This easy Coconut Cake recipe has moist layers of soft coconut cake, pineapple filling, and topped with coconut cream cheese frosting. It’s one of my favorite cakes of all time!
I’ve reached food nerd status with how happy this Pineapple Coconut Cake makes me. It’s incredible! Dare I say it–it’s on the same level as my Mom’s ridiculously amazing German Chocolate Cake. It’s that good!
The cake is incredibly moist (hate that word, but it must be used here), and the flavor combination of pineapple, coconut and buttercream are magical.
I also love that the cake, filling and frostings can be made ahead, and even the fully assembled cake tastes better made ahead of time.
The original recipe was from Utah State Fair Winner Lisa Blodget, and was shared by Si from A Bountiful Kitchen, and I adapted this version! I added a cream cheese buttercream frosting with a splash of coconut milk for extra creaminess and hints of coconut flavor.
It really is the best coconut cake recipe!
How to make Coconut Cake:
Combine Dry Ingredients: Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
Cream Butter and Sugar: In a separate mixing bowl, beat the butter on medium speed with electric mixers until light and fluffy. Add sugar and mix 1 minute. Add coconut extract and 1 ¼ cups of coconut milk.
Finish Batter: Gradually add flour mixture and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. In another bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the batter until incorporated.
Bake Cakes: Line bottom of 8” cake pans with parchment paper and spray bottom and sides of pan lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Divide batter evenly between the pans. Bake at 350 degrees F 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Cool and Slice: Remove the pans from the oven and allow them to cool for 5 minutes before inverting them onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Use a sharp serrated knife to cut each cake round in half horizontally, so that you end up with four thin cake rounds.
Make Filling and Frosting: Meanwhile, make the pineapple filling and coconut cream cheese frosting, and then you’re ready to assemble the cake.
Assemble Coconut Cake:
Place one cake layer on a serving plate and spread half of the pineapple filling over it. Top with second cake layer, and smooth some of the coconut cream cheese frosting on top.
Top with third layer of cake. Spread remaining pineapple filling on top. Top with the last later of cake. Frost the sides and top of the cake. Sprinkle with shredded coconut flakes, if desired. For best results, refrigerate the coconut pineapple cake for a few hours before serving.
Make Ahead and Freezing Instructions:
The coconut cake can be fully assembled 1-2 days ahead of time, stored in the fridge before serving. The pineapple filling and coconut frosting can be made up to a week in advance, or frozen for several weeks. Allow the frosting to come to room temperature before using. Cool the baked cakes completely. Torte in half, then wrap each layer really well in plastic wrap and place in a ziplock freezer bag. Freeze for up to one month. Frozen cakes are easier to work with, and to frost.
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- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of two 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper and spray the bottom and sides of the pan lightly with cooking spray.
- Mix dry ingredients In a mixing bowl; flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a separate mixing bowl beat the butter on medium speed with an electric hand mixer or stand mixer for 1 minute, until light and fluffy. Add sugar and mix until well creamed together. Add 1 ¼ cups canned coconut milk and coconut extract and mix.
- Gradually add flour mixture and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.
- Beat egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the batter until incorporated.
- Bake: Divide cake batter evenly between prepared cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, or with few moist crumbs.
- Cool: Remove the pans from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before inverting them onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Torte Cakes: Once cakes have cooled, use a sharp serrated knife to torte/cut each cake round in half horizontally, so that you end up with four thin cake rounds.
- Add all ingredients to medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir well to combine. Cook, stirring frequently, until mixture thickens and looks "glossy", about 5-8 minutes.
- Cool: Pour filling into a container and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the filling. Once cooled, cover container and refrigerate until ready to use, up to one week.
Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Beat butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add powdered sugar and a splash of the remaining coconut milk and mix until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add a little more milk, to thin, or powdered sugar to stiffen, if needed, until you reach your desired frosting consistency.
- Stir in coconut flakes, saving some for sprinkling on the sides and top of the cake, if desired.
- Place one cake layer on serving plate. Spread half of the pineapple filling over it. Top with another cake layer, and smooth a layer of cream cheese frosting over it. Top with third cake layer. Spread remaining half of the pineapple filling over it. Top with last (4th) cake layer. Frost the sides and top of the cake with coconut cream cheese frosting. Sprinkle outsides of cake with shredded coconut, if desired.
- Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, before serving. (Tastes even better the next day!)
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I originally shared this recipe February 2018. Updated March 2021 and April 2023.
Some process photos by Nikole from The Travel Palate
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