Pineapple Cake with Coconut Frosting

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Pineapple Cake with Coconut Frosting is a rich white cake full of pineapple flavor and just a hint of coconut, layered with creamy coconut cream cheese frosting and sprinkled with toasted coconut. It’s the perfect dessert for coconut and pineapple lovers alike. 

Pineapple Cake with Coconut Frosting - traditional and gluten-free versions included - get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

 

I’m partnering with Alberston’s and Safeway today to create a new recipe for the “Cans Get You Cooking” project. 

I’m playing with pineapple (my all-time favorite canned fruit!) and a splash of coconut milk for a hint of classic Pina Colada flavor in this Pineapple Cake with Coconut Frosting. You already know how much I love a well-stocked pantry and these are two foods that you will always find in my kitchen.

Pineapple Cake

I played with several ideas for a pina colada style cake over the past year and I am so happy with this final cake. While I love Pineapple Upside Down Cake and make it often, for this cake I wanted something a little different.

The pineapple is pureed and mixed into the actual white cake batter so you get pineapple flavor in every bite. The resulting batter was so moist and pineapple-y that I could hardly believe it.

Fluffy Coconut Frosting - get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

Coconut Frosting

My boys gave the cake two thumbs up and my youngest asked if I could please make more coconut desserts. It appears that I have a solid coconut fan on my side now!

In a nod of understanding to all of the people who can’t get past the texture of coconut, this is a smooth frosting flavored with creamy coconut milk. This gives the frosting a subtle coconut taste without the texture that some might find off-putting.

(Please note the can in the photograph, because a carton of coconut milk from the refrigerated section at the grocery store will not work the same way!)

The higher fat content in canned coconut milk makes the frosting nice and creamy. Use the full fat variety of canned coconut milk rather than the lite or reduced-fat versions for the best results. The coconut milk gets blended with cream cheese and powdered sugar to become a creamy sweet cake frosting that’s worth licking the spoon for.

When making the frosting, be sure to only beat the cream cheese in with the rest of ingredients until just combined. If you beat it for too long, the icing is prone to become runny no matter how much more powdered sugar you add.

Tender Pineapple Cake with Fluffy Coconut Icing - get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

You are welcome to add shredded coconut to the frosting, but I skipped it this time to create a coconut flavored frosting that the coconut-texture-avoidant members of my family would still love.

I like sprinkling toasted coconut flakes on top of this cake as a garnish and for a little extra crunch but again, only if I know everyone I’m serving it to is on board with the texture.

The final addition to this pina colada inspired cake is the addition of a tiny bit of dark rum to the frosting. It adds a depth of flavor that I enjoyed combined with the pineapple and coconut flavors. If you can’t or don’t want to use rum in the frosting, coconut extract is a delicious substitution or you can simply omit it altogether.

Because this Pineapple Coconut Cake is so moist, it keeps well in the refrigerator for 2-3 days and I especially love the way the cake tastes when it is cold. It’s an ideal summertime dessert that’ll make you think of sipping pina coladas (or Pineapple Mojitos) by the pool.

Pineapple Cake with Fluffy Coconut Frosting - get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

Pineapple Recipes

Like I mentioned earlier, I love cooking and baking with canned pineapple. I also can’t get enough fresh pineapple.

If you try and love this cake as much as my family did, you’re also likely to love my Pineapple Mojito Fruit Salad (which, like Pineapple Coconut Cake, was inspired by my enjoyment of pineapple flavored drinks) and Mango Pineapple Ice Cream.

For more coconut and pineapple dessert goodness, you should also have Pineapple Coconut Bars on your radar. They are everything that’s delicious about this cake in bar form with a crispy shortbread crust and coconut flakes.

This non-alcoholic Pina Colada Smoothie also sounds like a fantastic (and healthy) way to get your pineapple fix.

And how could I forget to mention Pina Colada Ice Cream? The name speaks for itself.

Pineapple Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting - traditional and gluten-free versions included - get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

I’ve made this cake both the regular way and with gluten-free flour substitutions and it turned out well both ways. Check out all of the Gluten-Free Dessert Recipes on this website!

Pineapple Cake with Coconut Frosting

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour (2) 8-inch or 9-inch round pans. Place the pineapple chunks in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth, without any chunks. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and the sugar until smooth. Stir in the coconut milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt, stir to combine. Add 1 cup of the pureed pineapple and stir once more.
  2. Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake 35-38 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for 15 minutes, before inverting the cakes over a wire rack. Let the cakes cool completely.
  3. Place the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Add half the powdered sugar and beat to combine. Add the remaining sugar and beat again. Add the coconut milk and the vanilla, beat to combine and then taste the frosting. Adjust the sugar as desired, and add a tiny splash of rum, if you would like.
  4. Place one layer of the cake on a plate, top with 1/3 of the frosting, smoothing it gently across the cake, almost to the edge. Gently place the second cake over the frosting layer. (I like to place the first cake upright and then flip the second cake over, so that the tops are facing in and the bottom is on top providing a nice flat layer.) Scoop the remaining frosting onto the top cake and gently spread it across the cake. Sprinkle with coconut, if desired, and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Enjoy!

