For my mom's birthday, I want to make an angel food cake.

I am against using any type of processed sugar (even cane sugar) but I am okay with fruit so I am looking for a way to substitute sugar with fruit.

The only thing I could come up with was crushed pineapple. I found a recipe for a pineapple angel food cake online but it requires Betty Crocker cake mix, and I am planning to make mine from scratch.

Do you think it would work if I use a basic angel food cake recipe, but add crushed/ pureed pineapple chunks instead of sugar and add more flour so it's not too wet?

Has anyone tried adding crushed pineapple as a sugar substitute?

Also, is a tube pan necessary? Cause I don't own one.

Thank you.

  • Everybody, please note that discussion of health beliefs is off topic here. It does not matter why the OP wants to avoid table sugar but is fine with pineapple, or what are the possible effects of the substitution on their health. I cleaned up the discussion in comments here and on the answers.
    – rumtscho
    Jun 6, 2018 at 17:44
  • Instead of pineapple, you might consider honey (assuming you don't consider what the bees do "processing"). There are recipes available on the web, as well as general advice for substituting honey for sugar when baking (perhaps most importantly, you want to reduce the amount quite a bit).
    – 1006a
    Jun 7, 2018 at 17:38
  • @1006a I was thinking about honey or even maple syrup, the problem is I don't like the way they taste. I was also thinking about mango, but I don't care for the taste either. I already made my pineapple syrup, I will test my new recipe on Saturday. I came up with some ideas for how to make it with pineapple syrup instead of sugar, but I might have to use a yolk or two. Thanks anyway!
    – treehugger
    Jun 7, 2018 at 18:05
  • 1
    I think you could cut out your update and turn it to an answer instead :)
    – Arsak
    Jul 10, 2018 at 9:55
  • Marzipanherz is correct, we are quite the sticklers when it comes to the separation between questions and answers. Problems go into the question, solutions into the answers. When you worked on a solution and returned to tell us about it (thank you for that), it is best that you post it as an answer to your own question. For the site, it means that new readers find the solutions all in one place. For you, it means that you will probably get some additional upvotes (translating into reputation points, which translate into privileges) on that answer, on top of what you got on the question.
    – rumtscho
    Jul 11, 2018 at 14:15

4 Answers 4


Angel food cake gets it's characteristic texture from the egg foam on which it's structure is built. The flour and, to a lesser degree, the sugar stabilize the foam so it's less fragile.

Adding more flour will change the texture of the cake to be more... cakey. That is, not as springy as we expect from an angel food cake. I don't know what the texture of the foam will be without any sugar. I suspect it will be drier.

Pineapple won't be able to replace the function of sugar because it can't be fully Incorporated. In fact, many angel food cake recipe even use powdered sugar as regular sugar is too coarse.

If you are satisfied with the texture changes of no sugar, you can certainly fold in pineapple chunks when the batter is folded together. I would recommend canned to avoid the risk of protease enzymes in fresh pineapple damaging your structure-- egg foam is all protein after all.

I have never tried this but if I were to do this experiment, I would cut out part of the sugar but leave some for the texture. Then I'd place canned pineapple slices on the bottom of the pan and make an angel food pineapple upside down cake.

You do need a tube pan for egg foam cakes like angel food and chiffon because they are mostly air and don't conduct heat well to their interiors. Tube pan are cheap and easy to find at thrift stores. In a pinch I've had success using a regular cake pan with a clean, empty can or canning jar in the middle. Made it tricky to invert the cake at the end but it worked.

  • 2
    I will cook my pineapple then. I already bought a fresh one. Thanks for your advice.
    – treehugger
    Jun 6, 2018 at 14:58

Sugar is not used as a sweetener in cakes, it is a major component which creates the needed texture. As such, it is very difficult to impossible to replace.

In angel food cake, you absolutely cannot replace it. Angel food is a fragile cake without chemical leaveners, and depends on a very well balanced ingredient list. Using a fruit puree instead of the sugar will create a mess. Also, the tube pan is important for angel food cake, unless you are willing to bake very thin separate layers, else the cake won't bake properly.

If you really insist on replacing the sugar, the least risky base would be a pound cake, since it is relatively insensitive to extra moisture. The basic ratio there is 1:1:1:1 of eggs, sugar, flour and butter by weight. If you are extra careful in reducing the moisture of your puree - maybe drying the pineapple in a low oven for several hours after it has been pureed - you will likely end up with something edible. It will be quite far from the original, and it would be better classified as a fruitbread than as a cake, but at least it is likely that it won't bake into a brick or remain a sticky underbaked mess. Other types of cake won't be as forgiving.

