Fruity, soft cake layers filled with crushed pineapple, frosted with a vanilla coconut milk frosting, and covered with toasted coconut and dried pineapple decor. This Pineapple Coconut Cake is a beautiful, delicious dessert!
Cakes for Gifts
In July, my in-laws celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. To celebrate, my husband and I, along with a few other family members, cooked them dinner. And I, of course, signed up to make them a cake.
My father-in-law is like my husband in that he is not a big dessert guy. He’ll try a few bites, mostly to be kind and polite, but desserts are just not his thing.
My mother-in-law though, she’s like me, and loves dessert. I gave her several different cake options for her anniversary celebration, and she chose this Pineapple Coconut Cake.
Pineapple Coconut Cake
The layers of this cake were inspired by my mom’s hummingbird cake recipe. I made a few modifications to her recipe. The ingredients are:
- All purpose flour
- Baking soda
- Vegetable oil
- Vanilla extract
- Canned crushed pineapple
- Crushed bananas
Pineapple and bananas give the cake a lighter, fruiter feel that is perfect for summer.
For the filling I cooked crushed pineapple with sugar and cornstarch, to make something similar to a pineapple jelly. Some grocery stores sell jarred pineapple jelly, and I think that would be a fine substitute if you’re looking to save a few minutes.
For this frosting I used:
- Full fat canned coconut milk
- Instant vanilla pudding mix
- Cool Whip
The coconut milk gives the frosting a little extra coconut flavor!
I have mentioned in many posts that although I love dairy, I can’t eat a lot of it. Therefore, I rarely make cream cheese frostings. However, I do think softened cream cheese would work well in place of the coconut milk in this frosting. You just might need to add a little powdered sugar to the frosting if you give it a try!
For finishing touches, I toasted sweetened coconut flakes to spread along the outside, and dried a few pineapple slices.
There are multiple instructions online for making dried pineapple flowers. Most use fresh pineapple. The day I wanted to make the flowers, my town seemed to be out of fresh pineapples, so, I used canned pineapple rings.
Does canned pineapple work? Yes. Is it as pretty as real pineapple? Eh…
How do I make dried pineapple flowers from canned pineapple?
- Cut pineapple rings horizontally in half, or if possible, in thirds.
- Lay the cut pineapple rings on paper towels and allow to sit for about an hour, to help dry out the juices.
- Preheat your oven to 225 degrees and line a baking sheet with either silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Place your pineapple slices on the prepared surface of the baking sheet.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, then flip the slices and bake for another 30 minutes, or until edges are a deep, golden brown.
- While the slices are still warm, place your hand over each one with your fingers spread, and slowly squeeze the ring towards its center until your fingers meet, so that it bunches up like a flower.
- Place each individual pineapple flower in a muffin tin. Let cool completely before using as decoration.
This Pineapple Coconut Cake is beautiful, fruity, dreamy dessert!
Pineapple Coconut Cake
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 8 ounce can crushed pineapple not drained
- 1 3/4 cups mashed ripe banana
- 20 ounce can crushed pineapple not drained
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 cups full fat canned coconut milk
- 2 3.4 ounce boxes instant vanilla pudding mix
- 8 ounce package Cool Whip thawed
- 2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
- 1 20 ounce can pineapple rings
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom of three, 8″ round cake pans with parchment paper. Butter and flour sides of pan.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Once well mixed, add the remaining ingredients. Whisk until ingredients are evenly combined.
- Pour batter evenly among the three prepared pans. Bake for 24-28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake layers comes out with just a few crumbs.
- Let cool completely before removing from pans.
- Heat small pot on stove top over medium heat. Add crushed pineapple, sugar, and cornstarch.
- Whisk continuously until mixture has thickened, about 5-7 minutes.
- Let cool completely before using to fill cake layers.
- In a large mixing bowl, use electric mixer fit with whisk attachment to beat coconut milk and pudding mixes until smooth and thickened.
- Fold in Cool Whip. Refrigerate frosting until ready to use.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Spread coconut in even layer on mat.
- Stirring coconut every 3-4 minutes, bake until coconut turns a golden brown, about 10 minutes. Watch closely as this will happen quickly. Let cool before using to decorate cake.
- Cut 7-9 pineapple rings horizontally in half, or if possible, in thirds (cut more than you think you will need as they will not all turn out).
- Lay cut rings on paper towels and allow to sit for about an hour.
- Preheat oven to 225 degrees and line a baking sheet with either silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Place your pineapple slices on prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes, then flip the slices and bake for another 30 minutes, or until edges are a deep, golden brown.
- While the slices are still warm, place your hand over each one with your fingers spread, and slowly squeeze the ring towards its center until your fingers meet, so that it bunches up like a flower. Place each individual pineapple flower in a muffin tin. Let cool completely before using as decoration.
- Level cakes with a cake leveler or serrated knife. Spread pineapple filling evenly over two of the layered cake layers.
- Stack the two layers on top of each other. Place the final cake layer, leveled side down, on the top of the cake.
- Use frosting to cover sides and top of cake. If needed, refrigerate or freeze the cake and frosting for a few minutes between each frosting layer application.
- Press coconut evenly over cake. Press flowers in desired locations.
Disclaimer: All nutritional information provided on this website is an estimate only and is not guaranteed.
If you enjoyed this Pineapple Coconut Cake, you should check out these other SugarSpicesLife recipes:
Lemon Butter Bars
Bananas Foster Cake
African Chicken with Pineapple Salsa
Links to items used to make this recipe:
Looks so yummy. Can’t wait to try it!
Thanks!!! I hope you enjoy it!!
Hello, this cake looks so great, I will be trying to make it. The cake ingredients include banana, do you have any recommendation for a substitute? I don’t know if the banana flavor will be strong for someone who doesn’t like bananas.
It’s a mild flavor but if you want yo try something different I would use apple sauce!