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Homemade Granny Cake

I think of my grandmother every time I make this!

We love all of the cakes our grandmother made for us, but if we had to (haaaad to) choose favorites, this one, lovingly referred to simply as “Granny Cake,” would be our top choice. It always turns out perfectly (it’s never, ever dry) and has tons of great flavor and texture that keeps it interesting and keeps everyone else coming back for more. This cake sort of has a coffee-cake-look about it, but it’s so much more than that, trust us….

So to start, you’re going to make a classic white cake that you’ll stir a can of crushed pineapple into. The pineapple, along with the juices, adds a subtle sweetness, without being overwhelming; this isn’t a pineapple cake, this is a granny cake. Once your cake mix is ready, you pour it into your baking dish and then top it with a layer of pecans and brown sugar. It might seem like a lot of sugar, and, okay, you can cut it down a bit if you must, but the sugar coats the nuts and then it all caramelizes in the oven and you’re left with a perfectly candied pecan layer of cake that gives you just the crunch you need, and balances out the pineapple-laden white cake.

The cake itself isn’t the only awesome thing about this recipe though, no, no, there’s more to it than that. While your cake is baking, you’re going to make a quick, stovetop icing that’s going to get poured over the cake right after it comes out of the oven. It comes together with four ingredients, then soaks into the cake – another reason why it stays so moist – and then slowly sets and becomes a crackly, crispy-coated top layer that balances everything out.

The name may sound simple, but this cake is anything but. You’re going to be just as obsessed with it as we were (and continue to be), and pretty soon it’ll be a tradition in your household as well!

Serves 12-16

1 hour 10 minutes

Rated 4.6 out of 5
Rated by 861 reviewers
  • Cake:
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapples, with juice
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • Icing:
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 350º F and lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with butter or non-stick spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, baking soda and salt, then mix in eggs and pineapple.
  3. Pour batter into your pan and top with an even layer of pecans and brown sugar.
  4. Place baking dish in oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  5. While cake cooks, combine evaporated milk, sugar and butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract, then pour over hot cake.
  7. Let cake cool so it absorbs icing, then slice, serve and enjoy.

Recipe adapted from Just A Pinch

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