piña colada cake

You might want to start rolling your eyes right now, you know, to get a head start before you hear what I’m about to say next: You know that time I dashed off to Aruba for a lazy weekend? I couldn’t find a decent piña colada anywhere. I know! Can you imagine having to suffer like this while on vacation? I mean, life is hard enough when your resort has a water slide with no age limit that deposits one mere feet from the swim-up bar; where you can cat-nap under your cabana while reading a book — with pages — any time being awake is just too exhausting to bear and wake up to gaze at the turquoise water meeting the impossibly blue sky until all of your thoughts file neatly into order. Obviously a watered-down piña colada from a piña colada mix is taking things just one step too far.

good things start here

All joking aside, can we eversobriefly have a moment of silence for a once-great drink that’s been drained of all frolic and joy — waves of sharp pineapple juice, creamy coconut foam and a dark island rum undercurrent — by beachside hotel bars trying to increase their profit margins? That pour corn sweetened weakly flavored mixes from cartons and clear rum from a no-name brand with ice into a blender and think this is what one travels all the way from NYC in the dead of winter for? Once upon a time, a coworker taught me the secret to astoundingly delicious piña coladas, and it is not pineapple juice but crushed pineapple from a can in its juice. You run this through the blender with ice, cream of coconut and enough dark rum to make you arch your eyebrows and blink a few times after the first sip, but quickly return for your second, pour it into a glass, pop a pineapple wedge and a paper umbrella — yes, even if you’re snowbound in your living room in the Northeast, actually especially if so — near the rim and beam yourself anywhere you want to be.

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Of course, we are now back to the grind, back to reality and no matter how luxurious this whole consolidated nap schedule feels (parents of toddlers, can I get a little hey-ya! on that?) I hardly think it would be appropriate Sunday afternoon behavior to whirl up a blender of piña coladas (plus, the blender the would wake the baby). And so, I think we should sublimate these urges where all great urges are sublimated: in cake. But I hope it doesn’t feel like settling — the cake is moist, not too sweet (the glaze is a great contrast, not just overkill) and comes together quickly. Plus it’s got all of the ingredients that make the drink great, but you can share it with your underaged kitchen help when they wake up.

to bake

One year ago: Arroz Con Leche (Rice Pudding) and Baked Rigatoni with Tiny Meatballs
Two years ago: Meatball Sliders and Key Lime Coconut Cake (obviously, I dream of cakes like this every year at this time)
Three years ago: Escarole and Orzo Soup with Meatballs and Spicy Sweet Potato Wedges
Four years ago: Red Split Lentils with Cabbage, Indian-Spiced Cauliflower and Potatoes and Cucumber and Scallion Raita

Piña Colada Cake

Note: Cream of coconut is different from coconut milk; it is a very sweet, thick white liquid while coconut milk is unsweetened, just water and pressed coconut flesh. I used cream of coconut because it had a stronger coconut flavor. If you can only find coconut milk, however, in one test of the cake (that was delicious but didn’t have the coconut oomph I wanted) I used a cup of it instead, used all of the brown sugar and added 3/4 cup granulated sugar.

If you cannot get fresh pineapple, grab a small can of pineapple (in 100% pineapple juice, not syrup). The juice in the can can be used for the glaze. You’ll get a sharper flavor, of course, from fresh pineapple.

2 cups (250 grams or 8 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (113 grams or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup light (55 grams or 2 ounces) brown sugar
1 tablespoon (15 ml) dark rum
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (237 ml) cream of coconut
1/2 cup (72 grams or 2 1/2 ounces) finely chopped fresh pineapple (or pineapple from a can, strained, juice reserved)

To brush over the cake
1 to 2 tablespoons rum (optional)
2 tablespoons pineapple juice (optional)

1 cup (120 grams or 4 ounces) powdered sugar
Pinch of table or fine sea salt
1 1/2 to 3 tablespoons pineapple juice

2 tablespoons dark rum for sprinkling over cake (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan and line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper, then butter parchment. (Alternately, you can use a cooking spray, either with just butter or butter and flour to speed this process up.)

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat eggs, one at a time, and rum. Add cream of coconut and mix; the batter will look curdly and worrisome but will all work out in the end. Add dry ingredients, half at a time, mixing and scraping down bowl between additions. Mix only until flour is just incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, fold in bits of pineapple.

Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge of pan. Invert onto rack and discard parchment.

For extra flavor, while the cake is still hot you can brush it with rum or pineapple juice.

Cool cake completely at room temperature, or in the fridge if you are impatient for cake (who isn’t?). Once completely cool, place powdered sugar and salt in a small bowl with 1 1/2 tablespoons pineapple juice and whisk until a thick glaze forms. Thin glaze only as needed, adding additional pineapple juice a teaspoon at a time until glaze is just thick enough to pour. Pour glaze into middle of cake and if it’s too thick to crawl to the edges itself, nudge it with a spatula until the top is covered. Serve immediately or let it set in the fridge for 20 minutes or so.

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343 comments on piña colada cake

    1. deb

      We bought the Havana Club from a Duty-Free a few years ago (obviously, we use it often!). We were headed back from the Carribean, I think. Best part: $9.99!

      Jess — Thanks!

  1. Jess

    First? Really? And all I wanted to tell you about was a typo… I know how you feel about them.

    In the paragraph in the recipe that says “If you can’t get fresh pineapple…” it should be a small can OF pineapple. ;-)

    This looks like a winner!

  2. Carole

    I didn’t know you could you even bring it back to the US. Had I known I would have bought a lifetime supply. Next time I will, for sure. Thanks!

    1. deb

      Is Havana Club illegal? If you buy it at a Duty-Free store in the airport? Are the Feds going to come for me? Better get my papers in order! :)

      Kristen — Cupcakes, definitely, but you have to put an umbrella on top of each.

  3. We have been finding Cream of Coconut in the ethnic food aisles, asian and indian foods call for it. We also have a great asian market near by, so we get it there.

    I am going to make this cake for a celebration later this week!

    My boyfriend gave me a bottle of Cream of Banana liquor for Valentines Day, so I’v been making yummy drinks with the Banana liquor, Cream of coconut and pineapple juice. Yum-o!

  4. oh my – from a girl who will eat pineapple until it is physically impossible to continue doing so, i am thrilled to bits about this cake! good move, too, on using cream of coconut instead of coconut milk. i made a cake last year with coconut milk that fell just a bit short – i now know how to improve it! thanks :)

  5. hdelway

    Bad girl! Using Havana Club in a cake – that stuff is gold! Though, the cake sounds major yummy. Plus you probably aren’t a lush like me with at least three different bottles of rum hangin’ out in my cabinet. (Please, don’t ask about tequilla choices – that is really embarrassing.)

  6. Perhaps the reason I’ve never gotten into Pina Coladas is because I’ve never had a proper one. That being said, this cake looks like a great way to get moving in the right direction. I also whipped up a little taste of spring this weekend- though my inspiration wasn’t quite as exotic as Aruba – I went for a Lemony Olive Oil Cake with a Zesty Lemon Rosemary Glaze instead. An all-purpose brunch or post-dinner dessert cake, in my humble opinion. Looks like they could be second cousins in that regard.

  7. Somehow the snow drifts seem more bearable when I can think about things like lemony pasta and pina colada cake. I needed this. Well, I think you know what I mean by “needed”… ;)
    cathy b.

  8. Julia

    I think Havana Club is legal, as long as you got it legally. You must have gotten it at a Duty Free before we were limited to 3oz of liquids. I brought some back this year and had to throw it out before my connecting flight home… I cried.

    1. deb

      Pina Colada ratio — Yes, I will get you those soon. Thought we’d tinker around last night but the blender scares the cahoots off the kid. It’s too sad to be worth it.

      Julia — But don’t they check in your liquids at the gate when you buy them at Duty Free? And you pick them up when you arrive?

      As you can tell, I’m fascinated by all this. Look at me, breaking the law! I never knew I was so edgy. Also, I wish I’d bought more bottles had I know I wouldn’t always be able to get them, like I said, it was $10.

  9. Hey-ya on the consolidated naps! We have those now too!
    This cake sounds so delish and right up my alley. Two of my favorite flavors in one..coconut and pineapple! Almost makes me forgive you for bringing up that vacation again (as I look out my window at sideways freezing rain). Can you give an actual recipe for the pina coladas, rather than your thumbnail sketch? I’m thinking those may help me get through March.
    Thanks for another great recipe idea Deb!

  10. Brooke

    Soo want a pina colada on this dreary day! Oddly, the best one I’ve ever had was at a resort near Phoenix (and I’ve had several in the Caribbean). I still dream of it even 7 years later . . . . Perhaps this cake will have to do!

