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Tornado Cake

close up shot of tornado cake on a plate with a piece taken out of it with a fork
Tornado Cake is an easy-to-make dessert that incorporates the delicious and fruity taste of a moist pineapple cake with a nutty pecan and coconut topping.
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Table of Contents
  1. TORNADO CAKE INGREDIENTS
  2. HOW TO MAKE THIS TORNADO CAKE RECIPE
  3. HOW TO SERVE
  4. STORAGE
  5. FAQ
  6. MORE RECIPES YOU'LL LOVE
  7. JUMP TO RECIPE

Our authentic-tasting Texas Tornado Cake is a delicious version of the popular ‘Do Nothing Tornado Cake’ – and if you’ve seen photos of this pineapple and coconut dessert, you’ll understand why it’s a Southern favorite! With a moist, pineapple-flavored cake covered in a decadent coconut sauce, this dessert will satisfy your sweet tooth in all the right ways. 

Looking for more fruity desserts? Berry Upside Down Cake is an excellent option, and this Strawberry Jello Poke Cake is a beautiful and delicious cake. Our Hummingbird Cake is moist and deliciously fruity.


MORE CAKE RECIPES:
Cinnamon Roll Poke Cake | Boston Cream Poke Cake


TORNADO CAKE INGREDIENTS

You will need:

For The Cake

  • 1 tablespoon salted butter for greasing pan
  • 1 package yellow cake mix
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup evaporated milk
  • 20-ounce can crushed pineapple

For The Topping

  • 2 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut 
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

WALNUTS: If you don’t particularly enjoy pecans but still want a nutty topping, you can substitute them for walnuts if you prefer.

FRUIT SALAD: Some variations of this recipe use canned fruit salad instead of crushed pineapple. You can substitute it here if you prefer a mix of fruit in your cake.

EGG: If you’re looking to substitute an egg, use ¼ cup (approximately 65 grams) of applesauce or ¼ cup of pureed bananas to replace a single egg.

EVAPORATED MILK: If you don’t have any evaporated milk on hand, you can make your own. Just place 3 ¼ cups full-fat milk into a small pot or pan (non-stick is best). Simmer (DO NOT BOIL) milk on low-medium for 25 minutes until it’s reduced to roughly 1 ½ to 1 ¼ cups of liquid. Stir frequently as it’s cooking. Run it through a sieve to remove any skin that formed.

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HOW TO MAKE THIS TORNADO CAKE RECIPE

For The Cake

STEP ONE: Preheat your oven to 350°F and then grease a 9×13 inch glass baking dish with a tablespoon of butter and set it aside for later.

STEP TWO: In a large mixing bowl beat together the cake mix, 3 eggs, vegetable oil, and the evaporated milk on medium speed for about 2 minutes.

PRO TIP: One 12-ounce can of evaporated milk splits perfectly between the cake and the topping, so if you’ve got a good eye, just add half to the cake and reserve the other half for the topping.

STEP THREE: Dump in the crushed pineapple (including the juice) and stir the cake batter until it is fully combined.

STEP FOUR: Pour batter into the baking pan. Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

For The Topping

STEP ONE: In a heavy saucepan and whisk together egg yolks and evaporated milk.

STEP TWO: Add in the white sugar, butter, and vanilla, Heat over medium heat until the butter melts and the mixture comes to a boil.

STEP THREE: Simmer, stirring frequently until the mixture thickens and deepens to a golden color. 

PRO TIP: Keep an eye on the mixture, as the only takes about 5 minutes after the mixture has come to a boil.

STEP FOUR: Remove from the heat and stir in pecans and coconut flakes. Set it aside until the cake finishes cooking.

STEP FIVE: When the cake comes out of the oven, poke all over with the handle of a wooden spoon.

STEP SIX: Gently spread the coconut topping evenly over the cake.

STEP SEVEN: Allow the cake to cool slightly before cutting into pieces and serving.

HOW TO SERVE

Serve this amazing cake warm. Add a scoop of our vanilla ice cream and whipped cream with your slice of cake. Add one of our refreshing cold drinks such as our iced tea, raspberry iced tea, sweet peach iced tea, or our southern strawberry sweet tea on the side to wash it down.

STORAGE

IN THE FRIDGE: To store this easy dessert in the fridge, place any of the leftovers into an airtight container, or cover with plastic wrap to store on the countertop or in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.

IN THE FREEZER: Cover with plastic wrap completely and freeze for up to one month.

This Texas Tornado Cake recipe uses simple ingredients and is easy to make. The pineapple cake is sweet and moist, and the coconut topping is a sweet, coconut delight that bakes up golden brown. It’s a Southern classic you’ll love!

FAQ

What do you use to poke holes in the cake?

The end of a wooden spoon is the best size to poke holes in the cake. 

Can I make this tornado cake ahead of time?

You can make this cake a day or two in advance. Make it the day before and store covered in the fridge until you are ready to serve it.

Should I drain the pineapple before mixing it into the batter?

You shouldn’t drain the pineapple. The juice adds to the moist texture of the cake. Just open the can and add the correct measurements as directed.

MORE RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE

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close up shot of tornado cake on a plate with a piece taken out of it with a fork

Tornado Cake

5 from 1 vote
Tornado Cake is an easy-to-make dessert that incorporates the delicious and fruity taste of a moist pineapple cake with a nutty pecan and coconut topping.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 12

Ingredients
  

Cake

  • 1 tablespoon salted butter for greasing pan
  • 1 package yellow cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup evaporated milk
  • 20 ounces pineapple crushed

Topping

  • 2 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 cup pecans chopped

Instructions
 

Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 9×13 inch glass baking dish with a tablespoon of butter and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl beat together cake mix, 3 eggs, vegetable oil, and evaporated milk on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  • Mix in crushed pineapple (including juice) until combined.
  • Pour the cake batter into the baking dish. Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Topping

  • In a heavy saucepan whisk together egg yolks and evaporated milk.
  • Add sugar, butter, and vanilla and heat over medium heat until butter melts and mixture comes to a boil.
  • Simmer, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens and deepens to a golden color. This takes about 5 minutes after mixture has come to a boil).
  • Remove from heat and stir in pecans and coconut flakes. Set aside until the cake finishes cooking.
  • When cake comes out of the oven, poke all over with the handle of a wooden spoon. Gently spread topping evenly over the top.
  • Allow the cake to cool slightly before cutting into pieces and serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 384kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 100mg | Sodium: 130mg | Potassium: 229mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 415IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 108mg | Iron: 1mg
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Proudly Prepared by the Spaceships Kitchen

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