Pina Colada Cake


The Pina Colada Cake for A Tale of One Cake LayerLast week I promised you the Pina Colada cake and here it is.  I designed this cake for a class I taught and if any of my students are reading this, I have changed the Coconut Sauce for an easier, tastier sauce.

After cleaning and cutting a fresh pineapple, I thought it might be easier if you bought a whole pineapple already cleaned and cored.  Sometimes it’s possible to take “from scratch” too far!  In any case make sure the pineapple is ripe for maximum flavor.

The coconut sauce for this Pina Colada Cake is a breeze to make and tastes just like a pina colada, a favorite drink in my youth.  It’s also great for ice cream with chocolate sauce.

Many components of this cake can be done ahead of time.  The rum syrup, the coconut sauce and the toasted coconut can be made days ahead.  The pineapple can be prepared up to the point where it is glazed.

For the optimum Pina Colada Cake, make the cake and finish it the day it is served.

Yellow Velvet Butter Cake – the story and how-to photos are here.
2 cups cake flour (250 grams or 9 ounces)
1 1/2 teaspoons double acting baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups butter (170 grams or 6 ounces or 1 1/2 sticks)
1 1/3 cup sugar (270 grams sugar or 9 1/2 ounces)
3 eggs
3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×2 or 9×3 inch round cake pan with parchment, spraying the center only.

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition with a rubber spatula, to keep mixture smooth. On the lowest speed, alternately add the dry ingredients in three additions and the milk in two additions, scraping the bowl smooth after each addition. Turn the batter into prepared pan. Level top.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

Batter yields approximately 990 grams or 34 3/4 ounces.

Cool the cake for 10 minutes and turn the cake out; leave it upside down. With a toothpick, poke holes in the cake. Immediately apply the warm rum soaking syrup (below), using all of it.  Set aside.Soaking cake with rum syrup for The Pina Colada Cake

Rum Soaking SyrupIngredients for rum soaking syrup for the Pina Colada Cake1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar (100 grams or 3 1/2 ounces)
1/4 cup dark rum

Place the water and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Sugar syrup boiling for the Pina Colada CakeRemove from the heat and add the rum.Rum Syrup for Pina Colada Cake

Caramelized PineappleFresh pineapple for the Pina Colada CakeBrown sugar and butter for the caramelized pineapple for the Pina Colada Cake1 fresh, ripe pineapple or a ripe cleaned pineapple from the grocery
6 tablespoons butter, divided (90 grams or 3 ounces)
4 tablespoons brown sugar, divided (50 grams 1 3/4 ounces)

If using a whole fresh pineapple, cut the top and bottom off the pineapple. Cutting the top of the pineapple off for the Pina Colada CakeCutting the bottom of the pineapple off for the Pina Colada CakeRemove the rind. Trimming the sides of the pineapple for the Pina Colada CakeCut the pineapple in alf from to top to bottom.  Slice 1/2 inch thick.The pineapple sliced in half for The Pina Colada Cake. Remove the core with a round cookie cutter. Set aside.Cutting core out of pineapple for the Pina Colada Cake

I trim the outer edge of the pineapple with a larger plain cookie cutter to make the slice more attractive.  However this is optional.Trimming outer edge of pineapple for the Pina Colada Cake

Trimming excess pineapple from slice for the Pina Colada CakePlace 3 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons brown sugar in a large skillet. Brown sugar and butter in the pan for the Pina Colada CakeBring to a hard boil.Brown sugar and butter boiling for The Pina Colada CakePlace half the pineapple rounds in the pan and saute on one side, Pineapple in syrup on the first side for the Pina Colada Cakethen the other until the syrup is reduced to a thick syrup and coats the pineapple. Pineapple in syrup on the second side for The Pina Colada CakeRemove the slices from the pan and repeat with the second set of ingredients. Cool the slices slightly.

Coconut Sauce
1 cup cream of coconut (not coconut milk)
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1 teaspoon dark rum

Stir all together. Serve over the cake. Refrigerate for storage.

Yield: 1 1/4 cups

Toasted Coconut
Place sweetened coconut on a baking sheet.  Place in a preheated 350°F oven and toast for 7 or 8 minutes.  Stir and place back in the oven until evenly browned.  Be careful towards the end as it can go from a medium brown to burned in a minute or two.  This can be done ahead.

Caramelized Pineapple
Coconut Sauce
Toasted Coconut

Place the soaked cake on a cake round or a serving dish. Arrange eight half slices the pineapple slices on the cake in a circle.Pineapple placed on cake for The Pina Colada CakeCut the Pina Colada Cake into the desired number of slices and serve with the coconut sauce.  Garnish with the toasted coconut

Pastry has not only been my profession, but my passion. If there is anything in particular you would like to see or any questions about baking or pastry, please let me know. Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss a post!
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3 thoughts on “Pina Colada Cake

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Manisha: I knew what you meant – I too loved, loved pina coladas when I was much, much younger. Single acting baking powder starts producing carbon dioxide gas bubbles as soon as liquid hits it. If you wait too long to get your product in the oven when using single acting baking powder, the bubbles will start to deflate and the product will not rise properly.

      Double acting baking powder reacts twice. First, some action comes from liquid but most of it is released when heat is applies. This makes for a much more fool proof baking powder. There are recipes for making your own baking powder but that would be single which is not as stable.

      Here it is very difficult to find single baking powder. Almost everything sold is double acting which makes a great deal of sense and it what we used at the bakery.

      I don’t know if there is a substitute or not. If you can’t find it in India, look on the internet. I’m sure you can find it there.

      Hope this helps.

  1. Manisha

    Hi Helen

    I tasted my first pina colada drink in mid 20s and I remember that I couldn’t catch the name of it. But wanted to have it again so I would go to the pubs of dry norther part of our country asking for it when malts ruled the roost.

    Would like to know what is double acting baking powder?? Also is there a substitute for the same?


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