  11. Jennifer W

    I’m home with a cold today and this is making me want to drag myself out of bed and into my boots to hunt down some coconut milk so that I can make this cake RIGHT THIS MINUTE. Not well enough for work, but clearly well enough to bake.

  12. I can’t tear my eyes away from that perfect, bright white icing. My powdered sugar icings always absorb into my cakes and disappear, doing all kinds of not-very-appetizing things to the cake’s texture and sweetness factor in the process. They’re so disappointing, that I usually just skip them nowadays. I scrolled down to discover your secret, and duh, it’s all about the sugar to liquid ratio! I (and the recipes I’ve been following) have been getting it all wrong: way too much liquid, not enough sugar. I repeat: Duh. Sometimes I am not very smart. Thanks for this, Deb.

  13. Christyna

    Be still my beating heart… Yum!!!! This piña coladaloving Puerto Rican girl will definitely be making this cake ASAP! Do you think this beauty would do well in a bunt pan?

  14. I love a good pina colada. I agree that the only way to get it right is to use crushed pineapple in it’s own juice. I’ve been known to blend up the pineapple and coco lopez and leave it in the fridge mixed for “anytime” use. (1 can of coco lopez and 1 large can of pineapple.) Throw in a handful of ice and rum to taste and you’ve got a fast drink with very little mess. I’ve even used it to make a rum free version for the kids that way. Or, throw in a frozen banana instead of the ice (and no rum) for a fast and filling breakfast! The possibilities are endless… like cake… I always like cake… thanks for making that leap and showing me the way!

  15. SarahB

    Will you please give us your Pina Colada recipe? The last ones I made were abysmal failures, I used fresh pineapple, coconut milk, rum…they were weak and wattery and just not good.

  16. Deanna B

    I love the idea of a pina colada cake, especially since it uses Coco Lopez which I could eat straight from the can.

    I had an Oscar party yesterday, and between me and my cousin who made the desserts, the party was an ode to all things Smitten, which means that everything tasted amazing. (And FYI, the pickling liquid from the pickled grapes is AMAZING mixed with club soda and vodka.)

  17. Christie

    My bff just cleaned out her local grocery store of Coco Lopez cans so that she could take them with her to Hawaii. She said the drinks were terrible down there. Apparently, these nasty pina coladas are a global crisis. We’re virgin drinkers, which makes the mix even more critical because we don’t have the rum to drown out the nastiness. :)

  18. karin

    A friend was just telling me that her duty free bottles of tequila (coming back from Cabo) were taken from her in customs upon landing in Denver! So she never even had a chance to open the darn bottles before they were confiscated.

  19. YUM YUM! I hear you on the pina colada – when i am on vacation i expect fresh drinks when it comes to pina colada and strawberry daiquiri – if the bartender serves me something out of the mixer i throw it right back! Awesome cake! Love it!

  20. Wow I just made a pineapple coconut cake yesterday! Alas I did not have the tropical vacation for inspiration, just mounds of snow. Mine was totally different – with shredded, toasted coconut in a denser, pound cake type – but also with fresh pineapple! I have a fear of canned fruit.

  21. Abby

    Count mine as another request for the pina colada recipe! Also, this writing is your best in weeks. I might not make the cake (but I might! I got a Kitchen Aid!), but your writing kept me reading all the way through.

  22. Yum! When I was on a recent vacation in Costa Rica I had the most amazing pina colada(s) at this little dive of a beach bar. They were chopping up fresh pineapple, scraping the meat out of fresh young coconuts, and free pouring the rum. Amazing. I love pineapple in cake (and as the base in muffins), I can’t wait to try this one out :)

  23. Pina Colada cupcakes with tiny umbrellas in them? Maybe I can spear some pineapple wedges or a maraschino cherry onto the umbrella? OMG this will absolutely be my sister-in-law’s birthday “cake”. She loves anything pina colada/key lime flavored. Thanks for this, Deb!

  24. Katie E.

    Thanks for the great idea! I’m 4 months pregnant, and your description of a creamy piña colada was making me crave pre-pregnancy indulgences. Now I’ll just make delicious cake! =)

  25. Shirow66

    This cake sounds brilliant as I’m a huge rum nut and Piña Colada fan!
    Just for reference, the best Piña Colada recipe is the Spiced Colada. Do a google search to find the recipe on

  26. I was planning on making pina colada bread (which was mostly like my banana bread recipe), but now I’m going to need to do a little compare and contrast, because, you know, cake.

  27. First off, let me just say that I LOVE pina coladas which made me that much more excited to look at this recipe. I’m sold (especially with the frosting although I suspect that when I make this recipe, I’ll be doing a double batch)!

  28. Iris

    Looks delicious Deb! On your photo of Jacob, “assistant” is spelled incorrectly. I’ve made your blood orange olive oil cake twice now. It’s delicious and so moist.

    1. deb

      Iris — Thanks, will fix.

      Arti — It’s part of a stand and dome set that was on our wedding registry (almost 6 years ago!) at Crate and Barrel. Not sure if they still have it (update: yes they do). It’s surprisingly lightweight for the size and the edges aren’t smooth, which is odd. But with the dome on, I’ve been impressed by how much more moist it seems to keep the cake then just putting foil over a cake plate. It’s like a little terranium in there!

  29. Jen

    I am so going to make pina coladas this weekend! Not the cake (although I will save it for another time) but the drinks. YUM. We can turn up the heat and I’ve been saving my paper umbrellas from Pearl River for SOMETHING. This is it!

  30. Arti

    I tried making your raspberry buttermilk cake (a staple at our home) tropical last summer. I added mangoes and coconut milk, but found the coconut flavor unpronounced. I am going to try it with coconut cream this time through. I added pureed mangoes in the batter and toasted coconut on top – It was tropical (albeit tropical winter), but lacked bold flavors.

    I am (finally) in the market for a cake stand. I love yours. Do you like it? Does the little ridge at the rim bother you? Any recommendations on where I can buy one? I have checked out the usual culprits at Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn and williams sonoma, but would like your recommendation if you have one.

    P.S: I rarely buy cookbooks but I swear I am going to stand in line to get yours :)

  31. vanessa

    LOL. Your timing is amazing. I am moving to Costa Rica in two weeks and I have been dreaming of tropical desserts / tropical fruit / tropical drinks. I may just have to make this for my in-laws before we move!!

  32. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to put a pina colada into a dessert…I’m definitely gonna have to give this a try! I’ve been experimenting on my own using rum in some recipes, and I really don’t think you can go wrong ;)

  33. Yummy. I’ll have to try these for my next cupcake adventure. The fiance won’t eat this because he doesn’t like coconut, but these look like something to take into work… although the boss won’t eat them either!

  34. This sounds so good! And I was just thinking “pineapple” this morning…I was figuring out how, if it takes 2 to 2 1/2 years to get a pineapple from a top, then if I planted one every month..I’d have a supply of pineapples coming in at least every month to a few months, depending on what survives! haha..think I will make this cake instead…

  35. Pattyk

    I have a question about the glaze. Would there be a way to use the cream of coconut in the glaze instead of powdered sugar? Maybe cream cheese and cream of coconut in some combination.

    1. deb

      Patty — I think a cream cheese and coconut glaze would be delicious.

      Carrie — My mind just boggles over this! What on earth is a Duty-Free shop next to your airport gate if you cannot legally shop there? I mean, this was the kind that packed up your stuff for you and you picked it up from flight attendants once we arrived home; we hardly snuck it in! Can’t remember if we were returning from the Bahamas or Mexico. We’ll be in touch when they come for me! :)

  36. I just finished dealing with about 15 (no joke) pineapples last month baking festive pineapple tarts and didn’t think I can look at another pineapple anymore but for this? Yup, looks like I’ll be lugging home another one this weekend. Piña Colada rules, period.

  37. Oh boy, this is exactly what I need to brighten up my post-Valentines Day, pre-Spring Break blues. I will be sure to make this this weekend and hide all of the leftovers from my family…

  38. Debby

    “Pina Colada ratio — Yes, I will get you those soon.”

    Yay! I always want one of these (I prefer my virgin, however-just call me strange, but it tastes better to me) and have such a hard time getting them, even out. I’ve been subbing, when desperate, a very unhealthy (and expensive) juice drink that doesn’t even meet the standard. I can’t wait for the recipe! Could you please include what to do if you do want it without the rum?!

  39. Ali

    Mmmmm. I am thinking about trying this in a pineapple-upside-down cake kind of way–would I need/want to cut back on the sugar in the main batter to compensate?

  40. Ya’ll are killing me. Not only am I wanting to drink on a Monday night with absolutely nothing to celebrate, I am salivating over this cake. Is anybody else feeling a Marie Antoinette moment?! I have some really really good rum my kids brought me back from Puerto Rico and a fresh pineapple and I can manage the other ingredients except for the CREAM OF COCONUT. A former student of mine who bartended through college is the one who first put me on to the stuff (same brand incidentally) and swore that this plus fresh pineapple was the only way to make a decent pina colada. So glad to know that I was steered in the right direction. I am feeling a trip to the store coming on. I have got to quit reading this blog on days when I am trying to exercise restraint!

