whipped cream cheese frosting
- 1 (8oz) can of pineapple, *drained*
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, grease and flour three 8×2 inch round pans. We like to line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper as well.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt for 30 seconds. Set aside
- Drain the Crushed Pineapple- We used a strainer for this.
- In another bowl, add the buttermilk, vegetable oil, drained crushed pineapple, and vanilla. Set aside.
- In the bowl of your mixer, add the butter and mix at medium speed until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and continue to mix on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes until lightened in color and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition until the yolks have blended in.
- With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients (3 additions of dry ingredients and 2 of liquid). After the last addition, mix just until combined. Be careful not to over-mix.
- Divide the batter between the three prepared 8 inch cake pans.
- Bake at 325 degrees for 28-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with just few crumbs attached. Let cool 10 minutes and turn out.
Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
- Freeze your mixing bowl and beaters 15 minutes before whipping the cream (30 minutes if chilling in the refrigerator.
- Use the whisk attachment for a stand mixer, beaters on your hand mixer. Beat the cream until stiff peaks form. This can happen very quickly so don't walk away from the mixer. You are at the stiff peak stage when you lift the beater and the cream stands straight up forming a peak. Keep in the refrigerator while completing the next step.
- In another bowl combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until very smooth. Fold this into the whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate.
- Reserve 2 cups of the frosting and set to the side to be combined with pineapple for the filling.
Pineapple Whipped Cream Cheese Filling
- Drain the 8 oz can of Crushed Pineapple- We used a strainer. Save the juice as we will be brushing some of it over the cake layers later.
- We took the two reserved cups of our Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting and combined with the drained, crushed pineapple (adjust amount to your liking). We spread this in between our cake layers as well as on top of the cake (within the top border).
Assembling and Decorating
- Place the first cake layer on cake plate or pedestal. Brush over the top with reserved pineapple juice- I used a pastry brush for this.
- Pipe a dam with frosting about ¼-1/2 inch from the edge using a piping bag (or ziplock) with the tip snipped away. Fill within the dam with the pineapple whipped cream cheese filling.
- Frost the outside of the cake with a thin layer of whipped cream cheese frosting. At this point I chilled the cake for about 15 minutes in the freezer to firm everything up. Then, I applied the second/final coat of frosting, texturing it with my offset spatula.
- Decorate the cake however you like! I added the remaining pineapple filling to the top center of the cake and piped a large shell border around the top and bottom edge using a 1M piping tip.
Substitute for Buttermilk: No Buttermilk? Here is a substitution: To a measuring cup, add 1 Tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice. Add milk to the 1 ¼ mark, stir. Wait 5 minutes and it is ready to use.
Substitution for Cake Flour: Using all purpose flour (plain in UK) to make Cake Flour: For each cup of flour in a recipe, remove 2 Tablespoons of flour and replace with 2 Tablespoons cornstarch (cornflour in the UK). This recipe has 3 cups of flour so you will measure out 3 cups of all purpose flour, remove 6 Tablespoons and replace with 6 Tablespoons cornstarch, whisk to blend
Recipe makes 7 ½ cups batter