~ This amazing pineapple angel food cake recipe is so easy to throw together in just moments using pantry staples! It’s the perfect go-to recipe when you’re out of time but still want to create something impressive! Loaded with juicy pineapple, crunchy almonds and toasted coconut … quick and simple, yet so delicious! ~
This Recipe Is: • Make Ahead • Vegetarian •
It’s good to know a few magic tricks.
Like when you promised to bring a dessert to the block party or the PTO luncheon or the family picnic … But then your meeting ran late, you’re unexpectedly in charge of the evening’s five-kid soccer carpool, and your daughter just now remembered that she needs help making a giant (working!) papier-mâché volcano for tomorrow! Ughhhhh … have ya been there!?!?!
Yup … if your days are like ours, then you need all the magic tricks you can conjure up.
Well, this recipe is your new best trick!
Every single ingredient is absolutely happy to wait at-the-ready in your pantry until needed in a moment of crisis. You know … when there’s only 6.3 minutes left to throw something together (and absolutely no time to run to the store!).
Then, a very quick wave of your wand … and magic happens in your oven!
Everyone will think you planned and prepped (and worked and slaved!). And, you? Well, you’ll just smile graciously. And secretly give yourself a huge high-five for being clever enough to present such a stunning cake and help your daughter get that cursed volcano done! Yay, you!
This beautiful take on traditional angel food cake is still refreshingly light, but has so much more personality!
Juicy, burstingly-sweet pineapple, plus wonderfully toasty coconut and crunchy almonds. Mmmmmm … seems you just waved your magic wand and ended up on a deliciously tropical island! Doesn’t get much better than that!
So you wanna know how to perform this fabulous sleight-of-hand magic?!?
Well, if you’re a Pinterest fanatic (welcome to the sisterhood, BTW!), then you’ve no doubt seen the angel-food-cake-meets-can-o-fruit “dump cake” recipes that regularly circulate there.
Those Pinterest recipes seem so simple, really – just grab a can of pie filling (but there’s all that added sugar and sometimes other questionable ingredients … booooo) or some canned fruit (better … but watch out for that heavy syrup!), and stir the contents into angel food cake mix.
Pretty much as easy as it gets, right?!? No doubt!
But … we’ve kinda all been there, done that, haven’t we? How about a new, more interesting spin?
And what about the healthy part of all THK equations? Could we amp up the nutrition while still keeping the dessert lightning-fast and ridiculously easy?
Turns out that yes … yes, we could!
We skipped the idea of dumping in some canned pie filling and went straight for fruit in 100% fruit juice … and then we added in EXTRA fruit – a second can. Why? Because fruit’s loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Plus, it tastes great!
Next, we added almonds and oats to pump up our dessert with some protein and fiber. Best of all, the oats and nuts create a fabulous crunchy-chewy “crust” layer on the bottom of the cake.
Mmmmmmmm … and for a bit more alluring textural interest, we sprinkled the top with coconut, which toasts to a beautiful golden-brown as the cake bakes.
And … presto-chango … ta-da!
For hardly any extra effort, we’ve pumped up dessert into something far more interesting and incredibly more delicious! And it’s also loaded with some really healthy ingredients. (But honestly – nobody is even gonna notice the healthy part … that’s a little magician’s secret!)
Funny enough – this actually ended up being our birthday cake – back on the very day that we celebrated our THK one-year anniversary. Remember that? We posted a round-up of 10 gorgeous, healthier cakes to commemorate our big milestone. But as fate would have it, this was one of the cakes that Shelley actually baked that day.
And as our families celebrated together at a little restaurant that evening, we couldn’t wait to dive into the fresh-baked samples. We all nibbled on some test bites (while we waited for our appetizers … let’s not discuss the nutritional wisdom of eating dessert BEFORE dinner, mmm’kay – chalk it up to birthday insanity!).
Everyone loved it! It was an absolute hit from the beginning!
Our lovely waitress was curious about our celebration, and we happily gave her some of this cake, too. She immediately dubbed it ambrosia cake, and we promised to give her props on the brilliant name when we finally published this recipe. So, Chelsae, this one’s for you! Wherever you are … thanks for being excited about our little birthday party that evening, and for helping us taste-test our cake!
Call it what you will … this delicious cake is pure magic! You’ll love every single bite.
Keep it handy in your bag of tricks, because it’s a save-the-day recipe you’ll use again and again!
Looking for More Magical Dessert Ideas? Check Out Our:
- No-Bake Chocolate-Coconut Peanut Butter Bars
- Grilled Tropical Fruit with Almond-Ricotta Sauce
- Kentucky Derby Chocolate-Pecan Cookie Bars
- Strawberry Sundae Yogurt Ice Pops
- Layered Ribbon Jell-O Salad
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted sliced almonds
- 1 cup quick oats
- 1 16-ounce box angel food cake mix (see note)
- 1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple in 100% juice, undrained
- 1 8-ounce can pineapple tidbits in 100% juice, undrained
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 3/4 cups coconut
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Sprinkle almonds and oats evenly in the bottom of a greased 9x13 baking pan.
- In a large bowl, combine angel food cake mix, both cans of pineapple with juice, and almond extract, stirring with a large spoon until just combined. Do not overmix.
- Dollop about 3 cups of batter (this doesn't have to be exact) on top of the nuts and oats, and stir just a bit so that the nuts and oats are caught up in the batter a little and won't fall loosely off the bottom of the cake once baked. This creates a crust layer. Don't overwork the batter at this point, though, or the crust layer will be too dense – just lightly fold in the nuts and oats a bit and spread the mixture evenly back out across the bottom of the pan.
- Add the rest of the batter to the pan, on top of the crust layer, using a scraper to lightly spread the batter evenly.
- Sprinkle coconut on top of the batter and very lightly press the coconut in, just enough so that it will stick to the cake, but not so much that you're deflating the batter.
- Bake for about 36-40 minutes, or until coconut and top of cake are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out only very slightly damp but not wet or gloppy. Don't wait until the toothpick comes out totally dry, or your cake might be a bit dry around the edges.
Choosing a mix: We’re always careful about which prepackaged ingredients we use in our recipes, and we try to help you spot nutritional pitfalls along the way. Although there are several brands of organic angel food cake mix (Amazon carries a few), we haven't seen any at our local markets, so we know you're likely to end up using a more mainstream national brand, as well. If so, be sure to read the labels to find the ingredient list you like best. There are variations, even in something as simple as angel food cake mix. Be on the lookout for hydrogenated fats in particular. While Duncan Hines, for example, does have a small amount of partially hydrogenated oils in their boxed mix, other brands (including Pillsbury and Betty Crocker) do not.