This delicious pineapple coconut cake is bursting with island flavors. The creamy pineapple filling between each layer is our homemade curd recipe, while the outside is frosted with a thick cream cheese icing made from scratch. From start to finish, this beautiful masterpiece is ready in just 1 hour!
The flavor combination of pineapple and coconut just work well together, and this is the perfect cake to celebrate warmer months with. It’s very similar to my coconut cream cake, except it’s bursting with pineapple flavor, too.
If you love the tropical vibes, you’ll really like my coconut poke cake. It’s super simple and made with pudding mix. There’s also my pineapple pound cake that is dripping with glaze that’s light and refreshing. For our boozy treats, we like to go with the classic Malibu piña colada or pineapple spears soaked in malibu rum!
- unsalted butter – allow the butter to soften before using. It’s easier to mix, which makes the cake more tender.
- granulated sugar – adds sweetness and helps with the texture of the cake.
- large eggs – bring them to room temperature before using – this gives volume and rise to your cake and also helps them incorporate into the batter more easily.
- coconut extract – adds a ton of flavor while only using a small amount.
- vanilla extract – brings the other flavors together.
- cream of coconut – make sure you do not use coconut cream or coconut milk, it’s not the same thing.
- flour – we used all purpose and have not tested this recipe with other flours.
- baking powder – makes the cake rise, so be sure it isn’t expired.
- salt – enhances the flavor of other ingredients
- milk – 2% or whole milk will work.
- Pineapple Curd Ingredients:
- eggs – you’ll need large eggs and 2 egg yolks that are room temperature.
- crushed pineapple – while you can use fresh pineapple, we recommend canned because it’s easier.
- granulated sugar – adds sweetness and helps with the curd texture.
- lemon juice – brings out the citrus flavor.
- unsalted butter – gives the curd a rich, creamy texture and flavor
- Frosting Ingredients:
- salted butter and cream cheese – makes sure it’s soft so your frosting isn’t lumpy.
- vanilla extract – adds a subtle hint of vanilla and rounds out the other flavors.
- powdered sugar – helps with texture and sweetness.
- heavy cream – we use heavy cream to lighten the frosting and create the perfect spreadable consistency. You can also use cream or even milk – you will need less of these thinner liquids.
For a full list of ingredients and their measurements, 📋 please view my printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.
This delicious cake can be garnished with toasted coconut, regular shredded coconut flakes, nuts, maraschino cherries, pineapple rings or wedges. Swap in rainbow jimmies like we did on this Funfetti Cake.
Substitutions and Variations
- Frosting – while we love the cream cheese buttercream, you can also use fresh whipped cream for something a little lighter. Cool Whip can be used, but only if you don’t want to pipe intricate designs. It’s very soft compared to homemade whipped cream. To make homemade whipped cream beat 2 cups of heavy whipping cream and ½ cup powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. For more sweetness, add powdered sugar.
- Cake pan size – if needed, you can use 8 or 9-inch pans, but the layers will be thinner.
- Coconut cream cheese frosting – simply add up to 2 cups of shredded sweetened coconut to the frosting recipe below.
- Without curd – if you don’t want to use the pineapple curd for the filling between the layers, you can make more frosting and use that instead.
PREP: Grease three 7 inch round cake pan with cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
Step 1: Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl using an electric mixer (or stand mixer) on medium speed until creamy. Stir in the eggs by hand one at a time using a wooden spoon or spatula.
Step 2: Add coconut extract, vanilla, and cream of coconut and mix well.
Step 3: In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder.
Step 4: Add half of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and beat. Then add half of the milk, the remaining flour mixture, and the rest of the milk. Beat just until combined.
Step 5: Pour batter into the prepared pans.
Step 6: Bake for 30-35 minutes in the preheated oven.
Step 7: Allow the cake layers to cook on a wire rack in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then turn out from the pans to cool completely.
Pro Tip: Assembling the layers is much easier if the cake is cold. Wrap the cooled cakes in plastic wrap and freeze until firm.
Step 8: In a cold saucepan, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, crushed pineapple, sugar, and lemon juice.
Step 9: Whisk continuously over medium-low heat for 7-10 minutes. When the pineapple curd is pale, foamy, and has thickened, it is done.
