Also known as “Do Nothing” Cake, this vintage dessert is incredibly moist and sweet. Tornado Cake is a pineapple flavored cake with a decadent coconut and pecan topping makes for the best treat.
Let me introduce you to the most delicious cake if you haven’t already heard of it. Tornado Cake is a classic from mother’s old recipe box. It’s been a popular dessert for decades and for good reason. It’s an easy dessert to make and so incredibly decadent. You’ll love it!
I love how it’s such an easy recipe with just a few pantry ingredients. The cake is ready in less than 1 hour! If you love a moist cake, this is it!
It’s an old-fashioned poke cake. The topping is poured on the cake that’s been poked with the handle of a wooden spoon so it seeps inside. It’s sometimes called Texas Tornado Cake. Enjoy this hot cake after a family feast!
Why You’ll Love Do Nothing Tornado Cake
- This is the best cake recipe for a family dinner.
- A delicious dessert that’s been passed down from generation to generation.
- The perfect classic recipe to satisfy your sweet tooth.
- The boiled coconut topping is crazy good!
- Ready from start to finish in under one hour.
- Simple ingredients found in your pantry.
- Super moist and gooey cake that tastes amazing warm or at room temperature.
- No special equipment is required to make this cake.
Full measurements and instructions are found in the recipe card. Scroll down!
- All-purpose flour – Cake flour can also be used here.
- Baking soda
- Granulated sugar
- Brown sugar – Light or dark is fine.
- Large eggs
- Vanilla extract
- Crushed pineapple
Boiled Coconut Icing Ingredients
- Salted butter
- Evaporated milk
- Brown sugar
- Granulated sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Chopped pecans
- Sweetened coconut flakes
How to Make Tornado Cake
- Step One: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13-inch pan with cooking spray.
- Step Two: In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, sugar and brown sugar.
- Step Three: Add the eggs, vanilla and pineapple and stir to combine.
- Step Four: Pour batter evenly into the pan and place in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out damp, but not doughy.
- Step Five: During the last 5 minutes of baking time, combine butter, evaporated milk, brown sugar and granulated sugar to a saucepan. Heat to boiling. Boil for 1 minute.
- Step Six: Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla, pecans and coconut.
- Step Seven: Remove cake from the oven and poke holes in the cake. Pour the boiling frosting over the cake and spread evenly.
- Step Eight: Let the cake cool for at least 10 minutes before serving or cool completely.
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What to Serve with Tornado Cake
- Milk, tea or coffee
- Mocha Latte
- Butterscotch Steamer
- Scoop of vanilla ice cream
- Stabilized whipped cream
Variations and Substitutions
- Use a can of fruit cocktail instead of the crushed pineapple. Fruit cocktail was used in the original recipe for this cake!
- You can also bake this cake in a sheet cake pan for a thinner, moister cake. You won’t need to bake it as long.
- Use chopped walnuts instead of the pecans in the boiled topping.
- Try canned peaches instead of the crushed pineapple.
- Use unsalted butter, but add in ¼ teaspoon of salt to the topping to replace.
Cover the leftover cake with plastic wrap or in an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Can I Freeze?
Yes! Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and then again in aluminum foil. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
What is the Frosting on Tornado Cake?
It’s actually a boiled frosting that you pour onto the warm cake. The frosting soaks into the cake (via the holes you poked) and makes the cake super moist and gooey delish!
Should I Drain the Can of Crushed Pineapple?
Nope! Use the whole can of crushed pineapple including all the juice inside the can. It will help to make the cake nice and moist.
Can I Use Different Fruits or Nuts?
Yes, you can! Try fruit cocktail, canned peaches, or canned pears instead of the crushed pineapple. Use chopped walnuts instead of the chopped pecans.
How to Poke Holes in a Cake
I find using a wooden spoon works the best for this task. Using the handle of the wooden spoon, poke holes about 1 inch apart in the cake. Make sure to not go too deep so you don’t touch the bottom of the pan with the wooden spoon.
Vintage Cake Recipes
- Pineapple Cake
- Fruit Cocktail Cake
- Wacky Cake
- Oatmeal Cake
- Banana Cake
- Hummingbird Cake
- Earthquake Cake
If you make the recipe, rate it on the recipe card below and tag me on Instagram and use #simplystacie. I like sharing the photos on my Instagram stories!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 can crushed pineapple or fruit cocktail 20oz can
Boiled Coconut Icing
- ½ cup salted butter
- ⅔ cup evaporated milk
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup pecans chopped
- 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13-inch pan with cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, sugar and brown sugar.
- Add the eggs, vanilla and pineapple and stir to combine.
- Spread the cake mixture evenly into the pan and place in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out damp, but not doughy.
- During the last 5 minutes of baking time, add the butter, evaporated milk, brown sugar and granulated sugar to a saucepan. Heat to boiling. Boil for 1 minute.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla, pecans and coconut.
- Remove cake from the oven and poke holes in the cake. Pour the boiling frosting over the cake and spread evenly.
- Let the cake cool for at least 10 minutes before serving or cool completely.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.