Pineapple Crumb Cake

In all my years of baking and blogging, I have somehow never shared a pineapple recipe with you. Sure, there have been a few Hummingbird Cake variations with some pineapple present. But, we’re talking about dessert that’s all about pineapple.

Recently, a BoB follower on Facebook asked me for a pineapple cake recipe. When I realized that I didn’t have one ready to share, I knew that I had to remedy that as soon as possible. Then, as luck would have it, I happened upon a recipe that sounded just perfect.

Now I’m going to attempt to tell you all the reasons why this cake is so, so good. I’m sure I won’t be able to get to all of them, but we’ll at least hit the high points.

Caramelized pineapple and a caramel glaze make this Pineapple Crumb Cake wonderfully delicious. - Bake or Break

First of all, it’s one of those magical one-layer cakes that I love. No stacking layers, no frosting. Then, there’s the plus of making it all with just a couple of bowls and one skillet.

Unlike a lot of pineapple cakes, there’s no upside-down aspect. After the pineapple rings are caramelized a bit in the skillet, they go right on top of the cake and are covered with a lovely crumb topping. And, as if all that weren’t enough, there’s a glorious caramel-y glaze to go on top. There’s a bit of lemon in that glaze that makes it work so well with the sweet, tart pineapple on the cake.

This isn’t what I’d call a pretty cake. It’s a bit more… rustic. It’s bumpy and uneven and gooey and sticky. And it’s absolutely delicious! I have to say that I’m not the biggest fan of pineapple, but I am a huge fan of this cake. As soon as I took my first bite, I was completely smitten. And, Quinn promptly added this cake to his favorites list, saying that he’d never turn down a slice of it.

Pineapple Crumb Cake

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Pineapple Crumb Cake


    For the topping:
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • pinch salt
  • For the cake:
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 8 fresh pineapple rings, 1/2-inch thick
  • 1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • For the glaze:
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dark corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • pinch salt


To make the topping:

Place flour, brown sugar, butter, and salt in a small bowl. Use a fork or your fingers to combine until mixture is crumbly. Cover and refrigerate.

To make the cake:

Heat canola oil in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.

Add 4 pineapple rings to the skillet. Cook until lightly browned on each side (about 1 minute per side). Remove pineapple and repeat with remaining 4 pineapple rings.

Allow skillet to cool for 15-20 minutes. Then, use a paper towel to wipe skillet.

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Add butter. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat until combined. Add milk and vanilla, and beat at low speed until combined.

Increase mixer speed to high and continue beating for 2 minutes.

Reduce mixer speed to low. Add egg yolks, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Transfer batter to cooled skillet. Arrange pineapple rings over batter, overlapping as needed. Sprinkle with topping.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until cake is golden brown.

To make the glaze:

Place brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, lemon juice, and salt in a small saucepan.

Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture simmers. Continue cooking for another minute until mixture is smooth.

Drizzle glaze over cake.


Recipe slightly adapted from Taste of the South.

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  1. Linda May 15, 2014 Reply

    Unlike you I am a huge fan of pineapple–particularly fresh pineapple. This looks wonderful and I can’t wait to make it…bumpy look and all! :)

  2. VHS May 15, 2014 Reply

    I currently have 6 fresh pineapples in my fridge. I usually just cut and freeze for smoothies. I am off to the kitchen to try this.

  3. Caroline Dodd May 16, 2014 Reply

    Sounds good!!!! Will try it!!!! Caroline

  4. Lynne May 17, 2014 Reply

    This looks absolutely delicious and I would love to bake it for my work colleagues who have been very supportive during recent sad times. Can I just ask please:
    1) what size skillet you use because I will have to use a cake tin for the oven part, and
    2)is this a cake that can be made ahead and eaten cold, or does it need to be eaten while still warm?
    Thanks :-)

    • Author
      Jennifer McHenry May 17, 2014 Reply

      Hi, Lynne. I used a 10-inch skillet. The cake doesn’t have to be served warm. It will keep and serve well for a couple of days.

      • Lynne May 20, 2014 Reply

        Thanks for your reply. My lucky workmates are getting this the day after tomorrow :-)

  5. Joanne May 19, 2014 Reply

    I somehow never think to put pineapple in the limelight either, even though it’s one of my favorite fruits! What a lovely cake! I definitely see myself making this in the near future!

  6. sara May 20, 2014 Reply

    OMG this looks insanely good!!

  7. Laura Dembowski May 22, 2014 Reply

    Love this idea! I’ve been eating pineapple like crazy so baking with it sounds amazing!

  8. Nancee Stewart June 14, 2014 Reply

    Can you make the pineapple crumb cake in a glass 13 x 9 pan, instead of an iron skillet (of which I do not have)??
    The cake looks and sounds yummy, and I want to try it if I can us the 13×9 pan! Thanks and happy baking!

    • Author
      Jennifer McHenry June 14, 2014 Reply

      Hi, Nancy. A 9×13 would be too big. Try a 9-inch square pan or another type of 10-inch round pan.

  9. nicole August 30, 2014 Reply

    i don’t have dark corn syrup. can i substitute anything for it?

    • Author
      Jennifer McHenry August 30, 2014 Reply

      Hi, Nicole. Light corn syrup or golden syrup will work.

      • nicole August 30, 2014 Reply

        thanks! going to make it right now :)

  10. Chad January 31, 2015 Reply

    I really enjoyed making this cake. I used canned pineapple rings, but they still caramelized nicely. My cast iron pan is larger, about 10 inches I think, so the cake only took about 25-30 minutes to bake. Overall, this was a nice change up for a dessert. If I make it again, I would add crushed pineapple to the cake and make just a bit more glaze. I really love the butteriness of the cake.

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