Your sweet tooth has met its dream cake in my old-fashioned coconut buttermilk cake!
Creamy, tangy buttermilk and vibrant coconut combine to create an out-of-this-world buttermilk cake that puts to shame all other fruit cake recipes. You may need more than one slice to fully believe this flavor — go ahead and indulge! Cake recipes won’t tell!
If you’re a coconut nut, you’ve probably made my other tropical treats, like coconut cupcakes or my downright divine coconut cream cake. I shouldn’t pick favorites, but this pound cake is the best!
What I Love About This Recipe
I most love that just the name — coconut buttermilk cake — makes my mouth water! Who knew two simple ingredients could be so good together?
- Perfect buttery, chewy texture!
- Coconut flavor at its best
- Great for parties, barbecues, and more
- Crowd favorite!
How To Make Coconut Buttermilk Cake Recipe
The steps to make this cake aren’t too different from other cake recipes!
Preheat your oven and prep your pan. Combine your dry ingredients in one bowl and cream your butter and sugar in another. Add your extracts and eggs to the sugar mixture, then slowly add the dry mix to the wet, alternating with the addition of buttermilk. Add your shredded coconut, pour the batter into your pan, and bake until an inserted skewer comes out clean!
Don’t forget the glaze! Toast your coconut, mix it with powdered sugar and buttermilk, and drizzle it over your cooled cake.
Coconut Cake Recipe Notes
There is nothing more disappointing than an over baked coconut cake. No mistakes here! I’ve outlined the best tips and tricks to give you the ultimate coconut cake.
Tips For Making The Perfect Coconut Buttermilk Cake
Baking is a science and an art!
Oven: Do not over bake your cake! If your skewer comes out clean, the cake will be slightly overdone, and you will miss the fabulous moistness the cake is supposed to have. If your oven temperature tends to run a bit hot, either turn it down or check the cake for doneness a few minutes earlier than the recipe calls for.
Pan: You need a 9X5 inch pan to accommodate the volume of batter in this recipe.
Glaze: When making the glaze, add the second tablespoon of buttermilk slowly so you can control the thickness of the glaze. You may not need the entire second tablespoon.
Buttermilk Cake Recipe Ingredient Notes
Never baked a buttermilk cake recipe before? Not to worry — I’ve got you covered!
Buttermilk: Buttermilk is a magic baking ingredient. Tangy but creamy, it helps baked goods rise without being overpoweringly sour. What is it? It’s halfway between milk and yogurt, giving you the best of both worlds. Worried about baking with it? Don’t be! Treat it just as you would milk. You’ll love the results!
Coconut Extract: This is very important for the flavor of your cake — get coconut extract, not coconut oil or flavoring. The ratios of the actual flavors vary with each, and coconut extract will give you the smoothest coconut flavor for this cake.
Ingredient Addition: Follow the steps when adding your ingredients! Baking is a science, and if you just dump all the ingredients together, you’ll end up with a dense, inedible cake. Remember chemistry!
Strangely, I’ve never had any leftover… I really don’t know where it goes!
(I eat it all. That’s totally where it goes.)
If, for some reason, you have cake leftover, here are some ways to store it!
Can You Freeze This?
Yes! Pound cake stores wonderfully in the freezer. Wrap it in cling wrap or put it in a sealed container, and you can let it sit in the freezer for up to six months.
To thaw, let it sit in the fridge until it’s slice ready. I know a lot of people who like their pound cake a little on the frozen side, so use your judgment!
Unfortunately, like most cake recipes, this cake can’t really be made ahead. Once you start adding one ingredient, the others have to follow soon after!
But! This cake does store very well, so if you need to make it a day or two before an event, it can sit at room temperature no problem — just withhold your glaze until serving if you plan to do that! The dairy in the glaze cannot be outside of the fridge.
How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge?
Wrapped or in a container, your cake can sit in the fridge for up to a week, no problem! This is the best storage option if you’ve put the glaze on. It keeps the glaze nice and chilled!
There are so many buttermilk cake variations out there — what changes can we make? Let’s find out!
Can I Add Lemons?
