3/4cupunsalted butter, softened OR 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp canola oil
1can 19oz. crushed pineapple including juice
1cupunsalted butter, at room temperature
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.
Whisk flour with baking powder and salt in a small bowl.
Mix 2% milk and coconut milk together in a small bowl.
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.
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 1/3 Coconut Syrup (if using) 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!