  41. Jennifer

    We’ve been making popsicles with cream of coconut and frozen pineapple with a good, sharp pina colada flavor. Now I want to try cake too!

  42. Im already dreaming of Cinco de Mayo: this cake, Ina Garten’s pink grapefruit margaritas, beans, cheese, rice and lots of guacamole. I love this cake. I love this blog, so much!

  43. I love cocktail inspired cakes and this one looks amazing :) Only, I would use rum instead of pineapple juice in the glaze. But then I guess it wouldn’t be appropriate for toddlers to taste.

  44. Robby

    I don’t mean to be nasty or negative, but your recipes so far this year haven’t been appealing. I used to drool over every post, but lately I’m not interested at all. I wonder if you’re less interested in doing this, or have just run out of ideas? Sorry but that’s how I feel :( Please go back to the indulgent, amazing recipes that are not based around veggies or pina coladas or peasant food.

  45. Jenna

    Cake looks delicious! Will definately be putting that on my to-bake list. Funny that the Havana rum seems so hard to get in the US – we’ve got some in our cupboard in New Zealand! It’s a pretty common brand in bars and liquor stores here – guess we must get it exported from Cuba, never really thought about it!

  46. Courtney S.

    Umm, Robby… no one is forcing you to be here. Deb, I think this cake looks amazing. I know you got a comment a few posts ago about a lack of vegetarian dishes and honestly, I don’t understand the criticism. I don’t rely on you to tailor your blog to my particular tastes. Even if you made a dish that isn’t something I would make at home, I still enjoy your posts, photography, wit, and spectacularly cute child. Thanks!

  47. Jennifer

    Recipes not appealing?? Are you reading the same site I am? I have been so appealed to that I have personally made at least half a dozen of the recipes posted this year and am constantly clicking “surprise me” when I’m waiting (anxiously! impatiently!) for the next post. Deb, usually I get so much more out of the process of the recipe you share and the ways you adapt to your tastes and available ingredients than the recipe itself. You have made me a more confident cook and I love that SO much more than expecting every recipe to be to my exact tastes. Thank you for your honest approach to life, family and food. Thank you!

  48. Emma

    Deb please please get rid of the comment by Robby above. Your recipes continue to be fantastic. My husband and I love it when your new posts come out so we can go home and try them out (The lemon and olive oil pasta was brilliant!)
    Can’t wait to try this cake, going hunting for a pineapple this weekend.

  49. Jane

    You are amazing! I just saw your post 10 mins ago – and am now am sitting down on my balcony on a lovely Miami night drinking one. Cheers! I haven’t had one in yeaaaaaaars (can’t even remember that far back) but you have a way with words you do!

  50. One of the weird things about the communist period in Poland was that Havana Club was available in almost every store and Cuban cigars in every kiosk, and sometimes we could buy fresh pineapples from Cuba in our local grocery. Too bad I did not know your recipe at that time.

  51. Libby

    My Puerto Rican mother-in-law (lover of pina coladas) has been sick and is recovering, and her daughter (lover of swim up bars) came immediately to mind when I read your post, so I just had to try it, even though I’m not a big coconut fan. My husband isn’t a dessert/cake eater and HE ASKED FOR SECONDS. I’ll admit, we all had seconds. It is incredible. We decided, based on empirical evidence, that sprinkling with rum is preferred (we were sprinkling individual slices so as not to intoxicate the offspring) because it definitely makes it moister.

  52. Christine

    Not fair!! Now i am totally craving a “real” Pina colada. :). I am wondering if you could use the coconut milk and add some toasted coconut to boost the flavor in the cake. It works pretty well with coconut rice…..

  53. Dani

    You couldn’t find a good pina colada because caribbean people don’t drink them. Only tourists. What? you say? you were on a resort full of tourists….yes, but I am sure locals were working there and so locals, knowing nothing about pina coladas, would not be good at making them because they would know the recipe from a book – not from instinct. They won’t even know how a good one really tastes because most would only be able to order a “decent” one at the local TGIFridays or Ruby Tuesdays. Trust me – I’m West Indian born and raised. The best place to get a pina colada is in the U.S – like Miami. West Indies, stick to a real rum punch (i.e. on of sour two of sweet three of strong and four of weak) – or a good old rum and coke…but this cake…looks ahMAZing

  54. Dani

    Also real havana club is illegal – but you can also get the legal version which I believe is puerto rican. The illegal version you can get in europe and in the caribbean in places that don’t have an embargo against cuba.

  55. Susan

    Oh how I love a good pina colada! I make mine PC’s like you do, with crushed pineapple (a little bit of orange juice, too) coco lopez, dark rum and good! I’ve even thought of dumping one over a tres leche cake, instead of the tres leche! I think I’ll try your recipe first!

  56. Marie M.C.

    Deb darling, do you know how wonderful you are? *Sigh.* My first Pina Colada was in 1975 on my first trip to Hawaii. It came in a tulip shaped glass with a small lavender orchid — a real one, not plastic — floating on the foam. Ahh. So good. So very good. (Not a mix.) You’ve brought back happy memories. It’s 40 degrees here in San Francisco but tomorrow it’s Pina Colada time, your recipe, minus the orchid. When it’s warmer — I’ll have to try the cake — like everyting you do it looks fabulous.

  57. That looks fantastic, I can almost taste it!

    Confession: I’ve never ever had a piña colada. Shocking, I know. I should really sort that out.

  58. Spring break on a plate, and I mean that in the best possible way. I am in complete agreement about the tragic demise of the pina colada. It’s like no one takes it seriously enough to even try anymore. But it’s an amazing drink! As are the original Cuban daiquiris in a way utterly different from the puréed popsicle variety everyone serves now.

  59. Barbara

    HEAVENS TO BETSY (does anyone say that anymore?) i’ve been looking for a special dessert for when my parent fly into town next month and I do believe this is the one!! Your recipes, photography and your writing is awesome. I’m confused by the Robby comment, best left ignored if you ask me… Keep up the great blog we truly enjoy it!

  60. Ceri McCarron

    This cake does look amazing and makes me want to run to my kitchen and make it. I do have a question about the flour weight. I thought a cup of flour can weigh from 4-5 oz, depending on the flour you use, but you give a weight of 4 3/4 for two cups, so is it only 1 cup of flour of are the weights off? By the way: my 10 year old daughter entered a Brownie Bake-off that was a fund raiser for the dojo where my son does martial arts, making your Brown and White Hearted Brownies. She came in second as far as ticket count went, but got a special price for outstanding and artistic (-: So thanks again for the recipe!

    1. deb

      Ceri — Yeegads, that was a typo. Now fixed! The correct weights for two cups of flour are 250 grams or 8 3/4 ounces.

      For those who cannot get enough of the tropical-drink-disguised-as-dessert thing, I forgot to link out one of my favorites: Margarita Cookies!

  61. Deb in New Canaan

    Yum! I too wonder if you could do something like pineapple-upside down cake and skip the glaze. Have you tried the wonderful Pina Colada flan in The Big Book of Outdoor Cooking and Entertaining by Cheryl & Bill Jamison? It’s s sure-fire winner, every time. And really, really easy to put together (obviously it’s not made outdoors, in spite of the book’s title).

  62. Elaine

    re Coco Lopez in the supermarket: sometimes it’s where they have the bottled cocktail ingredients, such as bloody mary mix, or whiskey sour mix. Coconut milk I usually find with the “ethnic foods” such as Indian or Thai or Latin.

  63. Wow! I don’t even like coconut much but I’m already planning to make this this weekend! I’ll pick up some coconut milk at the grocery store, I think, and make a double batch so I can use the whole 1-cup lump of butter in my fridge ;) and more of the whole pineapple for that matter. I can hardly wait!

  64. ailo

    So this cake looks amazing and all, but I think in your appendix you should include measurements for your authentic drink recipe. How much pineapple, cream, and rum! I want to make cake and drink, now!

  65. Arti

    Thanks! I will check out the cake stand. Just one suggestion for thecookbox , in case you already don’t have it indexed this way. I love the seasons, ingredients index on the web site. (+ the baby pictures with every recipe- but then again I have to remind myself it is a cookbook)

  66. You have reminded me of just how much I used to love this drink. I take some small pride in the fact that I have never resorted to drink mixes and remember making these by the pitcherful years ago using, yes…canned pineapple! My tastes in the summer have run more to my own version of margaritas but now am craving a pina colada. Sadly, at my office and not next to a water slide. Bummer.

    The ONLY problem I have with your recipe is the optional notion of rum brushed on the cake and/or put into the frosting. I say go big or go home!