Lemon cake is divine! If you’ve made my lemon sheet cake or my lemon poke cake, you know how moist and tender these treats can be. Swap out your coconut extract for lemon in this recipe, and you’re in heaven!
Can I Add Pumpkin?
Looking for a pumpkin cake recipe? Pumpkin buttermilk cake sounds just as yummy as my pumpkin dump cake! I’d swap the final glaze though for something more texture-friendly a la my pumpkin crunch cake!
Can I Add Cherry?
Cherry cake balances the flavor of coconut in a truly unmatched way! Well, almost unmatched — chocolate cherry cake with coconut would be absolutely wonderful, wouldn’t it? And let’s not forget cherry dump cake when you’re in need of an easy, quick dessert!
What Other Pound Cake Recipes I Can Try?
This recipe is so similar to buttermilk pound cake already! A few easy swaps (more butter, of course!) and you’ve got coconut pound cake.
If you’ve never made pound cake before, I suggest starting with the traditional Sara Lee pound cake. It’s a great beginner recipe!
What Other Coconut Cakes Can I Make?
Bring on the coconut! My delicious coconut sheet cake is stuffed with incredible flavor. And my easy, delicious coconut poke cake is the perfect ending to every summer BBQ!
Coconut Buttermilk Cake
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/4 cups sweetened shredded coconut
- 1 cup powdered sugar sifted
- 2 tablespoons buttermilk
- 1/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut divided
- Spray a 9X5 inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand-up mixer, add butter and granulated sugar and beat on medium for 8 minutes (Yes, 8 minutes!). Scrape down the bowl as needed.
- Add vanilla and coconut extract to the bowl. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well, scraping down the bowl, after each addition.
- Set the mixer to low and add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with two- 1/2 cup additions of buttermilk (You will be adding 1 cup total of buttermilk), and mix until incorporated.
- Using a large spoon mix in 1 1/4 cups of the coconut.
- Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake in preheated oven for about 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Allow the cake to cool in the loaf pan set on a wire rack. Remove from pan and allow cake to cool completely.
- Spread the remaining 1/4 cup of coconut in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in a 350 degree oven for 5-10 minutes, stirring often, or until the coconut is golden. Remove from oven and cool.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the remaining buttermilk. Add additional 1/2 tablespoon of buttermilk a couple of drops at a time until you reach a nice thick pour-able consistency. Drizzle glaze over completely cooled cake and top with toasted coconut!
Fans Also Made:
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More Fruit Cake Recipes
As we get into spring and summer, everyone will be clamoring for fruit cakes!
- Hummingbird Cake – A Southern staple!
- Simnel Cake – A celebration of everyone’s favorite stone fruit, apricots
- Dundee Cake – Scottish fruit cake packed with currants!
- Mango Cake – If you loved the tropical twist of coconut, try this!
- Strawberry Cream Cake – The tastes of summer in one delicious cake!
Is your sweet tooth begging you to get baking? I know mine is. I just can’t resist coconut and buttermilk!
What event did you make this cake for? Let me know in the comments!
Source: Martha Stewart
This is a great recipe! It passed the hubby test with high accolades! I’ve made many kinds of quick breads over the years, I’ll be putting this one up high on the list to make again!
Wow, thank you so much for your positive review! I’m so happy you and your hubby liked this!
I was imagining it with a layer of pineapple filling and graham cracker crumbley brown sugar toasted coconut streusel under that glaze.
Kathi Webb says
This recipe sounds fabulous. I’m going to try it soon.
The instructions says to bake in 9×5 loaf pan, but I read somewhere and it said don’t even think about putting it in a loaf pan. So I was confused on the size pan to use.
Hi Kathi, so I’ve only made these in a loaf pan and have had fabulous results.
Jennifer Wise says
Hi! I haven’t made the cake yet but it is a definite candidate for Easter this year. I like the idea of it being smaller, too – there will probably only be three of us. Question: the recipe calls for sweetened coconut and I am wondering – would it make a difference if I used unsweetened coconut? If I did, would I need to add some more sugar? Not sure you’ve tried it like that so no worries – I don’t mind experimenting!
