Never mind Negronis, or Old Fashioneds, or other cocktails that make my face screw without my say-so. Piña Coladas are the ones I want to drink when I’m on a lilo in Tenerife. And the ones I want to drink when I wish I was on a lilo in Tenerife.

My mum and dad don’t really drink apart from if it tastes like sweets. That’s i) Asti Spumante (grown-up pop) and ii) Bulmers (“tastes like pear drops!”). Piña Colada is Bob Goodman’s favourite. And the first alcohol I ever drank was a sip of Elaine’s Malibu and pineapple.

So, I made this Piña Colada cake for my boyfriend’s brother’s showery April birthday. Sun on a plate. It tastes like holidays.

There are no photos of its insides because it was for Jonathan, not for you.

The PINEAPPLE CURD especially is a massive game-changer.


Two 20.5cm sandwich tins, buttered

Pre-heated at 180°C

The recipe is a big ol’ blend of bits from Gourmet (this and this), and bits from Sky High, by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne.

325g flour
1 tsp bicarb
½ tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
180g light brown sugar
150g unsalted butter
250ml buttermilk
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

435g tin of pineapple chunks in juice
3 egg yolks
50g golden caster sugar
15g cornflour
Pinch of salt
Squeeze of lime

400g cream cheese
40g unsalted butter
100g icing sugar
400ml tin of coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Dessicated coconut to decorate

1. Put the flour, soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
2. Mix with a whisk.
3. Add the brown sugar, butter and 200ml of the buttermilk.
4. Blend with a spoon, then use an electric whisk to mix for about 3 minutes, until pale and fluffy.
5. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the remaining buttermilk and the vanilla.
6. Fold the eggs into the rest of the mixture in three additions, until incorporated.
7. Bake for 20-22 minutes and then leave to cool.

8. Tip the contents of the pineapple tin – juice and all – into a food processor and purée.
9. Pour through a sieve directly into a saucepan. Get rid of the stringy solids.
10. Add the yolks, sugar, cornflour and salt.
11. Cook over a medium to low heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture starts to bubble.
12. Whisk it on the boil for 2 minutes – it’ll start to thicken.
13. Remove from the heat and whisk in lemon juice.
14. Force the curd through your sieve again, straight into a bowl. Cover with cling film, so that the cling film touches the surface of the curd.

15. Take your ~unshaken~ tin of coconut milk, and lift the more solid cream off the top. Put it in a big bowl and get rid of the remaining liquid.
16. Add cream cheese, butter and vanilla and mix well.
17. Gradually add the icing sugar and beat until smooth.
18. Chill for at least 30 minutes

19. Spread your cooled curd on one of the cakes, leaving a border around the edge.
20. Pop the second cake on top.
21. Smother the whole thing with frosting and [glittery] dessicated coconut.

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