Pina Colada Layer Cake

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This Pina Colada Layer Cake has moist layers of coconut cake, homemade pineapple filling and coconut frosting! Topped with toasted coconut, cherries and pineapple for a tropical treat that screams spring!

Pina Colada Layer CakePina Colada Layer Cake recipe

Pina Colada Layer Cake

So I’ve been in Chicago for a few days now and tonight I’m spending a night at the Hard Rock Hotel. They have actual record players in the rooms with quite a few old school records and I’m digging it. They must be new because not a single one was open. I’m not going to lie, I was pretty pumped.

As soon as I got back to my room after dinner, I grabbed the only record I was interested in – Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. I mean, naturally.

But having never used a record player before – ever – I was totally afraid to mess it up. How awful would it be if the first person to ever use this new record scratched it?! Ugh, I couldn’t. After a few missed tries, I got it. It pretty much plays itself, which is good.

So here I am, jammin’ out to “Billie Jean”, snacking on some of my favorite Walkers Shortbread (love those travel sized packs) and getting some work done. What a way to roll. 😉

Best Pina Colada Layer CakeEasy Pina Colada Layer Cake

Did you know that today is the official first day of spring?! Not sure I’ve ever been more excited for spring and I don’t know why. I’m pretty sure it means I’m vitamin D deficient, lol. Time to get out in the sun!

So let’s celebrate with this Pina Colada Layer Cake! It’s so spring-y!

How to Make Pina Colada Layer Cake

The cake starts with three layers of light and fluffy coconut cake. The first step is the creaming of the butter and sugar and it’s a must! You want to actually be able to see that the mixture has lightened in color and is fluffy as opposed to smooth. If you’re cake shrinks after baking or ends up dense, it’s quite possible the creaming wasn’t sufficient.

The next component – and one of my favorite parts – is the pineapple filling. It’s much like a homemade pineapple jam, but not quite as thick and jam-y. It certainly thickens up enough when cold, but jam tends to be even firmer. I love the fresh pineapple flavor and the little chunks from the crushed pineapple. It’s delicious and so easy to make. You make it right on the stove and it thickens up with the help of cornstarch and some boiling. Once it cools, it’s ready for the cake.

The frosting is flavored with coconut, like the cake. You’ll want to pay attention to the consistency of the frosting and not have it get too thin/soft. Since you’ll need to pipe a dam around the cake layers to hold the pineapple filling in, you’ll want the frosting to stay put and not slide around or your cake won’t stand the test of time. Firmer frosting will help with that.

The cake is decorated with some toasted coconut, a little pineapple and few cherries. What pina colada is complete without a cherry? Perfection!

The soft, moist coconut cake is perfect with the pineapple filling. The filling adds moisture to the cake around it and everything is just perfect together. I’m a big, big fan – I hope you are too!

Pina Colada Layer Cake decoratedPina Colada Cake


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Recipe

Pina Colada Layer Cake

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 12-14 Slices 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Pina Colada Layer Cake has moist layers of coconut cake, homemade pineapple filling and coconut frosting! Topped with toasted coconut, cherries and pineapple for a tropical treat that screams spring!


Scale

Ingredients

PINEAPPLE FILLING

  • 2/3 cup (138g) sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 16 oz crushed pineapple, with juice
  • 2/3 cup (160ml) water
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

COCONUT CAKE LAYERS

  • 3/4 cup (168g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (310g) sugar
  • 3/4 cup (173g) sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp coconut extract
  • 6 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups (325g) all purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (180ml) milk, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) water, room temperature

COCONUT FROSTING AND DECOR

  • 1 1/4 cup (280g) butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups (237g) shortening
  • 10 cups (1150g) powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coconut extract
  • 67 tbsp (90-105ml) water or milk
  • 2 cups (153g) sweetened coconut flakes
  • Cherries
  • Sliced pineapple

Instructions

TO MAKE THE PINEAPPLE FILLING:

1. Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a large saucepan.
2. Stir in the pineapple, including the juice, and the water.
3. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring regularly until mixture thickens and come to a boil, about 10 minutes.
4. Allow to boil for 1 1/2 minutes, then remove from heat.
5. Stir in vanilla extract and set aside to cool.