  • 12
    @treehugger That's difficult then. The pragmatic way would be to forget the cake idea and work with something entirely different, maybe make cups of fruit floating in jellied fruit juice, or some kind of pie. Designing cake recipes is quite demanding, and if you have such strong restrictions, trying to produce something edible on your own will be a very long and probably frustrating process, especially if you have little knowledge of food technology.
    – rumtscho
    Jun 6, 2018 at 14:52
  • 12
    That's not really an answerable question. First, "healthy" is not really a meaningful qualifier - just because people use it right and left, it doesn't mean that there are medical facts behind it. Second, cakes are made up of mostly fat and sugar, so anything I could suggest wouldn't actually be a cake. There are many non-cake desserts you could make, and some of them could be made without fat and sugar, but I couldn't select a "healthiest" to recommend, just pick something you enjoy.
    – rumtscho
    Jun 6, 2018 at 15:08
  • 4
    @treehugger: There are plenty of simple and robust sponge cake recipes that don't require egg yolks. (Heck, there are vegan sponge cake recipes that don't use any eggs or dairy at all.) You could probably even just take a basic pound cake recipe with whole eggs, simply leave the yolks out and still get something OK-ish. Compared to, say, replacing the sugar with pineapple puree, that's a relatively minor change. But as with any recipe tweaks, don't expect to get it perfect the first time. Jun 6, 2018 at 17:25
  • 2
    When you say "Sugar is not used as a sweetener in cakes", do you mean not only used as a sweetener, or does some chemical reaction or other effect prevent the sugar from sweetening the cake? Jun 6, 2018 at 17:43
  • 9
    @user2357112 I mean that its primary role is not to be a sweetener. The cake does get sweet, but that's a side effect, which is sometimes desirable and sometimes not - the amount of sugar to be used is dictated by the needed texture, and if you try to change it to suit the eater's desired level of sweetness, you end up with a very differ structure, which is not acceptable to many bakers.
    – rumtscho
    Jun 6, 2018 at 17:48

Aside from whether it's a good sugar substitute in other ways, pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain which digests proteins. Be careful how you use it as it may have undesired effects - for example pineapple jellies will not set properly as the bromelain prevents it from doing so.

Since the angel food cake recipes I've seen contain egg whites, there may be some reaction between the protein and the pureed pineapple there. This may be mitigated if the pineapple is cooked first (and I believe canned pineapple is cooked) as I think this denatures the enzyme.

Also seconding what another user said though, sugar is sugar.

  • 1
    First, this doesn't answer the question. Secondly, your comments apply to fresh pineapple.
    – Cindy
    Jun 6, 2018 at 16:25
  • 1
    @Cindy- I consider the presence of bromelain to be an important consideration in an answer. I agree it only applies to fresh and it was already said but I don't think it doesn't answer the question. Jun 6, 2018 at 17:05
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    @Sobachatina I agree with you that it's important. If the actual question had been answered and this information included, I would think it's fine. But I don't think that the actual question has been addressed.
    – Cindy
    Jun 6, 2018 at 17:16

I have managed to bake a cake with no sugar whatsoever, using only baked pineapple, flour, and egg whites. The cake came out very tasty but extremely soggy since either I added too many cups of pineapple or not enough flour (I followed my own recipe).

If someone wants to make a sugar-free pineapple cake, here is my advice:

  1. The pineapple should be extremely sweet and ripe.

  2. I roasted pineapple for 40 minutes prior to baking to get rid of the enzyme that could ruin the egg whites.

  3. If I had to do it over again, I would add a yolk and I would decrease the number of eggs and would put less pineapple to make the dough less runny.

  4. I used parchment paper all over so it didn't burn even though I didn't use a tube pan.

  5. Next time, I would use the following ingredients: 3 egg whites (possibly one egg yolk?), 1 cup of sifted flour, 1/2 cup of sweet baked pineapple and I would get a bigger pan because otherwise, it won't be dry all the way through.


  • 1
    Very cool that you tried this! Using egg yolks would result in a chiffon cake. Not a bad thing. You might look at chiffon cake recipes for inspiration. Decreasing the eggs will not make a better angel food cake. The water in the pineapple could be a problem. I wonder if you could bake the pineapple longer at lower temp to dry it out. Angel food cake recipes usually call for a couple tablespoons of extra water anyway. You should use a tube pan. Seriously. You aren't going to have this work well unless you either use a tube pan or pour it out thinly on a sheet pan which would be interesting. Jul 12, 2018 at 19:14
  • As for pouring it out on a sheet pan - that's what I was thinking because the pan I used was way too small, even though it was quite a large pan. I have tried baking the pineapple longer, but it just turned brown. Thanks for all your suggestions!
    – treehugger
    Jul 13, 2018 at 20:07

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