Growing up, I loved having the non-alcholic version of Pina Coladas. Even though I was 10 years old, it felt like I was an adult ordering a grown up drink when I smiled sweetly at the bartender, asking for a Pina Colada. They would usually grin at me, then prepare the frozen deliciousness without the rum. Oh, how the flood gates opened whenever I tasted a REAL Pina Colada for the first time with coconut rum.
Oh. Em. Gee.
Since then, the combination of coconut and pineapple in ANY sort of treat (beverage or dessert), has become one of my favorites. When the weather starts to warm up, you’ll see me cracking open a small can of pineapple juice and mixing it up with Malibu or Parrot Bay, sometimes even adding a little bit of Blue Caracao to make a Blue Hawaiian. I’m a sucker for a good margarita or ANY sort of tropical cocktail.
With this cheesecake though, I needed to make sure enough of the pineapple flavor was recognizable. I have seen a slew of different types of extracts, so the hunt for fruity extracts began. When I couldn’t find it at the grocery store, the hunt continued to Amazon. Oh, how that site rarely lets me down when I’m looking for something I can’t find in a store. The extract is super concentrated, so the balance of flavors between the coconut, pineapple, and rum were exactly where they needed to be. The pineapple glaze on top of the cheesecake just adds a little something extra to make it shine. Pair this cheesecake with a frozen Pina Colada or Pina Colada and you’re all set for the beautiful warm weather ahead.
Pina Colada Cheesecake
For the Crust
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the Filling
4 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup frozen grated coconut, thawed
1 teaspoon rum extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 teaspoon pineapple extract
2 oz. coconut rum
2 oz. pineapple juice
2 oz. heavy cream
For the Topping
frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup pineapple juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Double-wrap the outside of a 9 inch springform pan with heavy duty aluminum foil, place inside a 12 inch cake pan. Place graham cracker crumbs and 2 tablespoons sugar in a small mixing bowl, toss together. Add the melted butter and mix with your hands until thoroughly combined. Rub butter all along the bottom of the springform pan, then press graham cracker mixture evenly along the bottom. Place pans in the oven to bake for 7 minutes, remove pans from oven and set aside.
In a standing mixer (or mixing bowl and using electric mixer), add 8 oz. cream cheese, cornstarch, and 2/3 cup sugar. Beat at medium speed with the paddle attachment until mixture is smooth. Add another 8 oz. cream cheese, , grated coconut, 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until smooth. Add remaining cream cheese and granulated sugar, one at a time, until smooth. Slow mixer to stirring speed, add extracts and one egg at a time, scraping down the sides. Turn on to stirring speed and slowly add liquor, pineapple juice, and heavy cream, beat just until mixed in (do not overmix). Spoon batter into springform pan on top of graham cracker crust and spread into an even layer.
Pour warm water into the larger cake pan, creating a water bath (this prevents cracks). The water should come up at least 1 inch around the springform pan. Carefully place pans in oven and bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes, until lightly browned on top. Remove pans from oven, pull the springform pan out of the larger pan and place on a cooling rack for about 4 hours to cool completely. Remove aluminum foil from around pan.
Cover springform pan with plastic wrap and place in freezer to set for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight. Remove plastic wrap from springform pan, release and remove sides of springform. Place a piece of parchment or wax paper on top of cheesecake, turn upside down onto a flat surface. Carefully remove bottom of pan, turn back over onto a serving plate.
Cut into slices with a sharp, straight edged knife, wiping knife between each cut. Store cheesecake in refrigerator until ready to serve for up to 7 days, or in the freezer for 1 month. Combine confectioners sugar and pineapple juice in a small mixing bowl and stir together, then drizzle over cheesecake. Garnish with whipped topping and more grated coconut, if desired.