This post was created as in partnership with Imperial Sugar. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

This light and fluffy Pineapple Sponge Cake is a vintage dessert that is perfect for Easter, Mother's Day, or any other spring or summer occasion!

If you love vintage dessert recipes, be sure not to miss my Vintage Cherry Chip Layer CakeFrog Eye Salad, or my Best Red Velvet Cake!

An image of a slice of light and fluffy pineapple sponge cake.

Pineapple Sponge Cake

This delightful pineapple sponge cake (also sometimes known as a foam cake) is a throwback recipe that deserves revisiting. It's so fun to make and eat with its light, spongy texture and bright, sweet flavor.

An image of a sponge cake made in a tube pan.

Foam cakes are in the same wheelhouse as chiffon cakes or angel food cakes, which are all primarily leavened with stiffly beaten egg whites, although there are subtle differences to each recipe and nowadays we often add a little baking powder just to give it that little extra bit of lift.

This cake was a hit with the kiddos who liked the different texture from the other types of cake I typically make. 

An image of a slice of airy sponge cake frosted with a simple frosting.

What is a Sponge Cake?

A sponge cake is similar to angel food cake, although sponge cake uses the egg yolks, instead of just the egg whites. But there is not butter, oil, or other fat included in the recipe, and the cake is mostly leavened by beating egg whites to create volume and lift.

Sponge cake is often finished with just some fresh fruit and whipped cream, but in this case we're using an easy pineapple frosting to really amp up the tropical flavor of this dessert.

An image of an old-fashioned sponge cake with pineapple flavor.

How to Make Pineapple Sponge Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Sponge cake bake slower and at a lower temperature than other cake recipes. 
  2. Whisk flour, sugar, and baking powder together in a bowl. It's important not to overmix the cake batter when adding these ingredients, so mixing them beforehand is essential.
  3. Separate the egg yolks and egg whites, beating the egg whites until light and foamy. Then gradually add a little reserved sugar to the egg whites, continuing to beat until stiff peaks form. You can see in the images below how much the volume increases from the start to when the egg whites are foamy, to when they are stiff.
  4. Whisk the egg yolks in a large bowl with the lemon juice and pineapple juice. then stir in half of the flour and sugar mixture in two additions.
  5. Fold in the egg whites with a rubber spatula using as few strokes as possible and taking care to deflate the egg whites as little as possible. 
  6. Add the remaining flour and sugar mixture, again folding just until it is incorporated into the batter. 
  7. Transfer the batter to an ungreased tube cake pan and run a knife through the batter to remove any trapped air bubbles.
  8. Bake for 60 minutes until a toothpick stuck into the center of the cake comes out clean with just a few crumbs.
  9. Invert the pan over a cooling rack or cake plate but don't try to remove the cake until it has cooled completely. If it doesn't eventually loosen on it's own once it is cool, then slide a knife around the edges and the cake will release.
  10. Make the pineapple frosting by beating softened butter and lemon zest together, gradually adding powdered sugar. Then add enough lemon and pineapple juice to get a smooth, spreadable consistency and beat until light (about 3 minutes). It makes just enough frosting to cover the cake.
A collage of images showing how egg whites are beaten into stiff peaks to be added to cake batter.
A collage of images showing egg whites and dry ingredients being folded into sponge cake batter.
An image of pineapple frosting being spread on a tube cake.

Tips for Making Pineapple Sponge Cake

  • Don't grease the tube pan. It might seem counter-intuitive to pour cake batter into an ungreased pan, but this lovely cake needs to be able to hold onto the sides of the pan in order to rise best. But using a tube pan with a removable bottom makes it so that it's no problem to release the cake after baking. 
  • Be careful not to overmix the batter when adding the flour. If you mix the batter too vigorously, it can cause the egg whites to deflate and the cake won't rise as well. 
  • The pineapple flavor is mild since it comes only from the pineapple juice in the cake batter and the frosting. If you want an even bigger burst of pineapple flavor, I recommend serving this with a wedge of fresh pineapple to enjoy with bites of cake. It also makes a beautiful presentation.
  • If you want to make this cake in advance, it freezes well unfrosted for up to 2 months. Thaw and frost before serving.

The FULL RECIPE is on my partner Imperial Sugar’s site, so be sure to head over so you can make lovely, light and airy confection ASAP! Each month we collaborate to bring a great recipe to you using their wonderful products, and you can see all of them over on their site!

An image of a slice of tropical sponge cake.

More Cake Recipes You Have to Try!

You can also FOLLOW ME on INSTAGRAMPINTERESTFACEBOOK, and TWITTER for more great recipe tips and ideas!

An image of a pineapple cake.

Be sure to click over to Imperial Sugar's site to get the FULL RECIPE.

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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Reader questions and reviews

  1. Yum! This Pineapple Sponge Cake will be perfect on any occasion! This looks really mouthwatering and so fluffy! i can't wait to serve this for my wife,.

  2. Ever since I started watching the Great British Baking Show, I have wanted to try making a sponge cake. I feel like they make it all the time!!
    Will definitely head over!

  3. I love anything with pineapple, so this sponge cake is right up my alley! The texture looks spot on, I wish I could just have a slice with my cuppa right now!

  4. This has to be one of the lightest cakes I've ever seen! What a heavenly treat and the cream is heavenly! Craving a slice right now!

  5. Oh my husband would go NUTS over this as he LOVES all things pineapple. This is definitely getting saved as I have to make this for him. It looks so luscious and mouthwatering!

  6. This cake is indeed great for so many different occasions. The cake looks amazing and certainly the one I would enjoy a lot. Great tip about not to overmix the batter - very important!

  7. Incredible way to enjoy a sponge cake. The recipe is easy to follow and just how I like it. I really enjoy adding fruits to my sponge cakes - they add so much freshness!