This cake is not just exciting because it contains the subtle flavours of a well-made pina colada. It’s not just exciting because it has secret bursts of colour once you cut into it. It’s also exciting because this is my first original cake recipe.

Small slice good dot

Can you see that polka dot cheekily peeking out?

I chose pina colada in honour of a dear friend. While at university, we spent many happy hours seeking out the best pina colada in town by a rigorous process of taste testing. Yum.

Most of the recipes I post are slightly adapted from other places (I’m going to become better at giving credit, I promise.) This is an original based on three or four other recipes. If you Google pina colada cake recipe, virtually all the cakes involve boxed mix. Boxed mix is my baking nemesis. I don’t judge others who use them (well, I only judge them a teeny bit) but I personally don’t think they are significantly easier than baking from scratch and the results are never as satisfying. Rant over.

My main inspiration for this recipe is the Kitchen Trials blog.

This makes a two-tier 20cm (8 in) cake, serving about 12 people.


For the cake:

  • 1 cup butter (room temp)
  • 1.5 cups caster sugar
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 4 eggs (room temp)
  • 3/4 cup coconut cream (I use a product called coconut milk, but the generic brand I buy actually contains virtually all cream, which is a bit of a bonus).
  • 3/4-1 cup pineapple (either drained and blended pineapple chunks or crush, or from fresh, which I think would be tastiest)
  • 1tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup dessicated coconut

For the rum syrup

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 2tbsp dark rum

For the pineapple filling:

  • 1 small tin crushed pineapple in its own juice
  • 1tbsp sugar
  • 2tsp corn flour
  • dark rum (optional)

For the coconut frosting

  • 6oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2tbsp coconut cream
  • 4-8 cups icing sugar

Special equipment

  • Cake pop pan


  1. Preheat oven to 190C (175C fan).
  2. Blend the butter until soft
  3. Add the sugar and cream together until light and fluffy
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, blending between each addition
  5. Add the vanilla
  6. Add the flour one cup at a time. In between the first and second cups, blend in the pineapple. Between the second and third, blend in the coconut cream. Sprinkle the salt and baking powder over the final addition of flour before blending.
  7. Add the lemon juice to taste. It helps boost the pineapple flavour, particularly if you use tinned.
  8. Add the dessicated coconut and stir through.
  9. Add dessicated coconut to batter
  10. Omit steps 11 to 16 if you don’t want to bother with the hidden polkadots.
  11. Remove about 1 cup of batter and colour it as desired.
  12. Dye it pink
  13. Lightly grease cake pop pan.
  14. Teaspoon into pan. I tried graduating my pinks for a more interesting effect, but it wasn’t really noticeable once baked. Different colours would be more striking. I made 20 cake balls. Next time, I would make 30 for a cake this size to emphasise the polkadot effect.
  15. Uncooked dots
  16. Cover with the other half of the tin and bake for about 12-14 mins. It doesn’t matter if your balls are a bit underdone as they will be baked again. Leave to cool slightly, then remove to fridge to cool.
  17. Grease two 20cm round pans. Divide your batter evenly between them. If doing the hidden design, cover the base of each pan with a thin layer of batter. Add your cake balls to the pan, distributing them evenly. Pour the remaining batter over the balls, ensuring that they are totally blanketed by batter. The batter should rise during baking to hide the balls entirely.
  18. Bake for 20-30 minutes until cake passes the skewer test.
  19. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes, then release to cool completely on a wire rack.
  20. Baked layer
  21. I tend to cool cakes upside-down if I’m going to frost them. It flattens the top so you don’t have to cut them flat. Allow to cool completely.
  22. While this is happening, make up the rum syrup. Add the water and sugar to a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove from the heat and stir in the rum. Leave to cool.
  23. Also make the pineapple filling. Put all the ingredients in a small saucepan and stir until the cornflour dissolves. Bring to the boil, stirring all the while, then simmer for about 3 mins, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir in rum to taste. Leave to cool, stirring every now and then.
  24. Also make the frosting. Blend the cheese and butter together until smooth. Add icing sugar about 1 cup at a time until you have a thick frosting consistency. Thoroughly stir in the coconut cream. If it thins your frosting too much, add a little more sugar. My frosting ended up a bit thin as I ran out of icing sugar. I store my icing sugar in two quantities: way too much and not enough. Must do better.
  25. Once your cakes are cool, begin putting together.
  26. Pour some rum syrup over both cakes. I added about 3tbsp to each. If it starts leaking out of the bottom, you’ve probably added enough.
  27. Put the first cake right side up on your serving dish (the lid of a sweet tin in my case. I still don’t own a proper cake container).
  28. I put a dam of frosting around the edge of the cake to prevent the filling from leaking out when I put the top cake on. It worked really well.
  29. Filling dam
  30. Pour all the filling into the middle of the cake and spread evenly, leaving a border of about 1 inch around the edge. Place your second cake on top, upside-down.
  31. Sandwiched layers
  32. See? No pineapple leakage.
  33. Frost the top and sides of the cake using a palette knife or offset spatula. If your icing’s a bit thin, do one layer, leave the cake to firm up in the fridge (ideally for at least a couple of hours) and then add a second layer. Or be sensible and have enough icing sugar.
  34. First frosting coat
  35. Once your frosting’s looking good, decorate. I carefully added a thick layer of dessicated coconut to make 26. This really added to the flavour and texture of the cake too.
  36. Coconut 26
  37. I also added some little pink balls because why not.
  38. Done
  39. Chill in the fridge before serving (the cake, not you, silly).

Large cut not many dots

This is why I would add more cake balls next time.



Yum. It was a very sunny day for cake, which is why it’s melted a bit.

The syrup gives this cake a slightly cheesecakey texture that I really liked. It had a subtle pina colada taste.