We love pina coladas, but who doesn’t? They’re like a vacation in slushy form, and the sweet and creamy combination of coconut and pineapple hits the spot every time. We figured that the tropical treat would translate well to a trifle, and we were so very right. This Pina Colada Trifle has that coconut-pineapple flavor combination you know and love, with the addition of light and sweet vanilla cake and plump cherries. It’s the kind of dessert that you never want to stop digging into, and while it may not be quite as relaxing as a beach vacation, we certainly don’t mind indulging in this sweet mini escape.
The base of this trifle is formed with a simple vanilla cake. We’ve used a basic boxed mix to keep things easy, but you can totally use storebought cake if you want to make things even easier! Cubes of sweet cake are then layered with crushed pineapple, juicy cherries, and a creamy no-bake cheesecake filling that’s flavored with a little more coconut (and a little rum flavor for good measure). The whole thing is topped off with toasted coconut, which adds a nice subtle crunch.
The creamy filling is made up of cream cheese, instant pudding, and a little bit of whipped topping. Coconut and rum extracts bring in some of that tropical flavor, but you can always leave the rum extract out if that’s not your thing. One of our favorite parts about this dessert is the toasted coconut, but make sure to watch it carefully in the oven… It toasts fast, and you can go from golden brown to burnt very quickly!
Pina Colada Trifle
Serves 8-10; 45 minutes
- 1 box vanilla cake mix, plus ingredients listed on box
- 1 can crushed pineapple, drained
- 1 jar maraschino cherries
- 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
- 1 box instant vanilla pudding
- 1 cup milk
- 1 1/4 cup shredded coconut
- 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
- 1/2 teaspoon rum extract
- 2 1/2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Spread the shredded coconut evenly onto a baking sheet and place in the oven until golden brown, about 5-8 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.
- Prepare vanilla cake according to package instructions. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Once cool, cut into 1-inch cubes.
- While cake bakes, beat cream cheese in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
- In a separate medium bowl, whisk the milk and the pudding mix together until thickened. Slowly add pudding mixture into cream cheese bowl, then add rum and coconut extracts, and beat until well combined. Once fully combined, gently fold in 1 cup of the whipped topping.
- Begin to assemble the trifle layers. Place 4 cups of cake cubes in the bottom of a trifle bowl. Top with a layer of drained pineapple, and then a layer of cherries.
- Spread half of the cream cheese/pudding layer over the fruit, and repeat the layers: cake, pineapple, cherries, cream cheese/pudding.
- Spread the remaining whipped topping over the top layer and sprinkle with toasted coconut. Garnish with cherries if desired.
- Keep chilled until ready to serve. Enjoy!