  67. Gretchen

    I’m a SmittenKitchen newbie and just wanted to chime in to say how much I enjoy your blog! Great recipes and pictures, but what really keeps me coming back is your easy/funny/charming writing style. SO glad I discovered SK!! And now I must find a decent piña colada.

  68. Leah

    I have been reading the blog for a while and love it, but get disappointed because I usually can’t use your receipes as I don’t do the dairy thing. This one I’m going to try, using margarine for the butter and here’s hoping that the coconut cream will keep it moist enough. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

  69. I could really use a pina coladar ight now, or a piece of pina colada cake! And most of all I could use a vacation to Aruba, but if I go home and bake this lovely cake, crank up the heat, and sit on the couch in a bikini then maybe, just maybe, I’ll feel restored!

  70. Amy

    LOOKS AMAZING! YUM! also, now i’m craving a tropical vacation! hmph. husband and i did NOT do enough all-you-can-eat and drink on our honeymoon.

  71. Becca

    I feel like this is a silly question…. but could you substitute the dark rum with Malibu coconut rum? This looks delicious!

  72. meredith

    I bet subbing virgin coconut oil for half of the butter would add much coconut flavor, and allow you to use coconut milk instead of cream in the cake. (Or maybe this is just my love for coconut oil speaking!) Deb– thoughts?

    1. deb

      meredith — Coconut milk isn’t sweetened so the cake wouldn’t be sweet enough as posted. I suggest how to use coconut milk instead (with a sugar adjustment) in the head notes.

  73. I want to hold this cake up and say “Cheers!” -Pineapple is almosta staple in our house. This will be a winner. Thanks for mentioning the Margarita Cookies – I have been looking for a few new cookie recipes and they sounds wonderful.

  74. Melissa

    Pina colada cake and Margarita cookies!? This sounds like the beginning of a fabulous Island Themed cocktail party…

  75. Christyna

    @ Robby – You say you “don’t mean to be nasty or negative” but then you proceed with said behavior. First of all, there are many on here (overwhelming numbers in fact) who still “drool over every post”. Second, if you’re no longer interested in Deb’s work, or consider the recipes to be “peasant food”, then you could easily just not visit the sight, much less waste your time (which you obviously have too much of) to make comments that aren’t in the least bit productive. I hate when people feel the need to share an opinion that is “nasty and negative” and not at all constructive to anyone, except to stroke their own overblown sense of self-importance. Robby, your post made you sound like you’re not a very nice person. Why don’t you spend your extra time working on yourself, rather than trying to tear down other people for your own confidence boost. It’s just sad. Really.

  76. Talia

    I agree with you christyna
    im sorry robby if you dont like dishes “centered around vegetables” like most 7 year olds.
    and if you think this is peasant food, go make your own food and your own blog for rich people food because DEB IS AMAZING!

  77. Hannah

    Since I’m on a nine-month moratorium from alcohol, this is a perfect way to indulge! I just finished my first piece, and I’m on my way back to the kitchen for more…

  78. Wow, I am in a serious cake phase of my life and this looks just fantastic. I can’t wait to try it. Plus your photos always look so great on that counter of yours. Everything seems to pop so well against it :)

  79. glee

    OK, so I live in Hawaii and I just have to say: was that pineapple any good? It did not look ripe. A sweet and delish pina should be golden , not green! ick, i thought you could get any thing in the big city!!

  80. Jen

    Back in my college days, I loved to make a pina colada cake that involved a white cake mix, a can of crushed pineapple, sweetened condensed milk (poured over the top of the hot cake) and some Cool Whip mixed with coconut and pineapple as frosting. As lame as that sounds, it actually won an AWARD. And it wasn’t bad.

    HOWEVER — this looks 100 times better. And I think I should bake it immediately, just to make sure.

    Also, I totally agree with you about sub-par pina coladas. It is a travesty.

  81. Marisa

    Just sent this message to my mom and brother:
    I would like this with a dark chocolate ganache frosting or just chocolate ice cream. For my birthday cake. I’m obsessed with this cooking blog…
    I now check it before I’m about to go eat so that I can be particularly disappointed when I get to the dining hall, hah.

  82. juls

    Yummmmmmmm…Deb these turned out sooo good!(like all of your recipes always do). I turned mine into cupcakes and sprinkled some toasted coconut on top and took them to a potluck. Popularity in a paper wrapper:)

  83. christy

    if you happened to be in cuba legally, you’re allowed to bring back a small amount of cuban goods – rum, cigars, what have you – for your personal consumption. but purchasing cuban goods in a third country and bringing them into the US: totally against treasury department regulations. luckily, you don’t usually find treasury department bureaucrats waiting at customs! (on another note: $10? was this a LONG time ago? a bottle of havana club in europe will run you something like $30 euros.)

  84. Amanda

    For those interested in cupcakes: I increased the recipe amounts by 50% and it made the perefect amount for 2 dozen cupcakes. I still poked holes and drizzled juice then topped with a coconut cream cheese frosting. Turned out wonderful!

  85. I absolutely LOVE Pina Coladas and I also love cake, so naturally this is a love affair that will last more than just one night lol! I also like the touch with the coconut cream as I have had it before and I can verify that it is simply amazing. I made the cake and my entire family devoured it, thanks for the recipe.

  86. tinarina

    This cake sounds delicious and I will make it ASAP—it invokes your coconut key-lime cake which I recently made AGAIN for a party. A total fave.

    And you’re so right about the state of pina coladas and other tropical drinks in the Caribbean. You might as well be at a frat bar at a state college most of the time.

    A few years ago I went to Caneel Bay on St. John with family. Amazing pina coladas with requisite amazing beaches. Highly recommend for a splurge.

  87. OMG. I love this post…and not just because you gave a shout out to mothers of toddlers….but because you are clearly aware of the gloriousness that is cream of coconut. And obviously you didn’t just sit down with the can and a spoon….you made it to a full blown recipe. Congrats.

    But seriously–the recipe has a 70s feel to it….have you heard the rumor of a Mad Men Cookbook?? I have the “Grandmother’s Recipe Box” on my site–but none of the recipes are as enticing as this.

    Will most definitely be make this ASAP!

    Muchas Gracias for continuous inspiration!

  88. Luisa J.

    I love pineapple…..thanks for posting this! BTW how do you keep Jacob’s curls so smooth? My daughter has curls like that and they only stay smooth after a bath….for five minutes. Then they revert to rampant frizziness, conditioner be darned!

  89. I’ve found that adding pineapple (preferably fresh) to cakes is an excellent way to moisten them and give a nice zing of flavor. I have a great banana bread recipe with pineapple and coconut that is quickly gobbled up whenever I make it. Excellent recipe, Deb.

  90. Stephanie S

    Pineapple is my absolute favorite fruit! And to put it in a cake that isn’t just an upside down cake is fabulous (not that there is anything wrong with caramelized pineapple pieces, on the contrary, it’s super fantastic). I have fond memories of my mom making pina coladas when I was a kid. We had a pool in our yard and always had big summer parties and the blender was always whirring! I would steal my mom’s drink and swap my virgin colada until she noticed and stole it back. We played this game for many years :P For the longest time I didn’t realize coco lopez wasn’t a standard part of the cupboard for everyone. LOL.

  91. Brandie

    Deb, even though I’m gluten and dairy free, I still check SK every day for new fantastic recipes to drool at. Tomorrow I’m going to my neighborhood tiki bar and having a Pina Colada in your honor.

  92. That cake looks amazing, and I imagine the smell is divine. Also, the way you feel about the death of the pina colada is how I feel about the death of the margarita, which should only ever contain tequila, lime juice, and triple sec, instead of limeade or, heaven forbid, sour mix.

  93. Wow, a Pina Colida in a cake format….I don’t think it gets any better. Would it be too indulgent to eat a slice of this cake accompanied by a tall frosty Pina Colida?

  94. Sarah

    This morning I was thinking about pineapple upside down cake on my way to work, and thought I would look to see if you had any pineapple cake recipes on your site. Imagine my delight when I saw this recipe front and center- must be fate. I guess I’m making it tonight!

  95. Mommela

    Yum! Makes me think of the glorious pina colada sorbet we had last week at Commander’s Palace in New Orleans. The two together might just be mind-blowing!

  96. Francheska Medina

    Because Deb! The Pi~a Colada was born here in Puerto Rico :D you won’t find a true one anywhere else! Except in your kitchen ’cause you’re awesome

  97. So, I’ve discovered that I don’t have a sweet tooth – I have a CAKE tooth. I’m definitely putting this one on my list. (Funny, as I typed that, my fingers wrote “life”… I’m putting this one on my life. Freudian slip?!)
    I’ve made a coconut cake before and it was positively scrumptious, but I like the idea of pineapple – must make it very moist!
    Thanks again for another great post.

