This Millionaire’s Cake recipe is layered with tropical flavor from the pineapple, and is fluffy and moist. Topped with creamy Cool Whip, this millionaire cake recipe is a refreshing summer treat. The ingredients are simple, it doesn’t take long to make, and one cake can feed a crowd!
Millionaire’s cake doesn’t always mean gooey caramel sponge cake or a shortbread base. (We do have a Millionaire’s shortbread and some people make a cake version.) The term millionaire’s in desserts and dips really refers to the layers and how decadent it is. So our light version is the best combination in the warmer months, and is full of tropical flavor. It’s almost as easy as our banana split dump cake recipe!
If you are a layer cake person, you have to try my Chantilly cake, funfetti cake, and pineapple coconut cake. All of these are easy to make and are real crowd pleasers. For those who want something a little more decadent, then try my better than sex cake. It’s definitely the true definition when it comes to millionaires recipes.
- Jiffy yellow cake mix – or use half a package of standard yellow cake mix. I find Jiffy cake mix on Amazon, but you might be able to find it in your local grocery store. It comes in handy as it makes a smaller cake than a standard cake mix. In order to fit all of the layers into our 9×13 pan, and for the different flavors to balance correctly, a smaller cake is necessary.
- large egg – let it sit at room temperature to incorporate into the batter evenly.
- oil – we used vegetable oil, but you can also use canola. These are great for baking because they are neutral and don’t overpower the other flavors. Coconut oil could work in this recipe as well, but you will get some of the coconut flavor.
- water – you’ll want it to be cold.
- instant vanilla pudding mix – can use sugar free if needed.
- milk – we used whole milk, but any fat content will work, just bring to room temperature.
- cream cheese – soften at room temperature so it mixes nicely with the pudding.
- crushed pineapple – drain the pineapple well. We don’t want the cake layers getting soggy.
- Cool Whip – allow it to thaw completely before using.
- shredded coconut and Maraschino cherries for garnish.
For a full list of ingredients and their measurements, 📋 please view my printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Garnish this tropical cake with cherries, sprinkle the top with coconut, or add chopped walnuts or pecans.
Substitutions and Variations
- More pineapple flavor – use pineapple pudding mix or pineapple extract in the cake batter.
- Standard yellow cake mix – prepare cake batter according to the box instructions and only add half of the batter to a 9×13 pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Use the remaining half of the batter for cupcakes or one layer in an 8-inch or 9 inch pan (round). Cool on a wire rack, then frost with your favorite icing.
- Other fruits – experiment by replacing the pineapple with peaches, mandarin oranges, or even apricots for another fun spin.
- Homemade whipped cream – if desired, use heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar to make whipped cream from scratch and use in place of Cool Whip. Beat the heavy cream for several minutes until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar, and continue mixing until stiff peaks form, then spread on top.
PREP: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, or according to the cake mix instructions.
Step 1: In a large bowl, mix the cake mix, egg, water, and oil for 2-3 minutes at high speed using a hand or stand mixer.
Step 2: Pour the batter into the greased cake pan and bake for 15 minutes.
Step 3: Let the cake cool completely.
Step 4: Mix the dry pudding mix and milk together in a bowl.
Pro Tip: Cut the cream cheese into cubes to help it soften and so it mixes easier.
Step 5: Add the softened cream cheese. Beat into the pudding mixture on low speed for 1-2 minutes until it’s thick and smooth.
Step 6: Spread the pudding mixture over top of the cooled cake.
Step 7: Add the drained crushed pineapple over top in an even layer.
Step 8: Use a spatula to spread the Cool Whip on top of the pineapple so it goes to the edge of the cake.
Top with shredded coconut (toasted or un-toasted) and maraschino cherries. Slice into 15 squares and serve. If desired, top with chopped nuts for added crunch.
- Do not use cold milk when mixing the pudding. It will cause the cream cheese pieces to harden and it will be lumpy. If there are lumps, allow the mixture to warm up, then mix again until smooth.
- If needed, squeeze the excess juice from the pineapple using your hands or through a sieve so the cake doesn’t get soggy.
- For a thicker layer of Cool Whip, use 12 oz. (1 ½ containers); 8 ounces of whipped topped will lightly cover the top.
- Toast the coconut by spreading it on a baking sheet. Bake for 3-5 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove immediately and transfer it to a plate so it doesn’t burn.
The infamous millionaires shortbread recipe originated in Scotland and was coined the name because it was so rich. Since then, many different versions have been created.
Cover with plastic wrap or place in an airtight container for up to 1 week. To freeze, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and freeze for 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator prior to serving.
If you tried this Millionaire’s Cake Recipe or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you liked it in the 📝 comments below.
- 1 – 9 oz. package Jiffy yellow cake mix (or half of a package of standard yellow cake mix
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ cup cold water
- 3.4 oz. package vanilla instant pudding mix
- 2 cold milk any fat content is fine, we use whole milk, room temperature
- 8 oz. cream cheese softened
- 20 oz. can crushed pineapple drained well
- 8 oz. container of Cool Whip or frozen whipped topping thawed
- ½ -1 cup shredded coconut toasted or untoasted, for garnish
- Marschino cherries for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350°F or as directed on cake mix package instructions.
- Beat together cake mix, egg, oil, and water for 2-3 minutes on high speed with a standing or hand mixer.
- Spread the cake batter into a greased 9×13 glass baking dish and bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Allow cake to cool completely (approximately 45 minutes).
- Meanwhile, combine vanilla pudding mix and milk in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the softened cream cheese (cutting it into pieces will help it soften more thoroughly and mix evenly) to the pudding and beat with a hand mixer for 1-2 minutes until smooth and thickened.
- Spread pudding mixture over the cooled cake.
- Top with the crushed pineapple (drained).
- Spread Cool Whip over the top of the pineapple layer.
- Garnish with shredded coconut and maraschino cherries, if desired.
- Slice into 15 pieces and serve.