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Pineapple Cake with Coconut Frosting

5 from 3 votes
Pin Print Review
Servings: 10 -12 servings

Ingredients 

  • 1 14- ounce can pineapple tidbits drained
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup butter melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour *
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • * Gluten-Free Substitutions:
  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
  • 2/3 cup potato starch
  • 1/3 cup tapioca starch
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • Frosting Ingredients:
  • 16 ounces cream cheese room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum optional or 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract (optional)
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut for topping (toasted, if desired)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour (2) 8-inch or 9-inch round pans. Place the pineapple chunks in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth, without any chunks. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and the sugar until smooth. Stir in the coconut milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt, stir to combine. Add 1 cup of the pureed pineapple and stir once more.
  • Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake 35-38 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for 15 minutes, before inverting the cakes over a wire rack. Let the cakes cool completely.
  • Place the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Add half the powdered sugar and beat to combine. Add the remaining sugar and beat again. Add the coconut milk and the vanilla, beat to combine and then taste the frosting. Adjust the sugar as desired, and add a tiny splash of rum, if you would like.
  • Place one layer of the cake on a plate, top with 1/3 of the frosting, smoothing it gently across the cake, almost to the edge. Gently place the second cake over the frosting layer. (I like to place the first cake upright and then flip the second cake over, so that the tops are facing in and the bottom is on top providing a nice flat layer.) Scoop the remaining frosting onto the top cake and gently spread it across the cake. Sprinkle with coconut, if desired, and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Notes

Be careful to avoid overbeating the cream cheese for the frosting. Stop beating it as soon as it is smooth. If it is beaten for too long, it will become runny and all the sugar in the world won't thicken it again. I really like the hint of rum in the frosting, but it is delicious both with and without it. This cake can also be made in a 9x13 pan. Allow the cake to cool before icing it in the pan or turn the cooled cake out onto a platter and frost completely.
To toast the coconut, preheat the oven to broil. Spread the coconut across a baking pan and place it in the oven. Do not walk away. Watch the coconut as it begins to brown, it will only take about a minute to toast and it will burn lightning fast if you aren't paying attention.
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Disclosure: I’ve partnered with Albertsons & Safeway to share this recipe with you. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Barefeet In The Kitchen possible. As always, all thoughts are my own.

{originally published 8/13/15 – recipe notes and photos updated 9/16/19}

Tender Pineapple Cake with Fluffy Coconut Frosting! get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Anonymous says

    Can't wait to make this next Tuesday night for our church's women's fellowship. I know they'll love it. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Tiara says

    Hi Mary! I just wanted to share that your cake was another hit at work. I made cupcakes and it was eaten so fast. It was even nominated to be a contender in our annual Christmas dessert contest. The Cinnamon Toast Bars was another recipe that everyone loves. Thanks again!
    5 stars

  3. Joan Hayes says

    Mary, this might be the most incredible pineapple coconut cake I've ever seen! It looks so moist and fluffy, and I'm loving that cream cheese icing! I really can't wait to give this a try, looks so, SO good!

  4. cinco says

    When is the remainder of the pineapple puree added? I couldn't find where it is. Instructions say to add a cup of puree, no where is adding the remainder indicated.?

    • Mary says

      Any remaining puree will not be added in. Depending on the brand of pineapple, you should have just about 1 cup of puree from the entire can of drained pineapple tidbits. However, I tested this using a couple different brands of pineapple and one of them resulted in about 1 1/4 cup puree. So, I listed it in the recipe as 1 cup puree to avoid any accidents with too much puree in the batter. I hope that helps!

  5. Mary A Ford says

    I have pure coconut extract. Do you think I could use this in combination with the vanilla extract as flavoring in the cake and frosting in lieu of the coconut milk, subtituting regular milk?

  6. Danna says

    Does this pineapple cake taste better with gf all purpose flour or by using all the separate flours you listed or does it taste and do just as well doing it the easy way using one flour? Thank you for a reply
    Danna Boltom

  7. Debbie says

    I make a similar cake once a year. I have used the pinapple juice from the can and used it place of water in the cake mix. I after poke holes in the cake and pour maraschino cherry juice in and then top the cake with the cherries and pinapple from the can. I have also added macadamia nuts with the toasted coconut love your idea of coconut milk and rum taking it from a pinapple to a pinacolada. Cant wait to try it

  8. Linda Schiefer says

    I love pineapple, & coconut. I can’t wait to make this. I know once my family comes over and try this, it will be gone. I will make sure to get mine before hand.
    Going to make one the run too ,thank you for the recipes.