TO MAKE THE CAKE LAYERS:

6. Prepare three 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper circles in the bottom and grease the sides. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C).
7. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light in color and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Do not skimp on the creaming time.
8. Add sour cream and coconut extract and mix until well combined.
9. Add egg whites in two batches, mixing until well combined after each. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
10. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then combine the milk and water in a small measuring cup.
11. Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until well combined. Add the milk mixture and mix until well combined. Add remaining dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
12. Divide the batter evenly between the cakes pans and bake for about 21-23 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.
13. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool for about 2-3 minutes, then remove to cooling racks to cool completely.

TO MAKE THE BUTTERCREAM:

14. In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter and shortening together until smooth.
15. Slowly add half of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
16. Add the coconut extract and 5-6 tablespoons of water or milk and mix until smooth.
17. Slowly add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Add additional water or milk, as needed.

TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE:

18. To toast the coconut, preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C). Spread the coconut out evenly over a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake until toasted, about 5-8 minutes, tossing regularly so that it toasts evenly.
19. To put the cake together, use a large serrated knife to remove the domes from the top of the cakes so that they’re flat. Place the first cake on a serving plate or a cardboard cake round.
20. Pipe a dam of coconut frosting around the edge of the cake, then spread about 1 cup of pineapple filling evenly into the center.
21. Add the second layer of cake and another dam of coconut frosting and cup of pineapple filling. You may end up with a little bit of pineapple filling left over.
22. Top the cake with the remaining layer and frost the outside of the cake. Refer to my tutorial on how to frost a smooth cake with buttercream, if needed, or watch the video above.
23. Press the toasted coconut into the sides of the cake.
24. Use the remaining buttercream to pipe swirls around the top of the cake. I used Ateco tip 808.
25. Top the swirls with cherries and add some sliced pineapple, if desired.


Keywords: pina colada cake, pineapple coconut cake, coconut cake recipe, pineapple cake, pineapple cake with coconut, pineapple cake recipe, best coconut cake recipe, fruit cake recipe,

Enjoy!

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Recipe rating

56 Comments
    1. Lindsay

      I’m not sure about that kind of heat. The half butter, half shortening buttercream does decently well in heat. You could also try using all shortening to be sure at that kind of temperature. You’d probably want to test it.

  1. Mercedes Alvarado

    My mouth is watering! I’ve been searching for a Pina Colada cake recipe!! Is it possible to use vanilla yogurt instead of sour cream ? Just curious. Thank you!!!!

    1. Lindsay

      I haven’t tried it to say for sure. It would likely bake fine, just not sure if the flavor would be as strong or if the different fat content of the milk would make a difference in how moist the cake it.

  2. Michelle

    Looks wonderful!! My partner loves pineapple so I’m thinking about making this. Just wondering if a different type of frosting might work also? Something without coconut flakes and a bit less sugar.

    1. Lindsay

      Sure. You can leave out some of the powdered sugar if you prefer and you certainly don’t have to use the toasted coconut. It’s just pressed onto the outside, so easy to leave off.

  3. Melissa Wheatley

    I just have to comment on this cake. It is amazing. I wish I could eat the whole cake with no consequences, but I cannot. 3 of us have already eaten half of the cake, and I made it yesterday. I’ve never had coconut cake before, but I know I will never make it any other way. I’m already planning on making this again for our Easter dinner to share with more family and friends!

  4. Respectlife

    Hi Lindsay,
    I just love your website and recipes. Your desserts are just fabulous!
    I can bake, but I can NOT decorate! LOL When you put the nuts on the sides (or other decorations) do you use gloves? When I have tried with my hands, I seem to pull the frosting off and make a mess! I’ve tried using a spoon, spatula and even THROWING the nuts at the cake! What is the best way to apply to the sides? Thank you and God Bless!

    1. Lindsay

      Are you able to see the video just above the recipe? It shows how I add the coconut to the sides. I don’t wear gloves. 🙂

  5. Alison

    This looks lovely Lindsay! It’s making my mouth water first thing in the morning! 🙂 I can’t wait to try this one!

Lindsay
About Lindsay

I'm a wife and mom to twin boys, a baby girl and a sweet black lab with a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the sugar!

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“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12