You could call this a cake of many names. You might know it as Hummingbird Cake or Church Lady Cake or even Chop Suey Cake, but Preacher Cake is a more general term for a simple but delicious cake that uses ingredients you have on hand when you need to make a cake on short notice for company. (Like a visiting preacher, for instance.) It’s a spiced cake full of pineapple and coconut and topped with a velvety cream cheese frosting, and no matter what you want to call it, it’s totally delicious.
A Preacher Cake doesn’t have to be this exact makeup specifically, but it’s always a go-to cake that’s easy to make… something you don’t have to fuss over when you’re trying to get dinner on the table. A sheet cake works well because it’s easy to slice and serve and leaves you with enough to send home with your guests. And this coconut-pineapple combination is always a crowd-pleaser.
It was probably known as ‘Chop Suey Cake’ to some because of the medley of ingredients that go into it – chop suey literally translates to assorted pieces. Hummingbird Cake is a mostly southern tradition (though it has roots in Jamaica) and the batter usually involves banana as well. As for Church Lady Cake, well, we can just assume that this cake made quite a few appearances at church potlucks. In any case, the main takeaway here is that a cake that has this many names is bound to be a good one. (And it really, truly is.)
1 hour to prepare serves 8-10
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 (20-oz) can crushed pineapple, undrained
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup flaked sweetened coconut
- For the frosting:
- 1 (8-oz) package cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
- Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with butter or nonstick spray. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, eggs, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, pineapple (with juice), walnuts, and coconut until thoroughly combined.
- Pour into prepared pan and bake until top is golden brown, 30-35 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool at least 15 minutes.
- While cake is cooling, make the frosting:
- In a medium bowl, beat together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Gradually mix in powdered sugar until totally combined.
- Spread over cooled cake and sprinkle with chopped walnuts. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from A Family Feast.