    I’ll diet when I’m dead.

  98. YUM! Forget capricious, rainy spring, I’m skipping straight to summer. Your description of lazing on the beach did bring a tiny tear of jealously to my eye though…

  99. diana

    just wondering if you have ever baked with coconut oil? someone in the times wrote about it today (the 2nd), maybe you saw it? but they said it was great in baked goods and this would be the perfect application, i think. since, you know, i am sure you have some free time to kill :)

    sorry if someone else already said this, i couldn’t wade through the millions of comments!

  100. Lori P

    I just found your blog (thanks to a small article in the March issue of Everyday with Rachel Ray). I just took a peek through your recipes and can’t wait to start sampling them. I will be asking my girlfriend to check the duty free shop for Havana Club while she is cruising to the Carribean this coming spring.

  101. Being from Canada, I was wondering what all the fuss was about regarding the Cuban Rum…I’ve never been without it and we don’t think of it as anyting special! Funny…it’s what you don’t have that makes it special. Kind of like this cake – wish I had some right now but it will have to wait until the weekend. It looks amazing!

  102. I have been enjoying your site for the last couple of months and even have it bookmarked on my food blog as one that I read. I am sorry that someone felt the need to be publically critical of the quality of your posts this year. That was truly uncalled for. I think that if people have those kinds of issues they should contact you by email, and in private. I think that you do a wonderful job and the fact that you already have over 200 comments on this post alone indicates to me that you are well liked and do not disappoint. I am a big fan of the Pina Colada (Mai Tais are my favorite though, the kind with the rum floating on top…sigh), and can’t wait to try this recipe. I find coconut cream in the Asian food section of my store, but I am more likely to find it in the wine section with the mixers, or at the state run liquor store. I live in a town of about 5K people so if we have it then it should be everywhere!

  103. I am a west coast-Zonie that is coming to NY. Never been in the big apple, so this will be a new, huge experience for me. I will be finishing up my college career with a 51-day internship in NYC. However, I would love to visit you if possible. Why? I would like to talk with you on how you develop your recipes, the tweaking and tasting, that has made your site so popular. I will be in NYC from April 27th – June 14th. Yep, I am seriously asking you if this is possible! Hope to hear back from you soon.

  104. Sophie Locket

    I made this cake today and it was quite nice. The flavour of the sponge wasn’t quite to my taste, which I’m guessing is because of coconut cream. It also didn’t have much of a coconut taste, next time I’ll add desiccated coconut as well. My cake also looks shorter than yours, and I baked it in a smaller tin! It also had a funny peaky thing, and the colour was green tinged. That might be because of the sugar I used(light muscovado), however. The texture is lovely, though.

  105. Oh my word. This looks absolutely amazing!!! I never knew my favorite drink could be turned into such a beautiful and tasty cake… it’s the best of both worlds!!

  106. Melissa

    Perfect new recipe, as I just got back from Cuba last night (I’m Canadian)! So excited to try this out. Will miss those fantastic pina colada’s while lying on a beautiful beach.

  107. jake

    pina coladas…add a splash of Blue Curacao for a Blue Hawaii. The pineapple fields of Maui *sigh*. If you plant the leafy top off the pineapple a spikey pineapple houseplant will eventually start growing, the one i started two years ago is starting to actually blossom and produce a pineapple (here on the Canadian Prairies)!!!

    need pina colada cake. it’s been a long, cold winter.

  108. Beth

    Deb: In the picture of this wonderful cake you have very browned edges and a little lip , which is beautiful and which I never get. Any thoughts? I have dark pans too.

  109. Emma

    I made this and it was sooooo good! Deb, I need your wisdom on two things… I’m from the Mobile area of Alabama (this is where Mardi Gras actually came from) but I go to BYU in Utah. I want to make King Cake. Do you know where I could find a recipe that won’t make me want to pull my hair out? Also, I’m a Mormon and I need to know about cooking with alcohol… Does it all bake/cook out when you heat it? I love you so much! Thanks for the amazing recipes and doable directions!

  110. Lori Rasmussen

    Just came across this a couple of days ago & this cake sounded like just the prescription I needed to get out of my Wisconsin winter blues AND to celebrate my birthday today. I felt like a layer cake so I doubled the recipe. Just pulled the pans out of the oven & it looks great. Can’t wait to slather it with pina colada frosting later & enjoy tonight with friends. Thanks so much!

  111. pjcamp

    My mom makes this.

    When she takes it out of the oven, while it’s still hot, she pokes holes all over with a wooden spoon handle and pours more pina colada mix on it to soak in. Then she frosts it with whipped cream and toasted coconut.

    You just can’t have too much coconut.

  112. shelby

    i used this recipe to make cupcakes. it made 15, and they are AMAZING! i did brush them with cruzan black strap rum, which has a nice carmelly flavor, and then spilled a bit of that into the glaze as well. the rum gave the cake a nice crunch and was quite tasty in the glaze. i used a small can of pineapple chunks, but i would use 2 next time.
    i found the cream of coconut with the pie filling in the baking aisle.
    it was a great tropical treat in this neverending minnesota winter!

  113. nikki

    Ugh! This is what I get for being behind on my reading!
    This cake would be so perfect to take to my mother in the morning, and, since I didn’t know about it, I didn’t get the ingredients at the grocery store earlier.
    Maybe next week, Mom!

  114. Sara

    Just made this cake tonight, and it was everything I hoped it would be. Since I obviously had some coco lopez left over, I did the only sane thing…I mixed up a delightful pina colada to accompany the cake. Perfect! I don’t particularly care for rum, so I used Captain Morgan’s Parrot Bay Pineapple Rum. It made everything more pineappley, and I thought it was perfect! Thanks for the recipe!

  115. I ended up making one with coconut milk, one with almond milk, in hopes that I’d like the un-coconutty one better. I actually liked it less :S but you’re right, coconut milk doesn’t give it a very strong coconut flavor. So-so.

    I was going to use real rum for one of them, rum flavoring for the other, so I could share it with non-drinkers (I really don’t know if it bakes out or not), but then I realized I don’t have any rum! I only use alcohol for cooking, aside from the very-occasional cup of Bailey’s-spiked hot chocolate, so I’m not very on top of it as far as what’s on-hand I guess.

    EMMA, I used 1 tsp rum flavoring per cake, and I think it could have done with a little more, though I don’t mind since I’m not a big rum fan – but like the coconut, I’d have liked to get the “right” flavor!

    So, all in all not a completely successful experiment, but since I got a nice moist fruity cake that was neither too rummy nor too coconutty for me, I can’t really complain! And left-over pineapple for breakfast :D

    (It did the slightly-raised edges on mine too, Beth, for the record. I thought it might be because the batter was so liquidy, though I don’t know any science to know if that’s accurate! Certainly my oven is strange, so it could just be that…)

  116. Bethany

    This is one of the few cakes I’ve made that tasted best right out of the oven. Not quite as good the second day, so eat up!

  117. Ana

    The batter was amazing, but when baked, the cake had a strong baking powder flavor. I know my baking powder and not the recipe is the culprit. What brand do you recommend?

  118. Deb I was dreaming about baking this cake as soon as I saw the post – it’s so gorgeous. I’m in the UK so had to substitute coconut milk + sugar as per your head notes instead of the creamed coconut and used fresh pineapple….The end result had a lovely texture and pleasant cake but didn’t distinctly taste like coconut, pineapple or rum?! Just wondering if in your testing if you found the coconut milk gave that coconut edge at all? Thanks!

  119. I made this cake yesterday and it turned out wonderfully! I baked it in a college dorm kitchen and had to make some of the substitutes and it still managed to be delicious! After searching two grocery stores for cream of coconut, my friend and I just gave up and bought coconut milk. We added to extra sugar and to up the coconut flavor, we threw in some sweetened shredded coconut, probably around 1/4 cup. We also used canned pineapple chunks, which we had to cut up a bit, but I was worried that crushed pineapple would have had too small of pieces. The cake tasted coconut-y enough for me and like pineapple too. Thanks for the great recipe!

  120. After reading this post, I made a glaze for a sweet potato cake recently using 1 cup of powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons water, and 1 teaspoon orange blossom water and while it was quite tasty, it was a bit too runny. The problem was that I didn’t know it would be too runny until I had already dumped it onto the cake. I guess I should have followed your directions more closely, thinning until the glaze was “just thick enough to pour”. Do you have any other cake glaze tips?

  121. deb

    Rani — I mentioned in the notes that I had started with coconut milk but felt the cake didn’t have enough coconut oomph (i.e. flavor). I put the information up there, however, just in case someone could only get coconut milk; I didn’t want to hold out if I knew a way to make the cake work with it. But the stronger coconut flavor is definitely from cream of coconut. Hope that helps.

