“If you like pina coladas…and getting caught in the rain…”
This song can only mean one thing. Yep, time for a Pina Colada cake! My ideal summer would be spent sitting on a patio in the warm sunshine sipping on a frosty rum-filled pina colada, tropical beach umbrella optional. And this summer drink-inspired Pina Colada cake is bursting full of that refreshing flavor.
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What Is A Pina Colada Cake Made Of?
Smooth and fluffy coconut cake layers made with real coconut milk paired with a sweet pineapple filling make up the base flavors of this delicious pina colada cake. Each cake layer is brushed with a dreamy rum and coconut milk soak that screams summer. And last, but certainly not least, the whole cake is covered in a dreamy whipped coconut buttercream frosting. It’s everything pina colada and everything delicious!
How To Make A Coconut Cake
This cake recipe produces the moistest, tender, velvety coconut cake crumb. The trick to achieving a scrumptious coconut cake is to use full-fat canned coconut milk. Not coconut water, not coconut milk in a carton, and not low-fat canned coconut milk. Full-fat here folks.
Using my go-to vanilla cake recipe, I swapped out the regular milk for canned coconut milk and added a teaspoon of coconut extract. The coconut extract, while not necessary, really makes the flavor pop.
I baked this cake in four 6-inch round cake layers but it can easily be made into 2 dozen cupcakes or two 8 or 9-inch rounds as well. The baking times will adjust though so keep an eye on them.
Rum And Coconut Milk Soak
No one likes waste and everyone likes rum so why not tackle both convictions at once. Using the remaining canned coconut milk and ¼ cup of rum, I brushed each cooled and leveled cake layer with a healthy splash and allowed it to soak in for a few minutes before stacking the cake layers. Malibu or some kind of pineapple liqueur would also be phenomenal in it. Alcohol-free? No sweat, you can easily skip the booze.
How To Make Pineapple Filling
Pina colada cake would not be complete without a burst of summery fresh pineapple filling. It’s super easy to make as well. Using a cup of crushed pineapple, combine it with the sugar, cornstarch, and salt and cook over medium heat until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. The whole process should only take approximately 5-7 minutes.
Once the pineapple filling thickens, remove it from the heat and stir in the butter until it is fully melted. Pour the filling into a shallow dish or bowl and directly cover the surface with plastic wrap. Let the filling cool for 3 hours or even overnight.
Best Pina Colada Cake From Scratch
This pina colada cake is truly a slice of summer drink-inspired delight. Soft fluffy coconut cake layers brushed with a hint of rum, filled with a fresh pineapple filling, and covered in a sweet coconut buttercream frosting. Each slice is a summer celebration and bursting with pina colada flavor. You’ll be patio-sitting and pina colada-sipping (or should I say snacking) in no time!
Looking for some other fresh summer treats? Check these ones out:
1 tbsp. dairy-free salted butter, room temperature
1 cup dairy-free salted butter, room temperature
1 cup all-vegetable shortening
6 cups icing sugar
1 tbsp. rum **
2 tsp. coconut extract
1 tsp. fine sea salt
unsweetened shredded coconut, medium
dried pineapple chunks
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray and parchment line four 6-inch round cake pans.
In a small mixing bowl whisk together the coconut milk, vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla extract, and coconut extract. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer and with the flat beater attachment, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and give it a quick mix together for approximately 1 minute.
In small pieces, slowly add the butter into the dry ingredients and mix on low until it looks like coarse sand.
Slowly pour in approximately half of the liquid mixture and mix on low for 2 minutes.
Pour the remaining liquid mixture in and mix on medium for another 2 minutes. Scrap the sides of the bowl when necessary.
Divide the cake batter into the four prepared cake pans and bake for approximately 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs.
Allow the cake layers to cool for 10 minutes and then invert them on a cooling rack to fully cool.
Rum Cake Soak
In a small bowl combine the remaining canned coconut milk and rum.
With a pastry brush or spoon, brush or drizzle a little bit of the soak onto each cooled and leveled cake layer. ***
In a small pot over medium heat combine the crushed pineapple, sugar, cornstarch, and salt and mix until fully combined.
Continue to stir the mixture of medium heat until it thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. This should take approximately 5-7 minutes.
Remove the pineapple filling from the heat and mix in the butter until fully melted and smooth.
Pour the filling into a shallow bowl or dish and directly cover the surface with plastic wrap.
Allow to fully cool in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight before using.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment cream the butter and shortening on high speed until light and fluffy. Approximately 10 minutes.
Add the icing sugar, rum, coconut extract, and salt and mix on low until combined.
Turn the mixer up to high and let mix for 5 minutes until smooth and creamy. Scrape the sides of the bowl when necessary.
Level each fully cooled coconut cake layer with a cake leveler or knife.
Brush or drizzle on the rum soak on top of each leveled cake layer.
Place one leveled layer of cake on a cake board, plate, and/or cake turntable and top with approximately 1 cup of coconut buttercream.
Pipe a buttercream border around the edge and fill with approximately ¼ cup of the pineapple filling.
Repeat with the remaining layers and apply a thin coat of buttercream all over the cake. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Cover the cake with another layer of coconut buttercream and smooth the sides with a cake smoother.
Decorate the cake as you please. I covered the entire cake with shredded coconut. Using the palm of my hand, I scooped up the shredded coconut and very gently pressed it up against the sides and top of the cake. With a Wilton 1m piping tip, I piped swirls around the top border and placed a dried pineapple chunk on each swirl. Enjoy!