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Piña Colada Cake

March 24, 2011

I don’t know about you, but I need a vacation. I need to be laying on a beach someplace warm and tropical, listening to ocean waves crashing on the shore and working on my golden bronze tan with not a care on my mind.

I don’t know about you, but that’s not gonna happen for me anytime soon. Let’s face it – I’ve never ever been golden bronze tan in my life.

Pina Colada Cake

So I decided to take my taste buds on a vacation instead. Did you know it’s pineapple season? Fresh pineapples are available in stores year round but peak growing season is March – July. Which is why I’ve bought and consumed 2 whole fresh pineapples in less than a week. They’re so sweet and delicious I can’t stop myself!

Nothing tastes more tropical to me than the combination of pineapple and coconut, like in the classic piña colada drink. Since it’s still on the chilly side here, I opted to go with the slightly warmer option of piña colada cake. This piña colada cake is a moist, coconut flavored yellow cake with bits of fresh juicy pineapple throughout, all topped with a coconut and pineapple glaze and toasted coconut.

It’s a vacation for your tongue. For the few moments it takes you to eat a slice, you’ll feel like you’ve been whisked away to a tropical island.

Pina Colada Cake

Piña Colada Cake

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Serves 8-12

Note: Cream of coconut is NOT the same coconut water or coconut milk. I used Coco Lopez cream of coconut for this recipe. It’s often found where you would buy cocktail mixers or in the ethnic foods aisle.

Cake Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoon coconut rum or dark rum
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup cream of coconut, such as Coco Lopez
heaping 1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) finely chopped fresh pineapple

Glaze Ingredients

1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 to 3 tablespoons pineapple juice
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut, toasted*


* To toast coconut, spread shredded coconut in an even layer on a cookie sheet and bake at 300F, stirring every few minutes, for 10-15 minutes or until coconut is golden brown. Don’t walk away from the oven! The coconut will brown very quickly, so keep an eye on it. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan, or spray with baking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, then add rum and vanilla. Add cream of coconut and beat. (Batter may look curdled – it’s OK.) On low speed, add half of the dry ingredients at a time, mixing and scraping down bowl between each addition, until just combined. Fold in fresh pineapple with a spatula.

Spread batter (it will be thick) into prepared pan and bake at 350°F for 35-40 minutes, until the center springs back when touched and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert cake onto rack and cool to room temperature.

Once cool, combine powdered sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons of pineapple juice, coconut and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Stir until a thick (spreadable but not runny) glaze forms. If too thick, add up to another 1 1/2 tablespoons of pineapple juice. Pour glaze over cake, nudging it to the edges with a spatula. Sprinkle toasted coconut on top. Store tightly covered at room temperature.

  1. March 24, 2011 5:49 pm

    This looks amazing! I LOVE pineapple and ESPECIALLY LOVE toasted coconut! Yum!

  2. cococola88 permalink
    March 24, 2011 6:24 pm

    Sounds and looks delish!

  3. March 24, 2011 6:53 pm

    Pineapple and coconut…the best tropical pairings ever! Yum!

  4. March 24, 2011 9:04 pm

    Love this! Your photos are beautiful! After reading your tweets about buying/eating pineapple, I bought one myself when I went grocery shopping–I always forget how much I love pineapple until I eat it again.

  5. March 25, 2011 3:51 am

    It seems as if I would have smelt nice taste.:)

  6. March 25, 2011 8:34 am

    Oh lord this cake look so moist and delicious! I definitely want a piece right now!

  7. March 25, 2011 12:18 pm

    Yum! This cake looks delicious!

  8. Constance permalink
    March 25, 2011 3:03 pm

    If I wanted to make this a double layer cake what frosting would you use?

  9. March 26, 2011 9:46 pm

    Omg, this is like my dream cake. Must make!

  10. March 30, 2011 10:01 pm

    I don’t have a cake pan, can you just mail me like half a cake? Thanks, yum!

  11. March 31, 2011 10:41 am

    That is one gorgeous cake!

  12. March 31, 2011 10:43 am

    This recipe just looks wonderful. Great photos too.

  13. April 6, 2011 6:36 pm

    i could use some sun and a tropical island too! i usually make a pina colada to take me away but pina colada cake sounds even better! thanks for sharing can’t wait to whip up some cake and pretend I’m laying on some warm sand :)

  14. April 8, 2011 5:13 pm

    A wonderful spring cake!

  15. Brigitte permalink
    April 20, 2011 9:35 am

    I might be a month late, but I had to say it. You can’t imagine how happy I am to find this recipe. My friend asked me for Pirates of the Carribeans cake for her birthday, and I was just about to give up on finding a recipe using rum and coconut when I stumbled on your blog by chance. ^^ Thanks for the recipe. It looks very nice. Now let’s just hope the frosting I’ll be making instead of the glaze won’t overpower the whole thing. Thanks again. :)

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