    Emily — I only add liquid to glazes one tablespoon at a time. Sometimes in even smaller increments, like a teaspoon, after 1 tablespoon. It never ends up too thin that way. In this cake, the glaze was barely pourable. It puddled in the middle and I nudged it a bit to the edges with a spatula. I hoped I’d made this clear in the recipe but maybe not clear enough.

  122. Elaine

    I usually have success in the kitchen but this cake failed in almost every way possible from overflowing my 9″ cake pan to browning too much and falling in the middle. It was the ugliest cake I have ever made but it tasted so good that we ate it anyway. I will definitely make it again but I am going to have to do some serious problem solving first.

  123. Bea

    Made it. Followed the recipe exactly. Was quite tasty! Reminded us of our Costa Rican honeymoon where they mad pina coladas from scratch with fresh pineapple. Thanks!

  124. Jessica

    Made this for my dad’s birthday and it was PERFECT! I was lazy and used canned crushed pineapple and skipped the part about brushing on the rum and pineapple juice — still delicious. I, too, made the glaze too thin despite your warning, but it was easy enough to make a second batch.
    I just wanted to thank you for this recipe, because I love the flavor of coconut but hate the texture. I never would have thought of using cream of coconut in a cake.

  125. Volcano

    I went to the store to gather ingredients for this recipe and found that there’s yet a third beast of coconut liquidy goodness– in addition to coconut milk and cream of coconut, there’s also “coconut cream” (which comes in an aspic container in the ethnic food aisle). It seems to be the same thing as “cream of coconut” but is unsweetened. If it tastes totally non-sweet (like coconut milk) when I open it, I’ll add some sugar as you suggest, but hopefully the coconut flavor will still come through like in cream of coconut.

    Also, because this is my first time posting, let me ramble for just a moment about how great your recipes are. They’re always great, they’re always easy to tweak to incorporate ingredients that are local/in season/on sale, and they’re always good enough that I make them again (which I seldom do otherwise). I’ve got countless family members and friends hooked on your site (many of whom were previously anti-cooking). Seriously, Deb, you’re making a difference in a lot of people’s kitchens. Thanks.

  126. Whitney D.

    This looks heavenly! I cannot wait to try it! Thank you so much for posting all of these wonderful tempting recipes! It is greatly appreciated!

  127. Kristina

    I’m thinking about making this (in cupcake form) for my sister’s 21st birthday (I would make your awesome car bomb cupcakes again, except she doesn’t like chocolate!) I’m wondering if you can taste that there’s alcohol in this, as that would probably be the most fun for a 21st bday. Should I definitely brush it with rum/add rum to the glaze?

    For people who have made cupcakes from this recipe, how long did bake them?

  128. Caro

    This cake is amazing! It is one of those cakes that gets better the next day… and the day after… but didn’t survive past day 3 :)

  129. Deb, this looks fantastic! And I absolutely love your photographs. I’ve been following your blogs for a while, and even when I’ve read the entries I find myself staring at the pictures again! Do you mind if I ask what photo editing software you use? (if any!)
    Fantastic stuff as ever!

    1. deb

      Jessica — Thanks. I don’t do any fancy, just a little light adjustment, white balancing if needed and cropping/straightening in iPhoto.

  130. Emiles

    My husband and I are pina colada fanatics and I WILL be trying this for his birthday next weekend! So glad to see your love of cream of coconut…it’s exactly what we’ve found to be the secret to pinas! Will have to try the crushed pineapple in juice instead of just juice…it may make it perfect! Wish I could remember our ratios because people die for our pinas. (Life of the party on the 4th when we ide some blue and layer them with strawberry daiquiri!!!)

    Best pina colada EVER…Weber Grill in Chicago. They got us hooked.

  131. Emiles

    * dye

    And sidenote…you can get the cream of coconut in easy squeeze bottles – PERFECT for making the drinks as getting the super thick gooey stuff out of a can became an epic sticky disaster in our house.

  132. Emiles

    Have silently lurked and never posted…now three in a row. Found our recipe for pinas.
    1.5 oz. light rum
    2 oz. Cream of coconut
    2 oz. pineapple juice (will try your crushed substitute now)
    1 cup crushed ice

    blend until smooth! YUM!

  133. CB

    I just made this for a small get together and subbed malibu for the rum. 1/2 the cake was gone on the first go around. Rave reviews from everyone there. Thank you!

  134. So here’s the thing. I hate Pina Coladas. But what I have learned from this post is that I apparently have never had a good one! Just those crappy syrupy ones. After reading your description, I felt like I needed on ASAP. And that cakes now sounds amazing…now that I know what a real Pina Colada is! Thanks for sharing.

  135. Edith

    I made this cake last night to bring to a work function. The flavor was okay and the texture was decent, but there was absolutely NO coconut flavor! I used cream of coconut (after accidentally buying coconut cream… a very different product. It’s the texture of butter and unsweetened). Where or where did the coconut flavor go? With a whole cup of cream of coconut in one 9″ cake I just can’t figure out why it tasted nothing like coconut. Did anyone else have this problem?

  136. stephanie

    Thank you! This is a great recipe! We have made it a handful of times now at our pie shop in Canada and it is now in our weekly rotation. We have played around with the recipe a bit; removing the pineapple and baking a coconut cupcake with passion fruit icing (amazing) and even coconut with lime icing, strawberry icing, the list is endless. This is a really great cake recipe that is very versatile with flavours. We use coconut milk and add the extra sugar as well as adding a little bit of coconut and rum extract and it turns out perfect every time.

  137. Laura

    This recipe is fantastic, and just what my coconut cream was waiting for! I have made it three times, and everyone says how moist and addictive it is. Even my two year old, who generally doesn’t love sweets, adores this cake. Thank you!

  138. Rosalia

    I made this cake Sunday for my mom’s birthday and she absolutely loved it. Because of financial issues it was the only present I could give her so you kind of made my day.

    I did want to mention that I found the battery scary looking before I added the coconut cream. Once I added the coconute cream it actually looked a lot more like cake batter.

  139. Jen

    Oh deary me. This is the first recipe of yours that has just not worked for me. I followed it religiously (which is unlike me, I can’t resist a fiddle!) and it is not really that flavourful, and a funny consisitency. I wonder about the coconut cream.. was yours really thick? Am wondering if there was sufficient liquid, as it seems rather dry…. what a shame, I was looking forward to it, too!

  140. Lisa

    Deb, still waiting on your pina colada recipe! Living in the Caribbean, I can’t pass up the opportunity for the perfect pina colada!

  141. Corey A.

    My mother-in-law is Hawaiian and is obsessed with anything pineapple. Not to mention, anything with a little boost of booze!!! I made this cake for her birthday and we practically fell over, it was so amazing!! Thank you!

  142. Elissa

    Made this in cupcake form yesterday and it was fabulous! Not too sweet, so you could eat three and not feel sick. I can’t wait to make them again!

  143. Laura

    This is one of many of your recipes I’ve enjoyed (as a lurker…). I was trying to figure out what to do with the leftover coconut cream (the obvious drink application wasn’t possible), so I made coconut chocolate-chip pancakes, substituting the coconut cream for part of the milk and all of the butter. They did strange things on the griddle but were very tasty. Thanks for encouraging me to experiment! And thanks for all your delightful recipes — your baked potato soup and your challah are particular favorites.

  144. Char

    When I first read this recipe (you know, back in February), I made my husband go out to the store and buy ingredients for a REAL pina colada, but gosh darn it, I wanted one! We didn’t use a recipe, just threw the ingredients together until we had something tasty. My husband, who never had a true pina colada before, loved it.

    Now, onto the cake (which I made last night) – while I loved the texture, and how the cake wasn’t overly sweet, I felt it didn’t have enough pineapple flavor! I used fresh pineapple too. A bit disappointing, but not horrible.

    Thanks for all the hard work you put in, Deb!

  145. Christina

    This recipe is fantastic! It’s super easy to make and I’m learning where all kinds of new ingredients live in the grocery store (cream of coconut). Deb you can do no wrong with your recipes! No other site comes close to you with consistently delicious recipes! I’m a huge fan ~thanks!

  146. Krista

    I made this into cupcakes last night and brought them into work as a “thank you” present (about 15 minutes at 350). I added a half of vanilla bean to the glaze and dallopped a tablespoon of icing on each cupcake. Everyone loved them!

  147. Leandre

    My husband and I are vacationing now and cannot thank you enough for the pina colada “recipe.” PERFECTION in a glass.

  148. Tre-c

    Thoughts: didn’t have the rum but I did at one point and gave it away before moving to the united states so I’m kicking myself. Maybe next time I may tone down on the sugar, use coconut oil… also added some toasted coconut.. Flavor was there but more coconut is always welcome. Would be tasty as cupcakes so I will also try that next time!

