The Best Piña Colada Cake for Summer
Piña Colada Cake – coconut cream cake, pineapple curd and coconut buttercream.
Happy Monday, friends! Excited to start the week with the perfect cake to get us ready for summer!
Piña Colada Cake
A Piña Colada Cake has been on my list to make for the last couple years, but like my Tres Leches Cake, it’s just not one that I’ve had the chance to try until now. And we can thank my Hummingbird Cake for the prompt!
After making the pineapple curd in that one, the curd was a match made in foodie Heaven for my Coconut Cream Cake to create a piña colada flavored cake.
I made a few revisions to my Coconut Cake recipe and wanted to give you some notes about ingredients.
First up, let’s talk changes! I’ve loved my coconut cake layers and after a revision last year, thought I had them perfected. However, I’ve had a few of you say that you’re still struggling with this recipe – that it’s dense or dry. While dense and dry cakes are often the result of over-mixing and over-baking, I wanted to see what I could do on my end to help prevent this issue.
To make sure we get a moist, tender cake, we want to ensure there’s enough fat to create and retain moisture. In order to do that, I switched out all egg whites to six egg whites and two whole eggs. The fat from the egg yolks will help with moisture. I also reduced the amount of cake flour a bit.
Coconut Milk and Cream of Coconut
Additionally, I want to make sure the ingredients for the coconut cake and coconut buttercream are easy to understand and easy to find.
Canned Coconut Milk
For the cake, I’ve used canned coconut cream in the past, which I’ve melted and added to the cake batter. Lately, it seems like coconut cream can be hard to find, so I wanted to update the recipe and give you the option of coconut milk.
I usually use THIS brand of canned coconut milk, but any brand will do. When you open the coconut milk, you’ll notice there’s a liquid and cream that have separated. Mix the liquid and the cream together until smooth, and then measure out the one cup you need for the recipe.
If you can’t find canned coconut milk, you can always use buttermilk and add a little extra coconut emulsion or coconut extract. Remember, an emulsion is water based and an extract is alcohol based, but they can be used interchangeably.
If you can’t find cake flour, make sure to check out THIS post to learn how to make your own using all-purpose flour and corn starch.
Cream of Coconut
For the buttercream, we use a different type of coconut cream. This cream is actually called cream of coconut and can often be found in the alcohol aisle at the grocery store. THIS is the brand to look for. If you can’t find this, use a little extra coconut emulsion in the buttercream.
Piña Colada Cake
Coconut cake layers with pineapple curd and coconut buttercream.
FOR THE CAKE
- 1 1/2 cups (300 g) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 6 egg whites at room temperature
- 2 whole eggs at room temperature
- 1 tbsp (16 g) coconut emulsion
- 1 tsp (4.2 g) vanilla extract
- 3 cups (339 g) cake flour
- 1 tbsp (10 g) baking powder
- 1 tsp (5.6 g) salt
- 1 cup (231 g) canned coconut milk the canned coconut milk usually separates, so be sure to mix the cream and the liquid really well before measuring.
FOR THE CURD
- 1 cup (230 g) pineapple juice I used fresh
- 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 tsp (5 g) corn starch
- 4 tbsp (56.5 g) unsalted butter
FOR THE BUTTERCREAM
- 2 cups (452 g) unsalted butter slightly cold
- 1/4 cup (57.7 g) cream of coconut this is from the bottle, not the can
- 6 cups (750 g) powdered sugar measured and then sifted
- 1 tbsp (16 g) coconut emulsion
- pinch of salt
- *This buttercream recipe will make enough to fill and cover your cake. If you want to add additional piping, you'll want to make an extra 1/4 to 1/2 batch
FOR THE CAKE
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Spray three 8-inch or four 6-inch pans with nonstick spray, line the bottom with parchment paper and spray again. Set aside.
- In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and the sugar together on medium-high speed for two minutes. The mixture should be light and fluffy.
- Gradually add the egg whites and whole eggs, making sure to scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl between additions. Mix on medium-high for 2 minutes after all the eggs are added.
- Add the coconut emulsion and vanilla extract.
- Turn the mixer on low speed and alternately add the flour mixture and the coconut milk, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until combined.
- Evenly distribute the batter in your pans.
- Bake for about 23-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs on it. Remember, the cake continues to bake in the pan for about 5 minutes while it's cooling.
- Let cool in pans for 15 minutes and then invert onto cooling racks to cool completely.
FOR THE CURD
- The curd is best made a day ahead of time.
- Whisk the sugar, the pineapple juice and corn starch in a medium saucepan.
- In a small bowl, whisk in the whole eggs and yolks in a small bowl and then whisk them into the pineapple mixture.
- Turn the heat to medium. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until it's thick like pudding, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter a few pieces at a time until incorporated.
- Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl, pushing it through with a rubber spatula. Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until completely set, at least 4 hours and up to 5 days.
FOR THE BUTTERCREAM
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter and coconut cream. Beat on medium-high speed for 1 to 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.
- With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the sifted powdered sugar, followed by the extracts and salt.
- Turn the mixer to medium speed and beat the frosting until it is light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Use a wooden spoon to stir out air bubbles.
- Place your first cake layer, right-side up, on a cake plate or cake board. Cover the cake layer with about 1/2 cup frosting.
- Spread about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the curd in the center of the cake, carefully spreading it to the edge of the piping.
- Repeat step 2 for the second layer, and then place the final cake layer on top, bottom-side up.
- Lightly coat the cake with a thin layer of frosting to lock in the crumbs. Freeze the cake for about 10 to 15 minutes to set the frosting.
- Finish frosting and decorating the cake with the remaining frosting.
- You can add some curd on the top, as I did, or serve a spoonful of the remaining pineapple curd with each slice of cake.