Step 10: Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter until fully melted and mixed.
Step 11: Transfer the curd to a medium mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap so it lies right on top of the curd. Cool to room temperature then chill in the fridge until cold and thickened.
Step 12: Beat the cream cheese and butter together in a medium bowl until creamy and light.
Step 13: Add the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla. Mix to combine.
Step 14: Add a tablespoon of heavy cream at a time while mixing on medium high speed until the frosting reaches your desired consistency. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until you are ready to decorate the cake.
Step 15: If needed, level the tops of the cake. On the bottom layer, pipe a ring of frosting around the edge. Fill the center with ½ cup of pineapple curd. Spread if needed.
Step 16: Top with the second layer, and repeat the frosting and curd.
Step 17: Add the top layer and frost the top of the cake and sides with the remaining cream cheese frosting. Decorate with toasted coconut flakes.
GARNISH: Pipe more frosting on top for decoration then add toasted coconut if desired. Slice and serve!
- Do not drain the pineapple juice from the crushed pineapple. It adds moisture and flavor.
- Avoid cooking the curd over higher than medium heat. This can turn the eggs into scrambled eggs.
- There will be leftover curd, so you can save it and use it for another filling, or spread on breakfast crepes or toasted Dutch oven bread.
- To toast your coconut, place it in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 3-5 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove it from the oven immediately, or else it will burn. You can use any type of coconut you would like.
- Don’t skip out on the cream of coconut. This recipe has been developed so that it adds flavor, sweetness, and moisture. If omitted or substituted you will not get the same results.
- We like the Coco Lopez brand, which is the most popular cream of coconut and is different from coconut milk and cream.
Many people think a pineapple ripens as it sits. They actually are as ripe as they are going to get once they are harvested! -Roberts Hawaii
Before the cake has been sliced, it can be placed in the refrigerator without being covered. Once sliced, wrap it in plastic wrap or keep slices in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Once the toasted coconut has cooled, grab a handful and gently start pressing it on the sides of the cake. It’s best to do this over a baking sheet so you don’t make a mess and you can reuse the pieces that have fallen off.
If you tried this Pineapple Coconut Cake Recipe or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you liked it in the 📝 comments below.
Pineapple Coconut Cake
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 1 teaspoon coconut extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup cream of coconut
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup milk
Pineapple Curd Ingredients:
- 2 whole eggs large, room temperature
- 2 egg yolks large, room temperature
- 1 cup crushed pineapple
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ cup unsalted butter cut into pieces
- 1 cup salted butter softened
- 8 ounces of cream cheese softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 4 tablespoons heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray three 7” round cake pans with non-stick baking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add one egg at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add vanilla extract, coconut extract, and cream of coconut and beat well.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and begin to beat. Add half of the milk, then the remaining flour mixture, then the rest of the milk. Beat just until fully combined.
- Divide the batter between the three prepared cake pans.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs.
- Cool cakes on a cooling rack for 10-15 minutes, then turn out from the pans and cool the rest of the way.
- To make assembly of the cake easier, wrap cooled cakes in plastic wrap and place in the freezer until firm.
- To make the curd, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, crushed pineapple, sugar, and lemon juice in a cold saucepan.
- Heat over medium-low, whisking continuously, for 7-10 minutes. When the curd becomes foamy throughout and then pales and thickens, it is done. Do not turn the heat above medium at any time, as this will overcook the eggs.
- Remove the curd from the heat and whisk in the butter until melted and fully combined.
- Transfer curd to a bowl and press a sheet of plastic wrap over it. Cool to room temperature and then chill in the refrigerator until thickened and cold.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat together cream cheese and butter until light and creamy.
- Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat to combine.
- Add in heavy cream 1 tablespoon at a time while beating on medium-high speed until desired consistency is reached.
- Keep frosting chilled (and covered with plastic wrap) until ready to use.
- Level the tops of the cakes as needed. On the first layer, pipe a ring of cream cheese frosting around the top edge to contain the pineapple curd.
- Fill the ring with about ½ cup of pineapple curd.
- Gently press the second layer on top of the filling and add another ring of frosting and fill with pineapple curd.
- Top with the final layer of cake. Frost with cream cheese frosting.
- Decorate with toasted coconut.