Do Nothing Cake

My Mom always had some favorite “go-to” recipes that found themselves on the table at many family get-togethers or community events. She concentrated on foods that were easily transported, pleased a variety of palates, were budget friendly, and were not labor intensive.

When called upon to provide a dessert, this cake was at the top of her list.  My Mom made this a gazillion times (ok, a LOT…) for many different occasions throughout the 60s and 70s.  I would hang out with her at our yellow vinyl and chrome kitchen table set not necessarily paying much attention to the creation of the cake but counting down the minutes until I could scrape the bowl and lick the spoon.  Mom would always intentionally leave some batter in the bowl rather than meticulously scrape it all into the baking pan “just because” I was “such a good helper”.

Although this cake was taken to many events, there is one that stands out in my 58 year old mind as if it were yesterday. Mom was a member of the local hosey’s (volunteer fire company) Ladies’ Auxiliary (back in the era when women could join the auxiliary of the organization and provide “support” and building and equipment fundraising help, but not be a member of the Fire Company itself…).

The auxiliary met monthly at the hosey to discuss business (and keep up to date on neighborhood events and “happenings”) and each month it was the responsibility of that month’s “refreshment committee” to serve coffee and snacks at the official close of the meeting. I would often go with my Mom to the meeting and sit quietly at the bar doing homework or snacking on a piece of hot bologna, a 5 cent bag of Marsden’s potato chips, and a Coca Cola served in one of those little green glass bottles.

When the meeting was over and refreshment time rolled around, I proudly took my place next to Mom at one of the long banquet tables while seated on a gunmetal gray folding chair that had the initials of the hosey stenciled on the rear of the backrest and told the ladies in attendance how “I helped bake the cake” Mom was serving. God love them; they smiled and nodded and made happy noises…and made my day. Of course, my chosen cake that evening out of the couple contributions available was always this one! Oh, Mom – how I miss my “baking buddy” and wish I could get you back, if even just for one minute.

This cake is very moist and makes an elegant treat for dinner guests, your family, or a potluck.  Make sure to poke plenty of holes in the cake top so the topping flows into the cake nicely. If transporting it, bake it in a disposable foil pan to safe the work of having to retrieve your cake pan later.

Do Nothing Cake

Recipe by A Coalcracker in the KitchenCourse: DessertsCuisine: Coal RegionDifficulty: Easy




  • 2 cups all purpose flour

  • 2 cups white sugar

  • 2 whole eggs, beaten

  • 1 – 20 ounce crushed pineapple, un-drained

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • Topping
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) margarine or butter

  • 1 cup white sugar

  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk (NOT sweetened condensed)

  • 1 cup shredded coconut

  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts


  • Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
  • Lightly grease a 13 x 9 inch baking pan.
  • Mix all cake ingredients in large bowl until just combined.
  • Pour into prepared pan and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until cake just tests done (do not over-bake).
  • Meanwhile make topping: In a sauce pan, place margarine or butter, sugar, and evaporated milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until it bubbles, then cook 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in the coconut and nuts until blended.
  • Poke multiple holes across entire top of cake with skewer or a long-tine fork.
  • Pour the warm topping over the still warm cake (the topping will ooze down through the holes you made.)  Spread the topping to cover the entire top of cake.


  • May be served slightly warm or completely cooled.