I totally want to make this for my birthday next week! When you say you used fresh pineapple juice does that mean you juiced a pineapple yourself? I don’t have a juicer, so could I use a blender to get the juice?😬😬
Yes you can use a blender and then use a strainer to get the juice!
This looks so delicious! I will definitely be trying it soon. I was just wondering why you put a straw in the middle without adding another tier. Thank you for always sharing delicious recipes and tips for the best cakes!
I do this for cakes with a soft filling so it doesn’t move as much while I frost the cake.
What is coconut emulsion please (from Australia)
You can use coconut extract.
Hello, can I use boxed egg whites, and could I add rum to the pineapple curd? Thanks!
Yes you can and add the rum when you add the eggs to your curd!
Yumm! Just took this out of the oven. I asked on your Instagram but wasn’t sure if you’d see it. How thick are the layers suppose to be? Mine look a little thin.
Hello! just wondering, what is a coconut emulsion, and if I cannot find it should I use the same amount of coconut extract when substituting for the emulsion?
Yes same amount.
I was on the fence about making this one but it worked for a themed party I was throwing. I thought I’d leave a comment for anyone else on the fence. I’ve determined that any of Courtney’s cake recipes are going to turn out perfectly moist and delicious, so as long as you like the flavor combo you’re good to go. I’m not personally a huge pina colada fan but the pineapple curd in this balances it out so nicely – it’s actually really delicious. One note is that it would be worth ordering some quality coconut extract I think. I waited too long and all I could find in stores was imitation extract and it definitely carries an imitation flavor. Thanks for another great recipe!
The curd is so good huh?!
We loved all the flavors in this cake! The pineapple curd was amazing. I used store bought pineapple juice and it worked great. The buttercream was so flavorful! I struggled with the coconut cake though. It turned out dry and didn’t reflect the amazing flavors of the curd or the buttercream. I was surprised. Overall my family loved this. I’ll definitely make this again, but add some cream of coconut and or emulsion to the cake for a better flavor.
Did you make sure to use the coconut emulsion and the thick coconut cream?
Hey Courtney! This cake looks delicious! Do you believe it would freeze well? I’m hoping to make it ahead of time.
I’m planning to make this for my daughter’s baby shower (since she can’t indulge in the cocktail now. 😊). I watched the video and saw that you put a bubble tea straw in the center….does this cake need to be stabilized this way? You didn’t mention it in the directions so was curious. Can’t wait to taste it!!!
Not totally necessary! I like to do it when I have a soft filling.
This cake is amazing! The coconut buttercream is probably the best buttercream I’ve ever had. I make extra just to eat! However, I struggled with the pineapple curd. I made two different batches because my first didn’t thicken. The second was a little bit better, but pretty runny. The taste is incredible, but the texture wasn’t ideal. I read that using canned pineapple juice will allow it to thicken better but I’m assuming fresh tastes better. What was the consistency when you made it?
Thank you so much! I adore your recipes and use them often ❤️
You can totally try canned juice! Make sure you are cooking it for long enough to get it nice and thick!
hi, i want to make this cake so bad, it looks delicious but i need to make it gluten free. Can i switch the cake flour for coconut flour? if yes, will the amount of flour be the same?
I tried to make this for my daughter’s birthday. The cake itself is delicious! But I made the pineapple curd twice and both times it didn’t turn out. It just wouldn’t thicken. I thought that maybe it has to do with how fresh pineapple doesn’t set in jello? But the recipe says to use fresh pineapple juice, and I didn’t have any so I used pineapple juice from a carton. I have no idea what I did wrong, but it’s frustrating. Any tips?
Did you let it cook long enough over the stove? Next time try fresh pineapple juice or from a can.
What is sprinkled on top? Toasted coconut?
Hii, Lovely cake…Any substitute for coconut emulsion?
Is one batch of this cake recipe enough to make a 11x15inch rectangular cake?
I need to make this cake into a 11×15 rectangular sheet cake (2-3 layers) does 1 batch of this cake make a good size 1 layer cake?
Yes it does!
hi, can this cake with this curd cream be lined in fondant?
As long as it has stable buttercream as a barrier around the curd.
How many cupcakes does one batch of this recipe make?
Love this recipe! I have used it twice, once for a layer cake and once for cupcakes. It makes about 30 cupcakes. I love the pineapple curd with the buttercream! It really evens out the sweetness and balances the whole thing beautifully. Thank you!
Yay! I love to hear it.
What are the benefits of using an emulsion over extract? I noticed you used emulsion in this cake and the blueberry cobbler one. I’m wondering if it’s worth ordering since my local grocery stores do not stock it.
It’s a stronger flavor.
Any advice on how to turn this into a cupcake? Thanks!
325 degrees for about 20 mins! Keep an eye on them!
I noticed that you say to spread the pineapple curd to the edge of the piping, but you don’t mention piping any frosting around the edges of the layers in the instructions. Is this a necessary step? Thanks.
Yes, be sure to pipe a rim of buttercream around the edge of the cake layer before adding curd 🙂
The link to the bottled cream of coconut isn’t working. What is the name of the brand you use and where to get it?
It’s called Coco Real Real Gourmet Cream of Coconut and I get it at the usual grocery store.
Where do you find fresh pineapple juice?
I use canned
If I made this in a 9×13 would it be best to spread the pineapple curd on top of the cake after its cooled, then frost with the buttercream? I’m making for a group of YSAs and don’t want to make a layer cake –
Or is the batter sufficient to make in a jelly roll pan? Is 9×13 better?
Yes spread the pineapple curd after its cooled, and then do the buttercream. I would do 9×13.
Does it really need a total of 8 eggs (6 whites and 2 whole)? I saw that your coconut cake with chocolate frosting only used 6 total eggs (4 whites and 2 whole) but everything else about the recipe was the same.
looks so good