Taiwanese Pineapple Cakes


Pineapple cakes are one of Taiwan’s most famous desserts, and a popular gift to bring back to the US.  Since they’re not gluten free, we decided to make our own.  The filling turned out well, but the crust was on the crumbly side.  Also, you’re supposed to use special square molds, but we just used a normal muffin tin.

Original recipe


Taiwanese Pineapple Cakes
Adapted from Angel Wong

Yield: 9 pineapple cakes


  • 1 (20 oz) can of crushed pineapple (about 1 1/2 cups of pineapple, drained)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar OR 1/4 cup white sugar + a dollop molasses
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice


  • 8 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1 pinch salt, if using unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup dry, powdered milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cups gluten-free OR cake flour


  1. Drain pineapple, pressing on it gently to remove liquid.  You should end up with about 1 1/2 cups pineapple.
  2. In a saucepan, combine pineapple, sugars, and lemon juice.
  3. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until the juice evaporates.  The filling should resemble jam.
  4. Transfer filling to a wide bowl or plate and let it cool to room temperature.  Then put in fridge to cool further.
  5. Preheat oven to 330ºF.  Grease a muffin tin with butter or cooking spray.
  6. In a bowl, beat the butter until it is smooth and creamy.
  7. Beat in powdered sugar.
  8. Beat in salt, baking powder, powdered milk, and egg.  The mixture will look sort of curdled, but that’s fine.
  9. Add flour and stir in as much as possible.  Then beat it in.  The mixture will be sticky.
  10. Flour a work surface.  Gather the dough into a ball and place on work surface.  You can sprinkle the dough with flour and roll it around until it no longer feels sticky.
  11. Roll the ball into a log and divide it into thirds.
  12. Roll each piece into a log and divide into thirds again.  You will now have 9 pieces.
  13. Take a piece and flatten between your palms to a circle about 4″ in diameter.  It doesn’t have to be exact, and it’s okay if the edges of the dough crack.
  14. Place 1 1/2 tablespoons of filling in a mound in the center of the dough circle.  I leave the dough circle on the palm of one hand, because it’s easier to get it off skin than a work surface.
  15. Gather the edges of the dough circle and pinch them together, completely enclosing the filling.
  16. Roll it into a smooth ball, pinching together any cracks.
  17. Put ball in a well of the muffin tin and press gently to flatten.
  18. Repeat for the other 8 pieces of dough.  You’ll have extra filling, which you can use as jam (or eat straight, as my friend did).
  19. Bake for about 19 minutes if gluten free, 15-17 minutes if not.  The tops of the pineapple cakes will still look pale.
  20. Remove pan from oven.  Put a cutting board over the top of the pan and carefully invert them so the pineapple cakes come out onto the board.  Tap the pan gently if necessary.
  21. Let the pineapple cakes cool until they are only slightly warm to the touch.

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