This Pineapple Coconut Cake Recipe is the most moist and delicious pineapple coconut cake perfected with a smooth, sweet and flavorful pineapple filling and topped with a creamy rich coconut buttercream making this Southern classic cake one for the ages! Similar to this classic Coconut Cake recipe, this one is a must make! If you love these flavors, try this Pineapple Cupcakes recipe, Toasted Coconut Pie, Pineapple Sheet Cake and Hummingbird Cake too!
Big Mama’s classic coconut cake recipe was considered a masterpiece in Winona, Mississippi. Back in the day, Big Mama would take a whole coconut, crack it and then grate the insides right over the perfect white cloud of frosting.
Big Mama’s secret was a pineapple filling tucked inside the layers of the coconut hinted cake. It took you by surprise because it added just the right amount of unique flavor to an otherwise “been there, done that” classic.
What Makes This Southern Coconut Cake Recipe Taste So Great?
Layers of tender, moist coconut cake similar to this Yellow Cake Recipe, sweet pineapple filling, and whipped coconut cream cheese frosting pair together perfectly. The pineapple isn’t the star like it is in this Pineapple Upside Down Cake however it shines brightly. The bright flavors melt in your mouth and are sure to be a hit in your home and on your holiday dessert table.
Pineapple Coconut Cake Ingredients: Easy Coconut Cake Recipe Starting with the Cake Batter
Everyone loves a moist tender cake, and this one is exactly that. It melts in your mouth with each and every bite. As we all know, every perfect cake starts with a perfect batter. I love butter based cakes like this Sour Cream pound cake because the flavor of real butter is undeniable. It is a wonderful fat for all of your baking needs.
However for a more moist cake, I add another ingredient: oil. The oil helps to keep the cake batter wet to some degree, and it coats all of the crumbs. I also add a large amount of eggs to this cake which creates a much softer texture overall. Finally for additional moistness, I use sour cream. The flavor is rich, and the end results are incredible.
Because I don’t want to overwhelm the coconut in this cake because pineapple is also a star, I add just a teaspoon of coconut to the final batter. Don’t worry. It still shines through but isn’t too much!
Pineapple Curd Filling
This is a true southern treat. Adding pineapple curd to the middle of coconut cakes is a southern tradition my Big Mama loved doing. This isn’t a hard recipe at all, but the final results taste tropical and southern all at once.
Starting with canned pineapple so the results are consistent, I like to use the smaller tidbits so the pineapple doesn’t have too much bite. I also liven it up with butter and finally bring out the flavor with citrus.
I use fresh lemon juice but you can also use lime or orange if that is your preference. Cooking it down and thickening it up with cornstarch allows it to be smooth and thick enough to spread between the different layers of the cake.
Coconut Cake Frosting
This Coconut Cake Frosting is the perfect “icing” on the cake. It is a wonderful complement to the pineapple filling and tender layers of cake. The base of the frosting is cream cheese. I really love cream cheese as a base for most buttercreams, frostings and icings because it provides another level of richness and tang that brightens the flavor beyond just using butter.
Confectioner’s sugar is used instead of granulated sugar because it really incorporates into the frosting easily when beating the ingredients in your stand mixer. You don’t taste the granules but instead just the perfect sweetness whipped wonderfully into the creamy frosting.
Another special ingredient I add is heavy whipping cream. Just a little added to the frosting goes a long way. It gives it a lift and also provides it with a texture of whipped cream, which I happen to love!
Easy Pineapple Coconut Cake with Cake Mix
This question popped up a lot online. There are tons of people who would like to make this even easier. Could you save time and effort by just using a cake mix instead of making the cake layers by scratch?
Sure you definitely could! You can use a butter cake mix, yellow cake or even a white cake mix and add coconut flavoring to it to enhance the flavor and easily take steps away.
I would suggest adding just 1 teaspoon of coconut flavoring since it can be very strong in flavor. You don’t want to overwhelm the cake. Of course if you LOVE more of that flavor, add up to 2 teaspoons.
Can this be made into a Pineapple Coconut Bundt Cake?
Many people ask if I can convert layer cakes on my website into a bundt cake. This cake is no different. It will just require a few tweaks. While I haven’t tested the cake batter as a bundt, I know that you can make this as a bundt.
I would suggest using a 12 inch bundt pan so it can handle a lot of batter. Bake at the same temperature and make sure begin looking at the cake around 45-50 minutes.
If you are looking for more incredible Southern cake recipes, check out these:
Pineapple Coconut Cake
- Stand mixer
For the Cake
- 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 6 large eggs room temperature
- 2 egg yolks
- 3 cups sifted cake flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup sour cream room temperature
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp coconut extract
For the Pineapple Filling
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups crushed pineapple with juice
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Frosting
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 4 oz cream cheese room temperature
- 2 cups confectioner's sugar
- 1 tsp heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp coconut extract
- 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
For the Cake
- Start by preheating your oven to 325°F then liberally spray 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with non-stick baking spray.
- In your mixer bowl, add butter and oil and beat for 2 minutes on high speed. Slowly add in sugar and beat on high speed for an additional 4-5 minutes until very pale yellow and fluffy. Next, add eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, combining well after each addition and scraping down the sides as needed.
- Turn your mixer down to its lowest speed, and slowly add flour into batter in two increments then add baking powder and salt. Be careful not to overbeat.
- Lastly, add sour cream, vanilla and coconut extracts, scrape down sides and mix until just combined and turn off mixer. The finished batter should resemble a pale yellow color with a silky thick texture.
- Evenly pour cake batter into prepared baking pans and place in oven to bake for 27-32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes just barely clean but don't over bake (crucial not to over bake this cake)!!
- Remove cakes from oven and rest in pans for 10 minutes. The cake layers should have a rich golden color and spongy texture with tiny bubbles on their tops. Invert cakes from pans onto cooling racks until cooled.
For the Filling
- Add all ingredients into a medium sized pot over medium heat. Begin to stir allowing the butter and all ingredients to melt into the crushed pineapple. Cook for about 8-10 minutes until the mixture as thickened. Turn off heat and allow filling to cool to room temperature.
For the Frosting
- Add butter and cream cheese to the bowl of your mixer and beat on high speed until it begins to thicken and fluff.
- Next slow down mixer and carefully add in confectioner’s sugar. Once all sugar has incorporated, turn mixer back to high to continue whipping.
- Add in heavy cream, vanilla and coconut extract and continue whipping until it is smooth, light and a fluffy frosting.
- To Assemble, add pineapple filling between layers then frost entire cake with cream cheese frosting then gentle pat the sides and top of the cake with coconut flakes. Serve.