Pineapple-Coconut Cake

4.5
(13)

A piece of this cake is a marvelous combination of sweet pineapple, tangy cream cheese, and nutty toasted coconut.

Active Time:
50 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 15 mins

Imagine a dessert with some of the softest layers of coconut cake you will ever taste, filled with a sweet pineapple compote, and covered with tangy cream cheese frosting and toasted coconut. If this sounds like a dessert dream come true, you will be blown away by this Pineapple-Coconut Cake.

This delightful recipe combines the best qualities of tropical flavors that are perfect for any time of the year. It is a crowd-pleasing dessert you’ll be making again and again, and it's one of our all-time most popular dessert recipes.

Pineapple-Coconut Cake

Photographer: Fred Hardy, Food Stylist: Karen Rankin, Prop Stylist: Christine Keeley

What Ingredients Are Included in the Pineapple-Coconut Cake?

The cake is made with many ingredients you might already have in your kitchen. Still, some unique ingredients for this recipe to ensure you have on hand are shredded sweetened coconut, coconut extract, and crushed pineapple.

The shredded coconut is not only an ingredient in the cake; there is also shredded coconut that is toasted and added to the outside of the cake for additional flavor, texture, and visual appeal.

Even though the cake is made with tropical flavors, all the ingredients are easily obtainable at your local grocery store.

How Many Slices Can I Get Out of the Cake, and What Are the Best Ways To Serve It?

Depending on the size of the slice, you could comfortably cut and serve around 12 to 18 pieces of cake.

A fantastic quality about this delicious, layered cake is that it can be sliced and served without any additions or toppings. If you are looking for fun ways to add some accents to the presentation, consider adding a drizzle of honey, fresh lime zest, slices of stone fruit, seasonal berries, or some fresh whipped cream flavored with vanilla or orange extract.

What Is the Best Way To Store This Pineapple-Coconut Cake?

It would be best to store this cake in the refrigerator until needed. Once wrapped and stored in the fridge, this cake can be kept for up to a week.

Refrigeration is necessary for this cake because the icing is made with a combination of cream cheese, sour cream, and butter. The closer this cake gets to room temperature, the more delicate the cake will be.

Helpful Tips for Success From the Southern Living Community

When making the cream cheese frosting, ensure the butter and cream cheese are as close to room temperature as possible before mixing so that they will blend easier. You could run the risk of having a lumpy frosting otherwise.

Reviewers for this recipe mentioned it is helpful to make the pineapple filling and cream cheese frosting and to refrigerate both components before mixing and baking the cake. Doing this will help ensure every part of the cake is chilled before assembling to make sure the cake is as stable as possible. 

Editorial contributions by Nik Pugmire.

Ingredients

Cake Layers

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2/3 cup buttermilk

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract

  • 1 1/3 cup sugar

  • 1 cup unsalted butter

  • 3 large eggs

  • 2/3 cup shredded sweetened coconut

Pineapple Filling

  • 1 (20-oz.) can crushed pineapple

  • 2/3 cup sugar

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Frosting

  • 1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese

  • 4 tablespoons butter

  • 1/4 cup sour cream

  • 2 cups powdered sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

For Assembly

  • 1 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut, toasted

  • Candied pineapple for garnish

Directions

  1. Make the Cake Layers: Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. Set aside.

    buttered cake pans

    Brittany Conerly; Prop Stylist: Christina Brockman; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin

  2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a small bowl, mix together buttermilk, cream, and extracts. Set aside.

    dry and wet ingredients for cake mix

    Brittany Conerly; Prop Stylist: Christina Brockman; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin

    In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together sugar and butter until well combined, about 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time and beat on medium high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

    butter, sugar, and eggs in stand mixer bowl

    Brittany Conerly; Prop Stylist: Christina Brockman; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin

  3. On low speed, add half the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add the wet ingredients and mix until fully incorporated. Pour in the last of the dry ingredients; mix until just combined.

    cake batter in stand mixer bowl

    Brittany Conerly; Prop Stylist: Christina Brockman; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin

    Fold in coconut, and divided batter evenly between cake pans.

    cake batter in round pans

    Brittany Conerly; Prop Stylist: Christina Brockman; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin

  4. Bake, rotating halfway through, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Allow to cool completely in pans before removing and leveling the cake layers by cutting off the domes with a serrated knife. Then cut each layer in half, creating 4 thin layers.

    divided cake layers

    Brittany Conerly; Prop Stylist: Christina Brockman; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin

  5. Make the Pineapple Filling: Combine ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until sugar is dissolved and the mixture thickens into a glossy filling that boils, leaving a trail on the bottom of the pan, about 10 minutes. Pour into a glass container and chill in the refrigerator.

    pineapple filling

    Brittany Conerly; Prop Stylist: Christina Brockman; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin

  6. Make the Frosting: Beat together cream cheese, butter, and sour cream until smooth. Add powdered sugar and vanilla; mix on low until just combined, then beat on medium high for 3 minutes.

    cream cheese frosting in stand mixer

    Brittany Conerly; Prop Stylist: Christina Brockman; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin

  7. Assemble the Cake: Place one layer on a cake stand or platter. Spread half of the Pineapple Filling across the surface.

    pineapple filling on cake layer

    Brittany Conerly; Prop Stylist: Christina Brockman; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin

    Add another layer and evenly spread a heaping 1/2 cup of the Frosting.

    frosting on cake layers

    Brittany Conerly; Prop Stylist: Christina Brockman; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin

    Add another layer and spread the remaining Pineapple Filling. Add the final cake layer and cover the cake all over with remaining Frosting. Gently sprinkle and press the toasted coconut into the frosting. Garnish with candied pineapple pieces.

    coconut on cake

    Brittany Conerly; Prop Stylist: Christina Brockman; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin

Additional reporting by
Nik Pugmire
Nik Pugmire

Nik Pugmire is a reputable pastry chef, sharing his expertise gained from personal experience working in professional pastry kitchens and bakeries for over 15 years. With formal education, practical skills, and a deep passion for culinary arts, he aims to help share that love and knowledge through his writing.

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