  149. Yours looks great, mine looked ok as well but somewhat disappointed. Not enough coconut, rum or pineapple flavour… Just a bland cake :-(

    Will try again with a change in ratios
    Some really cheap nasty rum may help, but why no coconut flavour have no idea

    Will let you know how V2 goes

  150. Erica

    Like Andrew, mine came out pretty boring, despite following the recipe to the letter. I brushed the cake with BOTH pineapple juice and rum, and I’m glad I did as that was about the only flavor I could really detect. I used canned pineapple because I was in a rush, so I’m sure that’s the culprit on the pineapple flavor (honestly the crushed pineapple itself was low on flavor), but don’t know about the coconut. The batter tasted great, but no coconut to be found in the baked version. Maybe next time I will try using Malibu rum and adding shredded coconut into the batter as well as sprinkling it on top. Any other ideas for getting that coconut flavor bigger?

  151. Kris

    I just made this, and it turned out very flavorful and VERY moist. For those who found it dry/bland, definitely use coconut cream instead of coconut milk (try the ‘ethnic’ food section of the grocery store), and use fresh pineapple. Because the coconut cream came in a 15 oz can, I blended up the rest of it with some pineapple nectar and lots of rum. Impromptu pina coladas > crap from a mix, any day of the week.

  152. Amanda

    So I just made this for a beach themed party…and made it in the castle shaped wilton pan. It’s delicious and moist…but crumbled apart and looks like a sand castle that got made a week ago :( Going to try again….not sure what to adjust….any help?? Oh, no cream of coconut here so I used coconut milk with the extra sugar…and I baked at 325 for 50 min…but otherwise followed everything exactly

  153. alie

    i made this cake last weekend for a party and it was amazing. i usually leave any leftovers with the hosts (because i feel like it’s polite and so i won’t be tempted at home-win win) but i got sneaky and packed the rest of this one up because it was just that good.

    i couldn’t find coconut cream either, so i used coconut milk and sugar like you suggest, but i also added a half tablespoon of coconut extract to give it a little extra flavor. i was pretty pleased with the result.

    i do have one questions though – next time i might try leaving in some bigger chunks of pineapple, because i love the texture. any tips on keeping them from sinking to the bottom?

  154. I made this cake gluten & dairy-free by subbing:

    1 C Sorghum flour
    1 C Tapioca starch
    2 tsp xanthan gum
    1 stick Earth Balance

    this cake was suprisingly very easy to make and very, very moist. perfect for parties; everyone thought it was delicious!

  155. Kim

    Ohmygod. Seriously, you must find some way to spread out the amazing recipes a bit. From this one cake, I clickedandprinted FIVE other recipes! Do you know what this does to my ink and paper budget? I have a whole folder of recipes that I’m dying to try, and my husband rolls his eyes every time he hears the printer going because he knows it’s another smitten kitchen recipe!
    Honestly, Deb…it’s just not right.
    Oh, and my laundry has increased, too. All the drool and batter stains, you know.

  156. Emma

    I made this cake 3 times already!
    But i have to admit i changed a few things.. first I’veput a full cup of pinaple. miam!
    Then, instead of making just one cake, i’ve split the batter in 2, to make thinner cakes and placed them on top of anther, using a mix of crushed pinables and coconut cream to hold it all together..
    And finaly. I’ve spread coconut flakes aaaall over the glaze.. mmmmmm delicious!!!… all of my friend (event the one on diet) had at LEAST 2 servings!!

  157. Mari

    I made this cake yesterday, and it was weird….

    I used *coconut cream* instead of *cream of coconut*, and I think this might have been the problem; although it is much thicker than coconut milk and it has a strong coconut flavor, my can of coconut cream is not very sweet at all. It tastes almost like eating coconut straight out of the shell. It is a common ingredient in Thai cooking, but apparently not cocktails. :p

    Trying again tonight, with more sugar.

  158. Kat Taylor

    This is delicious!

    Instead of rum, I did 1/2 vanilla and 1/2 almond extracts (I was also reading Ina Garten’s coconut cupcake recipe) and I did cream cheese frosting (with a little more extract and 3/4 of the powdered sugar) and it was delicious.

    I really love the coconut-y flavor in this – not too cloying or sweet. I’ll have to try it with rum next time!

  159. Sioban

    This is a “better the second day” cake, for sure. The first day I found the pineapple and coconut flavors undiscernable. But day two led to much discerning. So much so that there will be no day three.

  160. Christine

    I made double the amount of this recipe,i filled the center of the cake with pineapple and iced it with coconut flavored butter cream. It was wonderfully delicious. I did not pour any of the rum or pineapple while it was still hot,However, i plan to try it exactly as directed.

  161. I’ve been following this blog for a little while now, and I was so excited to find a recipe for pina colada cake! my mother in law just made a requested one be made for her birthday tomorrow, and lucky for me you’ve posted a beautiful recipe for it!

  162. Julia

    Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe. I have made it at least 8 times now. It is a really great dessert following a Mexican Fiesta. Tonight I doubled the recipe, made a two layer cake, and then did the glaze but added Coconut Creme to it and then covered the entire cake with coconut, it is fabulous!!!! Usually I just do the recipe exactly as described (and always brush it with RUM!!!). What a great cake!!!!

  163. barbara0621

    This cake was delish. I really liked that it was one layer, with some glaze. Don’t really like layer cakes. If your book will have lots of single layer cakes, I will be the first (o!!r second) to buy it

  164. Shelagh

    Finally tried this after a year of desire! I could only find coconut milk (definitely not enough coconut flavour), so toasted about 1/2 cup of shredded coconut and added it to the glaze. Delicious!

  165. Candy

    We baked the cake today but it was too bland although it was moist. It probably needs 1/2 cup of “packed” brown sugar. Also we couldn’t taste the pineapple. We will try to make it again but will reduce the cocconut cream and substitute it with pineapple juice? We’ll see. For some who wants to know where to purchase coconut cream, you can get them from oriental stores. Thanks for sharing your recipe though.

  166. Bree

    I made this cake for a small dinner (4 ppl) and everyone enjoyed it. Husband took leftovers to work and it was finished quickly. I made the cake exactly as written (fresh pineapple and cream of coconut) the day before the dinner and brushed it with rum while still warm. The next day, I brushed it with pineapple juice to make sure it would still be moist. I only had 2/3 c. powdered sugar but the glaze still worked out. For those who found the cake bland, make sure your pineapple (if using fresh) is ripe. Pineapples don’t ripen after they’ve been picked and if your pineapple looks like the one in the recipe picture (sorry, Deb!), it’s not ripe. They ripen from the bottom up, so buy the one with yellow closest to the top. Alternately, smell the bottom–the stronger the smell, the more ripe the pineapple.

  167. Naomi

    Wow! As a Canadian, never have I been more appreciative of the bottles of Havana Club that I bought for dirt cheap on my vacations in Cuba! That said, I’m tempted to use Malibu rum instead of Havana dark rum…but would that be too much “coconut oomph”? I think I’ll also try decorating the top of the cake with toasted coconut. I’m making it for my husband’s birthday…he’s a big fan of coconut and an even bigger fan of a good Pina Coloda (which does exist in Cuba, btw)!

  168. Naomi

    Oops…accidentally posted my previous comment twice (I thought the first attempt failed). One more question – can I bake this in a springform pan? I’m concerned the batter might leak through the bottom of a springform, but I’m always afraid of ruining a cake when I remove it from a regular cake pan. Thanks! :)

  169. Marcella

    It’s late summer/early fall, and I’m sitting on my couch on the last day of a quiet vacation, absolutely snarfing down this cake. I made it last night, and I swear it tastes even better this morning. The rum flavor is oozing through, and is working well enough with the cup of earl grey that I have basically convinced myself this counts as breakfast food.

  170. Patrick

    I needed a two-layer, 8inch cake so I doubled the recipe except I used half AP and half cake flour. Friends and family absolutely raved about it. For a frosting I decided to make a reg batch of butter cream and added sweetened toasted coconut and pineapple. Can’t thank you enough for the recipe!

  171. barbW

    I made this last night with the coconut milk that was the substitution and the entire center remained unbaked and soggy despite increased bake time- the batter tasted good- the result with the milk was less than stellar- not sure what went wrong-

  172. Liz

    Hah! This is also the perfect antidote for transitioning home after a lovely tropical vacation in Nicaragua! I didn’t have cream of coconut, but I upped the coconut oomph of my coconut milk with subbing some coconut oil for some of the butter, adding some shredded coconut, and finally opening up a can of coconut sugar that’s been lurking in my pantry for years to give it a try. Worked for me! I don’t like glazes much, so I whipped up a frosting of butter, heavy cream, and a little coconut cream and sugar. Thanks for the inspiration!

