Pina Colada Cake

It just screams out summer – August Cake of the Month

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, fiber, food, fuel, utensils, and much more. Coconut is highly nutritious and rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Nearly one third of the world’s population depends on coconut to some degree for their food and their economy.

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!

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.

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!

Pina Colada Cake
Serves: 12
  • CAKE:
  • 2-1/4 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup liquid egg white (6 large eggs), at room temperature
  • 2 tsp coconut extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups + 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter (12 Tbsp)
  • 1 can 19oz. crushed pineapple including juice
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 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
  1. 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.
  2. TO MAKE COCONUT SYRUP: 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.
  3. TO MAKE THE CAKE: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour 2-9″ can pans. Add parchment paper circle to the bottom of each and grease that as well. Pour milk, coconut milk, egg whites and extracts into a small bowl and whisk until blended.
  4. In bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and beat on medium until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no flour streaks left.
  5. Add all but 1/2 cup of milk mixture and beat for 1-2 minutes. Add reaming 1/2 cup milk mixture and beat 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl then beat 20 seconds more.
  6. Divide evenly between the two prepared pans, smooth tops before dropping from 3 inches high to remove bubbles. Bake for 25-30 minutes until toothpick inserted in centre comes out with just a few crumbs.
  7. Let cakes rest for a few minutes before running a knife around the outside edge and inverting on to wire racks. Invert again so they are right side up. Let cool completely for about 1-1/2 hours. These can be wrapped and frozen for later assembly if needed.
  8. 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.
  9. TO ASSEMBLE CAKE: Cut each cake layer in half to make 4 layers. Place one layer on a cake plate. Spoon 1/3 Coconut Syrup over layer. Spread 1/3 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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12 Responses to "Pina Colada Cake"

  1. Sharon says:

    Let me preface my questions by saying this cake looks absolutely delicious. Thank you for sharing the recipe with us.

    Now, pardon my ignorance, but I have a couple of questions. 1) What is coconut water? 2) The coconut milk you listed – is this the juice from a fresh coconut?

    Thank you for your help !!


    • publisher says:

      Thanks Sharon for your great comments. First, coconut water is the clear liquid (or water) that comes from the inside of the coconut. It contains 4 electrolytes and potassium making it an excellent source of hydration. It is widely available in grocery stores, usually in the beverage aisle. Coconut milk is the liquid that comes from the grated meat of a coconut. The color and rich taste of the milk can be attributed to the high oil content. It is also widely available in grocery stores, usually in cans, in the Asian food section.

  2. Angie Macias says:

    What is icing sugar? and Light Cream, is that Whipping cream?

    • publisher says:

      Icing sugar is also known as confectioners’ sugar or powdered sugar. Light cream is 5% cream Whole milk will work as well.

  3. Pippi says:

    Does this cook for a total of 1-1/2 hours or an additional 1-1/2 hours after the 25-30 minutes?

  4. pam says:

    My syrup turned almost rock hard. I figure I can reheat it to put on the cake but is it going to have a tough consistency?

  5. Kira says:

    My syrup crystallized too, and I followed the timeframe. One other thing to mention is that I forgot to add the coconut milk because the direction just said ‘milk’. You might make it ‘milks’ or ‘milk + coconut milk’ for those of us that need a little more hand holding on scratch cakes. Super delish even without the coconut milk, thank you!


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