Adapted from reader-favorite white cake, this pineapple coconut cake is supremely moist and pillow soft with extra coconut packed in each bite. Homemade pineapple curd adds another layer of sweet tropical flavor inside the cake. The cake is made with canned coconut milk, shredded coconut, pineapple juice, and pineapple chunks, a delightful combination promising big flavor.
This pineapple coconut cake includes pineapple chunks, coconut, and coconut milk, plus homemade pineapple curd and cream cheese frosting. Each bite is packed with a moist texture and irresistible flavor. Review the recipe notes before beginning. To save time, feel free to make the pineapple curd first. It must cool completely before you use it in the cake’s assembly.
- 2 and 1/2 cups (285g) cake flour (spoon & leveled)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks; 170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar
- 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (120g) sour cream, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon coconut extract
- 3/4 cup (180ml) canned coconut milk, at room temperature*
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) pineapple juice (canned or fresh)
- 1 cup (80g) sweetened shredded coconut
- 1 cup (225g) pineapple chunks (canned and drained or use fresh), plus extra for garnish
- 1 large egg
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/3 cup (80ml) canned pineapple juice (must be canned)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons; 60g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature and cut into 4 pieces
- 8 ounces (224g) full-fat block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3 cups (360g) confectioners’ sugar, plus an extra 1/4 cup (30g) if needed
- 2 Tablespoons canned coconut milk or pineapple juice (your choice)
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- optional for garnish: fresh or canned pineapple chunks and/or 1 cup (80g) sweetened shredded coconut
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease three 8-inch cake pans, line with parchment paper, then grease the parchment paper. Parchment paper helps the cakes seamlessly release from the pans.
- Make the cake: Whisk the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside. (Note that the video shows sifting the flour, but you do not have to.)
- Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Beat in the egg whites until combined, then add the sour cream, vanilla extract, and coconut extract. Beat until combined. Mixture will look curdled as a result of the varying textures and solid butter combining. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients, coconut milk, and pineapple juice. Beat on low speed until combined, then beat in the shredded coconut and pineapple chunks just until combined. Whisk it all by hand to make sure there are no butter lumps at the bottom of the bowl. The batter will be slightly thick.
- Pour batter evenly into cake pans. Bake for around 22-24 minutes or until the cakes are baked through. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it’s done. Allow cakes to cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack. (Make the curd as the cakes cool.) The cakes must be completely cool before frosting and assembling.
- Make the pineapple curd: Fill the bottom pot of a double boiler with 1-2 inches of water. (Or use the DIY double boiler method listed in the notes.) Place on high heat. Once the water begins to boil, reduce to low heat to keep the water at a simmer. Whisk the egg, egg yolks, granulated sugar, cornstarch, pineapple juice, and salt together the top pot of your double boiler. Continue to whisk as the curd cooks because constant whisking prevents the egg yolks from curdling. Whisk and cook until the mixture becomes slightly thick, resembling the texture of hollandaise sauce, about 10 minutes. If curd isn’t thickening, turn up the heat and keep whisking. Remove pan from heat. Whisk in the butter. The butter will melt from the heat of the curd. Pour curd into a jar or bowl and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top so it is touching the top of the curd. (This prevents a skin from forming on top.) Cool completely. The curd will continue to thicken as it cools. Once cool, the plastic wrap can be removed. Makes 1 cup. You will have leftover curd after using in the cake. Cover and refrigerate leftovers for up to 1 week. (Great on sourdough, biscuits, or toast!)
- Make the frosting: In a large bowl using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 2 minutes. Add confectioners’ sugar, coconut milk or pineapple juice, vanilla extract, and salt with the mixer running on low. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then switch to high speed and beat for 2 minutes. If you want the frosting a little thicker, add the extra 1/4 cup of confectioners sugar (I usually add it).
- Assemble and decorate: If your cakes are domed on top, use a large serrated knife to slice a thin layer off the tops to create a flat surface. Discard (or crumble over ice cream!). Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand, cake turntable, or serving plate. I use and recommend an icing spatula to apply the frosting & curd. Evenly spread a scant 1/2 cup of frosting on top. Spread 1/4 cup of pineapple curd on top of the frosting. Top with 2nd cake layer and evenly cover the top with 1/2 cup of frosting, then 1/4 cup of curd. Carefully place the third cake layer on top. The cake is very slippery due to the frosting and curd, so be careful with it. I highly recommend a crumb coat for this cake, so spread a very very thin layer of frosting on top and all around the exterior of the cake. A bench scraper is helpful to smooth the sides. Refrigerate the crumb-coated cake for 30-60 minutes– again, this is a slippery cake so refrigeration is very helpful. Remove cake from the refrigerator and spread the remaining frosting all over the cake. (Which should only be a small amount at this point.) Decorate with pineapple chunks on top of the cake and/or press coconut gently into the sides of the cake.
- Refrigerate the cake for at least 20 minutes before slicing. This helps the cake hold its shape when cutting, though it’s still a pretty fluffy cake.
- Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.