  173. Fayet

    Fantastic! I needed a cake for a birthday, and something to up our moods in this horrible winter outside. I didn’t find Cream of Coconut, so I used creamy Coconutmilk, added shredded coconut and sprinkled the finished cake with coconut flakes. It came out perfectly, moist and soft, very yummy.. it just didn’t taste of Pina Colada. At all.

    Nevertheless, a beautiful cake that I adore and will make more often. I just need a new name for it, as everybody kept asking me if I had consumed the Pina Colada while baking and thus named the cake that way.. It was more like a swiss carrot cake, actually. But lovely nontheless.

  174. JAM

    I made it! Exactly as prescribed and it went wonderfully. Better than a pina colada, maybe? My boyfriend said it was his favorite cake ever. I feel like a tropical champ.

  175. DSG

    Just what I was looking for. Every other recipe I found called for box cake mix or a half a dozen eggs–I knew I should’ve just come here first. I’m making this tomorrow to stave off the oncoming winter blahs a wee bit longer and I can hardly wait. Thank you!

  176. Leslie

    The texture of this cake is sublime, and I can’t stop eating it. However, it was really lacking in coconut and pineapple flavor. It tastes more like a sweet cornbread than pina colada, and my dinner guests last night agreed. I went back and double checked the recipe to make sure I’d added the suggested amounts of everything, and prepared it correctly, and I had. I’m not sure what happened, as the other comments here don’t suggest people having a problem with flavor. Oh well…disappointing, but on to the next Smitten Kitchen recipe!

  177. Hilda

    I tried this cake some time ago and it had turned really nice! I has used tinned pineapple though I actually wanted a fresh one. It was the first time I was having a pina colada cake. Having found the cream of coconut after searching high and low for it (I had just come into Bangalore back then and didn’t know much about the place), I savoured every bit of this cake! I did attempt to make the same for a bake sale recently, but gobbled it up at home itself.. LOL. Thanks for the recipe. :)

  178. Valerie

    Decided to make this for my graduation party! Instead of making it as a cake I doubled the recipe and made Mini Cupcakes! They turned out fantastic! I used canned pineapple tidbits because unfortunately someone ate all of our freshly cut pineapple the day that I was baking them. After draining the pineapple juice into a separate jar I dumped all of the 4oz of pineapple in. For baking I baked mine at 350 degrees for 7 minutes, then I rotated them in the oven when the timer went off and baked them for another 7 minutes. For me they turned out absolutely perfect. As soon as I pulled them from the oven I did brush rum on top of them generously. (Used Meyer’s Rum: Original Dark). Now for frosting I unfortunately don’t have any tips on because I have not made it yet (I will do this in a couple of days for the party) But definitely cheers to this recipe because it is fantastic and the cake part of it turned out great!

    1. deb

      Jane — I think it would make an excellent layer cake. However, so it doesn’t get too tall, I might make the volume for two layers and divide it into three (if you like three-layer cakes).

  179. Amy Rogge

    Deb, just re-discovered your pina cola cake recipe (2011) and will definitely try it. I’m thinking of having a mid-winter “Think Summer” gathering. Did you ever publish your recipe for the cocktail? It’s 9am in wintry Indiana and I shouldn’t be thinking about cocktails, yet… But I’d love to know the proportions of ingredients and hope the blender still does’t freak out your little one.

    By the way, I made the key lime pie the day your recipe arrived and it was fantastic! Thanks for your hard work and good cheer, a rare combination. Oh, and the recipes are wonderful! Happy trails, Amy

  180. MaryEllen

    I really wanted to like this but when I made it the cake had no flavor, at all. Very disappointing. The glaze was very good but what a waste of good ingredients!

  181. Sue

    I was excited about making this cake however I was rather apprehensive whilst baking. The amount of sugar that went into this cake, is the least ever and I only realised the icing portion later. Since I am not an icing kind of person, I omitted that part. Thankfully, the cake texture was moist and soft, however, lacking in taste.

  182. Rachel

    I agree that this cake, which I made in cupcake form, although very moist lacked flavor. I initially thought the cream of coconut would add a lot of flavor but the end product did not yield the necessary flavoring. The glaze wasn’t good at all since it was very chalky in taste so I added in some crushed pineapples and desiccated unsweetened coconut. I glazed each cupcake with a maraschino cherry on top of the cupcake and generously sprinkled more unsweetened coconut on top.
    Regardless, I love Smitten Kitchen and Deb, you are still my top baker.

  183. Jess S

    Hey there!
    Made these into cupcakes for a charity bake sale and they were yummy! I got fancy and filled them with pineapple curd (recipe from Martha Stewart) and topped with your Swiss buttercream, to which I added a hefty dose of Malibu rum. (That is the best frosting ever, incidentally!) then I topped with sweetened, flaked coconut! Thanks for the recipe! They were super-tasty!

  184. Lauren

    Headed to a Jimmy Buffett concert this weekend and we obviously need this in our life. Tailgating wouldn’t be complete without it. Is it possible to make it sans pineapple, though? I’m allergic and it breaks my heart. Would it be too dry without the pineapple? Should I sub something else? My plan would be to top it with a buttermilk coconut frosting instead, which I know makes it less-pina colada-ish and more coconut-celebration-ish. So far this looks like the best coconut cake recipe I’ve found. Plus, SK never steers me wrong!

  185. S. Detlef

    Made this for Int’l Talk Like a Pirate Day. Followed directions precisely; it’s a lovely cake, but lacking in any pronounced flavor, so a disappointment. The Rum-Campari Punch, on the other hand, a huge hit.

  186. I used milk instead of coconut*, and brandy instead of rum, it came out lovely and moist and pineappley.

    *I found a can of coconut water in my pantry, but it had expired…I said to myself, canned things don’t expire! When I opened it, the top was all fluffy white and marshmallowy, but when I poured it into a measuring cup, the white fluff went everywhere and a glug of watery stuff drenched my counter. Pretty sure the fluff was coconut fat, separated inside the can.
    So I used 3% milk. I don’t care much for coconut flavor anyway, I was just looking for a recipe to use up my canned pineapple before it, too, expires!

  187. Totally my fault, because you did describe Coco Lopez in the note, but I just made this with unsweetened cream of coconut. Perhaps not that this is a readily available item, it would be appropriate to add the word sweetened to your ingredient list? I’ll serve pina colodas first and hopefully my family won’t miss the extra sugar in the cake too much. ;)

  188. Alex Smith

    I just made this recipe to celebrate National Rum Day tomorrow. I was a little skeptical because I wasn’t sure how much the flavors would come through. And small amounts of chopped pineapple in baked goods tend to be more annoying than tasty. This was fantastic. I was thoroughly impressed. I made this into cupcakes. Yield was 14 cupcakes and they were perfectly done at 12 minutes.

  189. Becca

    I’m just about to make this cake for NYE tomorrow and realized I bought coconut cream, rather than cream of coconut, which is unsweetened. My quick google suggests it’s not the same though I see comments here using the terms interchangeably. Are they different? Do I need add more sugar if I use this (as per your coconut milk instructions?

  190. Clare

    I made this over the weekend, such a good cake to bring on the start of the sunny weather!
    I used coconut oil instead of butter 1:1 and made my own cream of coconut by dissolving 375g of sugar and a pinch of salt into 400ml coconut milk. It turned out really well! Not too sweet, although I couldn’t taste the rum at all. It could do with a bit more of a punch of flavour. Maybe because I used tinned pineapple?

  191. Chloe

    I made this the other day, and it was awful. I used canned pineapple, because I couldn’t be bothered cutting up the fresh stuff, but otherwise made it as directed. Not only was it not sweet enough (even with all the glaze), it was actually a tad on the salty side. Neither the coconut nor the pineapple flavours came through strongly enough for me to tell what kind of cake it was. I have no idea what happened, but I couldn’t eat more than the sliver I tasted. I was sad because I’ve never made a recipe from this blog that I haven’t liked. :(

  192. Chloe

    I just answered my own question: I missed the note about the cream of coconut vs. coconut cream. When I looked at what I bought, I realized it was, in fact, coconut cream. I neglected to add the extra sugar. Please disregard my last comment; I feel silly enough as it is!

  193. Erin

    Sorry to say this was a dud for me, and I’ve now made it twice, the second time only realising too late that it hadn’t worked previously. I think there’s an error in the sugar quantity – I don’t love overly sweet cakes, but a mere 1/4 cup seems extremely low, and that cup of coconut cream can’t compensate for the additional 3/4 cup of sugar suggested if you’re using coconut milk. There’s virtually no coconut flavor (is there perhaps dried or flaked coconut missing in the recipe?) and the pineapple doesn’t come through at all. The cake is a bit pasty in texture and very bland. Sorry Deb, I’m a fan of the dozens of other recipes I’ve made from this ste, but something’s off here!