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This Cake Is The Perfect Combination Of Easy And Impressive

do nothing cake

You’re never too old or too anything to learn something new, like I did recently when I learned about an unusual type of cake that I simply had to try! It’s a Southern specialty I first encountered under the name “Do Nothing” Cake, though regional variations are variously known as Arkansas Doodle Cake, Granny Cake, and Texas Tornado Cake.

I highly recommend giving this cake a try. It’s unique enough for a special occasion, but simple enough for a quick dessert any day of the week!

Why Is It Called “Do Nothing” Cake?

Despite what its name implies, this cake unfortunately does not simply appear out of thin air. But it is extremely simple to make and requires only slightly more effort than preparing a boxed cake mix!

While the idea of a cake that required me to “do nothing” was appealing, its flavor combinations put this recipe firmly on my “must-make” list. The combination of pineapple and coconut in this cake is reminiscent of a piña colada, and the gooey glaze ensures each piece is moist and delicious.

do nothing cake

How To Make Do Nothing Cake

Step 1 – Make The Cake

Arrange your oven racks so that they divide your oven into thirds. Prepare a 9 x 13” baking dish with cooking spray.

do nothing cake

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt with a whisk. Add the can of crushed pineapple with the juice or you can cut a fresh pineapple and crush it in a food processor, eggs, and vanilla extract, and whisk until well blended.

do nothing cake

Pour the batter into the greased pan, and bake at 350°F on the upper oven rack for about 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Step 2 – Make The Topping

do nothing cake

While the cake is baking, place 1 cup of chopped pecans on a rimmed baking sheet. Place it on the lower rack in the oven for about 5 minutes, or until toasted.

Remove both the cake and the pecans from the oven when they’re done, and set them aside while you prepare the topping.

do nothing cake

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat, then stir in the sugar, brown sugar, evaporated milk, and salt. Bring the mixture to a full boil that extends to the center of the pot, and continue to boil for 3 minutes until slightly thickened.

do nothing cake

Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Then stir in about three-quarters of the toasted pecans and all of the shredded coconut.

Step 3 – Assemble The Cake

do nothing cake

Using a wooden skewer or chopstick, poke holes all over the surface of the cake. The holes should go most of the way through the cake without actually touching the bottom.

do nothing cake

Pour the warm topping over the warm cake and gently spread it into an even later. Sprinkle the remaining pecans over the top of the cake, then allow the cake to cool for about at least an hour before slicing.

do nothing cake

Do you know of any desserts that are popular in your region, but aren’t well known elsewhere?

do nothing cake

Pineapple & Coconut “Do Nothing” Cake Recipe

Jill Nystul
This dump-and-stir cake is quick and easy to make, yet has the texture and flavor of a gourmet bakery creation! Perfect for feeding a crowd and impressing them while you're at it!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 pieces
Calories 497 kcal

Ingredients
  

Cake Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 20 ounces crushed pineapple packed in fruit juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Topping Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 5 ounces evaporated milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Instructions
 

  • Arrange your oven racks so that they divide your oven into thirds.
  • Prepare a 9×13” baking pan with cooking spray.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt with a whisk.
  • Add the can of crushed pineapple (juice included), eggs, and vanilla extract to the bowl and whisk to combine.
  • Pour the batter into the greased pan.
  • Bake at 350°F on the upper oven rack for about 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Meanwhile, place the chopped pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and toast on the lower rack in the oven for about 5 minutes, or until the pecans are nicely toasted.
  • Remove both the cake and pecans from the oven when they’re done and set them aside.
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat, then stir in the sugar, brown sugar, evaporated milk, and salt.
  • Bring the mixture to a full boil, then continue boiling for 3 minutes or until slightly thickened.
  • Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
  • Add three-quarters of the toasted pecan and all of the shredded coconut.
  • Use a wooden skewer to poke holes all over the cake, stopping just short of the bottom of the cake.
  • Pour the warm topping over the warm cake and gently spread it into an even later.
  • Sprinkle the remaining pecans over the top, then allow the cake to cool for about at least an hour before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 497kcalCarbohydrates: 80gProtein: 5gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 380mgPotassium: 195mgFiber: 2gSugar: 62gVitamin A: 330IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 59mgIron: 2mg

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

MORE IDEAS FROM

Food & Recipes

  • I have an almost identical cake recipe, but it calls for cream cheese frosting. And the coconut goes in the cake. It’s a hit anywhere I take it, and it’s soooo easy!!! I plan to try the “poke” frosting as I have done that with other cakes and they are yummy too!!!!

    • 2 racks divide the oven into an upper, middle, and lower part – 3 parts. Arrange the 2 racks so those 3 parts are equal in size – so, into thirds.

    • I have made for years just using a cake mix and canned pineapple. I like to sprinkle the top with powered sugar. Quick to make when in a hurry. Also, if children are going to eat can put different sprinkles on top of powered sugar.
      Enjoy, Shirley

    • My mom used to make this with a boxed yellow or white cake & jello (big box, partially thickened)! I love piña coladas but really don’t like pineapple in cakes.

    • I’m sure they would turn out great as cupcakes! It would certainly shorten the cooking time – I would just check on them frequently until a toothpick comes out clean :-)

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