Pina Colada Cake

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Take a trip to the islands with this Pina Colada Cake!

I love coconut. It makes me think of warm weather holidays to exotic islands. Tropical breezes… summer at its best.

I’ve been a bit obsessed with coconut lately. Did you know every bit of the coconut can be used. As a result, coconuts are called the “Tree of Life” and can produce drink, fibre, food, fuel, utensils, and much more. Coconut is highly nutritious and rich in fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Nearly one third of the world’s population depends on coconut to some degree for their food and their economy.

Pina-Colada-Cake_3 This cake uses quite a few parts of the coconut – water, milk and flakes from the flesh. Beside from being delicious, it is a real show-stopper!

Pina-Colada-Cake_1 I will admit, this cake has a lot of steps. BUT each one is really easy and most can be done in less than 5 minutes and stored days in advance of assembly.

Pina-Colada-Cake_2 What a great cake to serve at a shower, Easter or even as a wedding cake. Looking for a great way warm up a winter party? This “big snowball” is the answer. I guess we just need to have Pina Colada Cake all year ’round… enjoy!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Pina Colada Cake
Serves: 12
  • CAKE:
  • 2-2/3 all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter (softened) OR ½ cup + 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1-2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp coconut extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 can 19oz. crushed pineapple including juice
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup coconut water
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3-1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 4-5 Tbsp light cream
  • 2 tsp coconut extract
TO MAKE PINEAPPLE FILLING: In a saucepan, combine pineapple with juice, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice. Cook, stirring constantly over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Simmer, stirring, 3 minutes. Cool completely. Can be made days in advance and stored in refrigerator.
TO MAKE COCONUT SYRUP: (optional) Combine sugar and coconut water in a small saucepan and bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil without stirring for about 5 minutes. Let cool. Can be made days in advance and stored in refrigerator.
TO MAKE THE CAKE: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour 2-8" cake pans. Add parchment paper circle to the bottom of each and grease that as well.
  1. Whisk flour with baking powder and salt in a small bowl.
  2. Mix 2% milk and coconut milk together in a small bowl.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter (or canola oil) and sugar with a mixer on medium until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping down sides of bowl. Add in vanilla and coconut extracts.
  4. Gradually beat in dry ingredients, alternating with milk mixture, in 3 additions. Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake until tester comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack to cook completely.These layers can be wrapped and frozen for later assembly if needed.
TO MAKE BUTTERCREAM: In a large mixer bowl, beat butter and half of icing sugar until light and creamy. Add cream and coconut extract. Gradually add remaining sugar, beating until smooth. Add enough cream to make it a soft spreading consistency.
TO ASSEMBLE CAKE: Cut each cake layer in half to make 4 layers. Place one layer on a cake plate. Spoon ⅓ Coconut Syrup (if using) over layer. Spread ⅓ Pineapple Filling on top. Top with another cake layer and repeat until 4th layer is the top. Frost top and sides with Coconut Buttercream. Cover with up to 3 cups sweetened flaked coconut by pressing handfuls of coconut into the buttercream with your hands. Chill until serving. Bring up to room temperature when serving.
In my photo you will notice, I left out the middle layer of pineapple and spread with Coconut Buttercream instead. This is good, but all three layers of pineapple is even better!


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  1. Rachael says

    We made this for my daughter’s birthday and it was divine. It tastes just like a pina colada!! Thank you for the recipe.

  2. Laya says

    I made this cake n it was jus out of d world!!!!! Everyone at home jus loveddddddd the cake!!!!!! Thank u sooo much! Lookin des to trying out more recipes from ur blog!!!! Kp posting amazin ones. Thank u n God bless

  3. Elizabeth says

    I made this cake over the summer and it was just DIVINE! It’s now a few weeks before Thanksgiving and I am going to make it again for a girls dinner. To make the cake more festive, I’m considering replacing the ” pineapple” with a “raspberry” layer! I’m torn however – Should i make the same sugar concoction with fresh raspberries and perhaps try to strain the seeds? I fear the cake may not be as moist if I simply use a seedless raspberry jam. Then again, I would still do the coconut syrup layer and that definitely contributes to the moisture I’m sure. Any thoughts?

    • says

      This sounds interesting Elizabeth. You definitely will need something to replace the syrup and pineapple layer that can contribute to the overall moisture of the final cake. You can use the strained raspberry juice with some sugar as the syrup, but I am not sure about a layer of raspberries. They may be too mushy.

      • Elizabeth says

        Very good points! Hmmmm… I can’t decide how brave I feel! But I will let you know how this goes! Sometimes it’s just best to leave well enough alone. Then again, if I can create 2 wonderful cakes from one recipe, that’s a win win! Stay tuned . . . 🙂

  4. Louise says

    Made this for Mothers Day and it was delicious. Everyone loved it. Keeping with the trend of the day I made a “naked” cake – filling on two layers, icing in the middle and on top, side of cake not iced, coconut flakes on the top only. Not only was it moist, flavourful and not too sweet, it was beautiful to boot! My family deemed it another keeper! Thank you for this gorgeous recipe!!
    For the next time my 22 year old son asked for the addition of coconut rum in the filling – an idea worth trying.

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