Hi Jennifer. I haven’t tried it that way. One thing I do find is that the sweetened coconut seems to be more moist than unsweetened. I’m sure it will work, though. Let me know how it goes if you try it! It’s a really lovely cake with an amazing texture!!!
I love every ingredient in this cake
Very good taste with a few changes. I subbed gluten free flour ( King Arthur Measure for Measure) and used Swerve sugar (at a much lower measure). The cake came out great.
Oooh that’s awesome, nancy! 😀 Happy to hear you like it!
This recipe looks great, want to try it, can I use 1 cup of coconut flour and 1 of regular flour?
Hi Marcela. Gosh, I’m not sure what the would be. Sorry, I haven’t used coconut flour in this recipe <3
You can’t . Coconut flour is very absorbent. The cake will not be the same.
Hi…this recipe looks really great want to try it…but is it possible for you to give the cup measurements in grams…it wld really be helpful
169.5 grams unsalted butter
250 grams all-purpose flour
6.65 grams baking powder
2.1 grams salt
201 grams granulated sugar
4.2 grams vanilla extract
2.1 grams coconut extract
3 large eggs
245 grams buttermilk
160 grams sweetened shredded coconut
Coconut Cake is my favorite. They are known for their moist, crumbly texture and this cake delivered the perfect results. I followed your recipe precisely and it was spot on. I have one other coconut cake recipe that I’ve always used, but this recipe is just as delicious. The texture is perfect! The taste is amazing. I didn’t even put the glaze on top. My husband loved it. I find that most cakes that have buttermilk as one of the ingredients gives the cake a good balance of fat and moistness. This recipe is going to be a regular in our home. Thanks for posting – we love it!
Thanks, Debbie! 😀 So glad to hear you and your hubby loved it!
I made this cake according to directions other than an additional 1/2 t coconut extract and it tastes good but the texture is very disappointing. It crumbles when cut, it doesn’t hold up to slicing like a regular pound cake. I found it to be a tad bit dry too.
Hi CA. Gosh, dry is the last thing I’d call this cake. Honestly, I’m crazy about its texture too. I totally agree that it’s not as firm when cut as a standard pound cake would be. I’m sorry I can’t be of any help. I wish it had worked out better for you. NO worries though we have lots more coconut cakes to try <3
Marian Jinkman says
Very good cake but way overdone when I took out of oven at 52 min. My oven is spot on with oven thermometer. I will try 40 – 45 min next time.
Hi Mirian. I’m so sorry the baking time was off for you! I know how disappointing that is! Thank you for letting everyone know.
Don’t you think you should list the coconut that goes into the cake under “cake” instead of “topping”?
Kathleen Smith says
Hi Lucinda! You are absolutely right! Thank you so much for your suggestion. I’ve amended the recipe instructions to reflect that. Have you made this cake? We’d love to hear back from you if you do. It really is a fabulous cake! <3 Thank you again!
Is there any other type of baking pan I can use? Would a bundt pan or a tube pan work?
Hi Crystal! I haven’t made this in any other types of pans. Sorry!
Terry OBrien says
I was wondering if you could make mini cakes and how long would you bake them. I’d like to give them as gifts. I bought 6 mini pound cake loafs, and thought it would a great gift. Everyone that’s tasted it, loves it.
Terry OBrien says
I made this cake two times in one day. The first time I thought I forgot to include the powered sugar in the batter and added it after creaming the butter and granulated sugar. I didn’t understand that the powdered sugar was only for the glaze and not to be included in the batter. I used the 9×5 pan and it overflowed. So I made it again, and again I used both the granulated and powdered sugar in the batter, but used two smaller loaf pans. It came out really good, but I think it would have been better if I did not use the powdered sugar in the batter. This needs to be clear on your recipe to just use the powdered sugar only for the glaze and not include it in the batter. No one but me knows the mistake and loved it anyway. Please clarify on your recipe about the use of the powdered sugar. Maybe that’s what caused the overflow.
Hi Terry. I’m sorry the instructions confused you. I’ve gone back and labeled the sugar as granulated sugar. Hopefully that makes things clearer 😉 Thank you for your input!