Piña Colada Cake

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Can't get to a tropical beach for an island getaway and a glass of the popular drink made with frozen pineapple, pineapple juice, coconut, cream, and rum?  Then... MAKE THIS CAKE! I already know how good this cake tastes, but boy oh boy, is the picture making me drool as I type and it's bringing back fond memories of taking that first bite this past Sunday (cue the ocean breeze).  However, you are going to probably take one look at the recipe and say, "Nope, not happening."  It is a long recipe that requires serval parts and steps, but I guarantee that It comes together fairly easily.

The filling is a cooked combination of pureed pineapple and rum (the alcohol is cooked out) that is thickened with cornstarch.  It can be made up to a day ahead (easy prep work).  The cake itself is a simple yellow cake that is made in a rather unconventional way.  Instead of creaming the butter and sugar first, the butter, sugar, and flour are blended together before adding the wet ingredients.  The frosting is a traditional confectioners' sugar buttercream flavored with a little more coconut.  The assembled cake is garnished with toasted coconut and thin slices of pineapple (that I did dry on paper towels so they would slide around on the top of the cake and make the frosting wet).

I just have one warning before you read the recipe.  There is a copious amount of butter in the cake and the frosting!  But, you are only eating a sliver or a slice (ok maybe two).  Just try not to think about it, don't tell you guests, and wait to feel the island breeze when you take that first bite.

Now, if upon reading the recipe and you still don't want to tackle it, here are some other tasty sweets for your Cinco de Mayo Fiesta!

Printable Recipe

Piña Colada Cake
serves 10-12

For the Filling
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 pineapple, peeled, cored, quartered lengthwise, and divided
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 spiced rum
Pinch of Kosher salt
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

For the Yellow Cake
4 extra large eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup canned coconut milk (you can use lite) at room temperature
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
2 cups (8-ounces) cake flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
16 Tablespoons (2 pounds), unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces and softened

For the Frosting
18 Tablespoons (10-ounces) unsalted butter, softened
3 Tablespoons canned coconut milk (you can use lite)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
Pinch of Kosher salt
2 1/4 cups (9-ounces) confectioners' sugar
1 cup (s-ounces) sweetened shredded coconut, toasted

For the Filling
Coarsely chop two of the pineapple quarters, then pulse in the food processor until finely ground, 8-10 pulses (you should have 1 1/2 cups).  Transfer ground pineapple to a medium saucepan and add cornstarch, granulated sugar, rum, and a pinch of Kosher salt.  Bring to a boil over medium-heat and cook until thickened, about 4 minutes,  Off heat, stir in 2 tablespoons of butter until incorporated.  Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

For the Yellow Cake
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 350º.  Line three 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and spray with non-stick baking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut milk, vanilla and coconut extract; set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt on low speed until combined.  Add butter is small additions and mix until pea-size pieces form, about 1-2 minutes.

Add half of the egg mixture, increase the speed to medium-high, and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.  Reduce the speed to low and add the remaining egg mixture.  Beat on medium-high until fully combined, about 1-2 minutes.  Give the batter a final stir by hand.  Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and smooth the tops.  Bake until the tops are light and golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 20-22 minutes.  Let cakes cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Remove cake from pans and allow to cool completely on wire racks.

For the Frosting
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip 18 tablespoons of butter, coconut milk, vanilla extract, coconut extract, and a pinch of kosher salt on medium-low speed until combined.  Slowly add the confectioners' sugar and continue to whip until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Increase the speed to medium-high and whip until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Slice one of the remaining pineapple quarters 1/8-inch thick slices and pat dry on paper towels. (Remaining pineapple quarter is a cook's treat to eat.)

To Assemble
Place 1 cake round on a cake round pedestal, laying several small pieces of parchment under the cake to keep the frosting of the pedestal.  Spread a generous 1/2 cup of filling over the cake.  Top with another cake round, another generous 1/2 cup of filling.  Top with the remaining cake layer (remaining filling can be serve on the side or on top of ice cream).  Spread the frosting over the top and sides of cake.  Gently press coconut onto side of cake and fan pineapple slice in a circle around the top edge of the cake.  Enjoy!

Source: Adapted from Cook's Country, June/July 2013


  1. Now that is my kind of cake. The crumb of the cake looks very moist and tender. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I am so happy to share the recipe 😊 and yes, it is one of the moistest cakes I have tasted!


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