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Culinary Adventures: Pina Colada Cake

Culinary and Crafty Adventures: Pina Colada Cake

We were celebrating two birthdays over our Fourth of July trip with friends to Lake Quinault, WA and I wanted to make a fun, summertime cake for the birthday girls. I had found a recipe on Cooks.com for a pina colada cake, and decided to give it a try.

The cake part was easy. I took a white cake mix and followed the mix instructions, subbing out 3/4 cup pina colada mix for 3/4 of the water required. The batter consistency was pretty gooey, but it baked into a nice, light, fluffy pina colada cake.

Now for the frosting. It sounded great, but the reality was a little different. The frosting recipe was:

2 cups powered sugar

2 cups sour cream

8 oz Cool Whip

7 oz coconut flakes

The instructions were to “stir sugar into sour cream, fold in Cool Whip and coconut. Fill and frost cake.”

I followed the instructions and wound up with a frosting that is about the same consistency as lumpy syrup. Dissatisfied with the sticky, drippy mess, I added more powdered sugar. A lot more. I think the whole bag, actually. I added a bit more Cool Whip as well, and got it to thicken up a bit, but it was still pretty runny. I tasted it, and the sour cream really did compliment it nicely. It just wasn’t great to frost with.

I think a sheet cake in a glass casserole dish would have been better for this recipe. But I bravely persisted on with my two 9″ round cake layers. (I apologize for the lack of photos, I was too busy finding ways to keep frosting from overflowing onto the floor to wash my hands and pick up the camera).

I frosted the cake, adding some crushed canned pineapple in the middle between the layers along with frosting. I toasted the remaining coconut flakes on a baking sheet in the oven, and mashed handfuls of it onto the drippy sides of the cake. To my delight, it stuck, and covered up the drippy ugliness. It also tasted amazing–the smell of the toasted coconut brought a few people in from the deck outside to see what the awesomely delicious aroma was.

To decorate the pina colada cake, I cut up some pineapple wedges and cut pineapple leaves and arranged them along one side of the cake, and added little drink umbrellas.

Pina colada cake

It turned out great. The added crushed pineapple in the center provided a nice tart zing that the cake really needed, and the toasted coconut added a nice texture and flavor. The sour cream was the ingredient that made the frosting, and I’d like to try it again a little differently.

Pina Colada Cake

Variations I’d like to try on another pina colada cake would be using pineapple coconut juice instead of the pina colada mix, which has more flavor and less high fructose corn syrup. For frosting, I’d like to try it as a butter cream, with sour cream and butter mixed in, and/or possibly a splash of pineapple coconut juice.

Have you made a good pina colada cake? If so, let me know your recipe!