Best Pineapple Coconut Cake Recipe

Chef and recipe developer Michelle Morey considers this pineapple coconut cake "easy" to make, but fair warning, she is speaking with years of baking experience behind her, so don't worry if you're a bit intimidated by this recipe at first. Despite all of the steps, the ingredients can be found at most grocery stores, much of the recipe simply involves following package instructions, and there's even some room for covering up a mistake or two as you decorate the cake. Also, as soon as anyone takes a bite of this sweet, richly flavored dessert, they're not going to care if it looked picture-perfect before they ate it.

So let's gather up those ingredients, gather some self-confidence, and get on with making this gorgeous and delicious cake. And no worries if it only comes out the latter the first time you make it.

Gather your ingredients for pineapple coconut cake

There's a lot of sweet stuff in this cake — along with the classic cake ingredients you'd expect — and it starts with a box of white cake mix. A classic like Betty Crocker is just fine, or a cake mix from any brand you prefer will work great, too. You'll also need some water, vegetable oil, eggs, coconut extract, pineapple preserves (pineapple jam, more or less), some optional but recommended lemon zest, unsalted butter, unsweetened coconut milk, vanilla extract, lots of confectioner's sugar, a bit of kosher salt, and some sweetened shredded coconut.

Prep the cake pans, and make the batter

Following the instructions on the cake mix box, preheat the oven (which will likely be to 350 F, for the record). Next, grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans and set them aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, add the cake mix and set it aside. Next, in a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the water, vegetable oil, eggs and 1½ teaspoons of the coconut extract. Whisk to thoroughly combine. Now, add those wet ingredients to the cake mix, and combine everything at medium speed with a hand mixer or by hand (vigorously with a fork) for two minutes until the batter is smooth and well combined.

Bake the cakes, and make the frosting

Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes (or per the box's instructions). The cake is done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean. 

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the pineapple preserves, optional lemon zest, and a dash of salt. Whisk until they are well combined and set aside.

In a stand mixer or large mixing bowl, add the butter, coconut milk, vanilla extract, the remaining coconut extract, and a dash of salt. Next, using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer (or hand mixer), mix on low speed to combine the ingredients. Once the mixture is just combined, turn up the mixer to medium-high speed and mix for one minute until smooth and creamed. With the mixer off, add the confectioner's sugar. On low speed, mix sugar until it's incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat for about two to three minutes, or until light and fluffy. Set the mixture aside.

Add frosting and pineapple preserves to your first cake layer

Once the cakes are done baking, remove them from the oven and allow them to sit in the pans and cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Next, loosen the cakes around the side with a butter knife, and flip them out of the pans onto a cooling rack. Allow the cakes to finish cooling completely, about 20 to 30 minutes. After the cakes have cooled completely, use a serrated knife to level off the tops of both cakes so that they are completely flat.

Transfer the frosting into a pastry bag, and pipe a dab of frosting on the surface that you'll be frosting your cake (such as a cake circle or a lazy Susan). This will keep the cake in place as you ice it. Grab one of the cake layers and place it on top of the icing dab, flat side down, crumb side up.

Using your piping bag, pipe a thick and high border of frosting around the inner edge of the cake. This will create a border to hold the pineapple preserves in place. Make sure the frosting is thick with no gaps for the preserves to escape. Next, spoon the preserves into the center of the cake and pipe more frosting to securely trap in the preserves if needed.

Add the second layer and the coconut flakes

Place the second cake layer on top of your icing and pineapple preserves, flat side up, crumb side facing the pineapple filling. Pipe the icing all around the edges and top of the cake. Use an offset spatula to distribute and smooth out the icing around the cake's sides and top. Make sure all of the layers are evenly coated.

Once the cake is completely iced, gently press the shredded coconut on to the sides of the cake. Redistribute any coconut that falls off during the process. Coat the entire top and sides of the cake with the coconut.

If possible, transfer your cake onto a clean serving plate and enjoy!

Best Pineapple Coconut Cake Recipe
5 from 11 ratings
This rich, pineapple coconut cake recipe is complete with pineapple filling, frosting, and coconut. It's the ultimate treat to whip up for a special occasion.
Prep Time
20
minutes
Cook Time
35
minutes
Servings
12
Servings
finished cake on cake stand
Total time: 55 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 (16.25-ounce) box white cake mix
  • 1 ¼ cups water
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 ½ teaspoons coconut extract, divided
  • 1 cup pineapple preserves
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
Optional Ingredients
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F, and grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans. Set aside.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, add the cake mix.
  3. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine water, vegetable oil, eggs, and 1½ teaspoons of coconut extract, and whisk to combine.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the cake mix, and mix at medium speed with a hand mixer (or by hand, vigorously with a fork) for 2 minutes until the batter is smooth and well combined.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans, and bake for 23 to 35 minutes per the box's instructions. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  6. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the pineapple preserves, optional lemon zest, and a dash of salt. Whisk until combined and set aside.
  7. In a stand mixer or large mixing bowl, add the butter, coconut milk, vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon of coconut extract, and a dash of salt.
  8. Using the paddle attachment (or a hand mixer), mix on low speed to combine the ingredients. Once the mixture is just combined, turn up the mixer to medium-high speed and mix for 1 minute until smooth and creamed.
  9. With the mixer off, add the confectioner's sugar. On low speed, mix the sugar until it's incorporated. Turn the mixer up to medium-high and beat for about 2 to 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Set aside.
  10. Once the cakes are done baking, remove them from the oven and allow them to sit in the pans and cool for 10 minutes.
  11. Loosen the cakes around the side with a butter knife, and flip them out of the pans onto a cooling rack. Allow the cakes to finish cooling completely, about 20 to 30 more minutes.
  12. After the cakes have cooled completely, use a serrated knife to level off the tops of both cakes so that they are completely flat.
  13. Transfer the frosting into a pastry bag and pipe a dab of frosting on the surface that you'll be frosting your cake on (such as a cake circle or lazy Susan) to keep your cake from sliding.
  14. Grab one of the cake layers and place it on top of the icing dab, flat side down, crumb side up.
  15. Using your piping bag, pipe a thick and high border of frosting around the inner edge of the cake layer. This will create a border to hold the pineapple preserves in place. Make sure the frosting is thick with no gaps for the preserves to escape.
  16. Spoon the preserves into the center of the cake. Pipe more frosting to securely trap in the preserves if needed.
  17. Place the second cake layer on top of your icing and pineapple, flat side up, crumb side facing the pineapple filling.
  18. Pipe icing all around the edges and top of the cake. Use an offset spatula to distribute and smooth out the icing around the cake's sides and top. Make sure all the layers are evenly coated.
  19. Once the cake is completely iced, gently press the shredded coconut on to the sides of the cake. Redistribute any coconut that falls off during the process. Coat the entire top and sides of the cake with the coconut.
  20. Slice the cake, transfer to serving plates, and enjoy.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 600
Total Fat 25.8 g
Saturated Fat 12.1 g
Trans Fat 0.5 g
Cholesterol 60.2 mg
Total Carbohydrates 90.4 g
Dietary Fiber 1.8 g
Total Sugars 73.7 g
Sodium 403.9 mg
Protein 3.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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