Creamy coconut cake will have guests doing double takes! Rich, creamy, & delicately sweet, with shaved coconut topping, it’s a dessert to end all desserts.

A slice of Coconut Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting on a plate

Since this simple coconut cake recipe is to die for, it is a good thing that the coconut tree is sometimes referred to as the ‘tree of life’! It makes everything better — hydration, skincare, coastal décor, hammocking, and, not least of all, cakes!

This Coconut Cake recipe calls for three different coconut ingredients: cream of coconut, coconut extract, and coconut shavings. If that’s not enough to tempt you, might I add that the frosting is of the butter cream cheese variety? Man oh man.

If you have fallen in love with coconut themed desserts, you may also enjoy my Coconut Buttermilk Cake or Coconut Banana Cream Pie. Another fruity non-coconut option (did you know coconut is technically a stone fruit?) is Strawberry Layer Cake!

Coconut Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting on a cake stand

How To Make Coconut Cake

To prepare the batter of this extra moist coconut cake you will need three bowls. One is for mixing the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. The second is for blending sugar, butter, cream of coconut, egg yolks, vanilla, and coconut extract. Once those two bowls are mixed, combine them, then beat in the buttermilk. The third bowl is for whipping egg whites!

After folding in the egg whites, pour the batter into two 9 inch cake pans and bake for around 45 minutes. Be sure to let it cool completely before frosting! The coconut cake frosting is made by beating cream cheese, butter, cream of coconut, vanilla, coconut extract, and powdered sugar.

While this is not a full blown desiccated coconut cake recipe (the coconut flavor comes from the sweetened cream of coconut and coconut extract), I recommend sprinkling some dried coconut over the frosting for an artistic touch!

How To Make Our Coconut Cream Cake Ahead Of Time

You can store this coconut cream cake for two days in the fridge. If you have a cake lid, use that to cover it. Otherwise, you can use plastic wrap. Chill uncovered for twenty minutes to let the icing harden, then cover carefully. Alternatively, you can place a few toothpicks around the cake to prop up the wrap and keep it from collecting icing! The little toothpick holes are easy to smooth over before serving.  

You can also freeze the cake for up to three months. Seal in foil, Tupperware, or freezer safe plastic wrap. If the foil or plastic wrap will be touching the icing, let the icing freeze before covering. Thaw in the fridge the night before you plan to serve!

If you freeze or refrigerate without the icing, seal in several air tight layers for best results! No one wants a stale, dried out cake. (Though there are always emergency fixes involving sugar water, bread, apples, ice cream, etc. if this happens!)

Can This Recipe Convert To Coconut Sheet Cake?

Unfortunately, due to volume related issues, this recipe cannot convert to a coconut sheet cake! If that is what you are looking for, check out my Coconut Sheet Cake recipe. It has just the right proportions for a 15 by 10 inch pan!

The sheet version uses sour cream just like the towering 6 layer coconut cake Martha Stewart makes. It also comes with moisture locking easy coconut cake frosting instructions! We are talking melt in your mouth level moisture.

Variations Of Easy Coconut Cake:

This easy coconut cake comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, densities, and flavors! While you can’t go wrong with the classic Southern coconut cake recipe featured here, you might want to mix things up for a special occasion in the future!

Pineapple Coconut Cake

Got any pineapple lovers in the family? Pineapple coconut cake provides an extra fruity and tropical twist on the standard recipe!

Lemon Coconut Cake

Lemon coconut cake is another captivatingly citrus take on the standard model. Double up on that vitamin C! And double down on that second helping.

Coconut Pound Cake

Coconut pound cake feels like a warm hug from every palm tree in the world! (Minus the splinters!) So sweet, comforting, and filling.

Coconut Cupcakes

My Coconut Cupcakes are a great option for birthdays, potlucks, picnics, bake sales, and other events where portability and ease of serving are a must. Watch these babies fly off the table, and pat yourself on the back.

A slice of Coconut Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting on a plate

Recipe Notes For Coconut Cake:

Don’t Overbake: Bake the cake just until a toothpick comes out of the center clean. Please don’t overbake it or you’ll go and ruin a fabulous cake! I like to make the cake the day before I want to serve it. It, of course, needs to be refrigerated because of the cream cheese frosting, but I honestly prefer it cold anyway so it’s all good.

Frosting Texture: Let me say that the texture of this frosting is not like a firm buttercream. It has a softer, looser texture. It, of course, should not be runny. It should be stable enough to spread on the cake and obviously not run off the sides. After the cake has been frosted, place it in the fridge and the frosting will firm up and set.

Some readers have had a problem with the frosting being runny.

Even with adding more powdered sugar, the consistency has been runny. We just got a great tip from one of the readers, Adrianne. The more you beat the cream cheese, the runnier it gets.  Makes sense! I’ve changed the instructions to reflect this. Thanks so much, Adrianne!

Coconut Cake Recipe:

This cake will please the masses, and why not!  Try a bite of this easy coconut cake recipe, we think you’ll agree…!


A slice of Coconut Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting on a plate
4.8 from 5 votes

Coconut Cake

Creamy coconut cake will have guests doing double takes! Rich, creamy, & delicately sweet, with shaved coconut topping, it’s a dessert to end all desserts.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 12 People
Calories 762 kcal
Author Kathleen



  • 2 3/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 3/4 Cups Sugar
  • 1 Cup 2 Sticks Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Cup Sweetened Cream of Coconut-like Coco Lopez
  • 4 Large Eggs Separated
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Coconut Extract
  • 1 Cup Buttermilk Well Shaken


  • 2 -8 Ounce Packages Cream Cheese at Room Temperature
  • 1/2 Cup 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, at Room Temperature
  • 2-3 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Sweetened Cream of Coconut-like Coco Lopez
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Coconut Extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 2- 9-inch cake pans with non-stick baking spray.

  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt and whisk; set aside.

  3. In a large bowl, add sugar, butter and sweetened cream of coconut. Using an electric mixer beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg yolks, one at a time. Add vanilla and coconut extracts. With the mixer set on low, beat in dry ingredients and then buttermilk, each just until blended.

  4. In another bowl, using clean and dry beaters, beat egg whites and a pinch of salt until they are stiff but not dry.  Gently fold egg whites into cake batter.

  5. Evenly divide batter between prepared cake pans.  Bake in preheated oven for about 45 minutes or until the toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Allow cake to cool in pans for 10-15 minutes then turn cakes out onto racks to cool completely.

  6. When cakes are cool make the frosting; using an electric mixer beat cream cheese and butter together until they are just combined.  Add cream of coconut, vanilla and coconut extracts and beat just until combined.  Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat until all ingredients are just combined and smooth. Add more powdered sugar as needed to achieve desired consistency (Some readers found the frosting to be runny with only 2 cups of powdered sugar)

  7. Frost cake and sprinkle coconut all over and gently press it so it adheres to decorate. Store cake in the fridge until serving.

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Nutritional Information

Nutrition information will vary based on the specific products. To be safe, check the nutrition facts labels of your products. Optional object listed above have been left out of nutritional data.

Nutrition Facts
Coconut Cake
Amount Per Serving (1 /12 of the recipe)
Calories 762 Calories from Fat 342
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 38g 58%
Saturated Fat 25g 125%
Cholesterol 137mg 46%
Sodium 280mg 12%
Potassium 116mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 98g 33%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 75g
Protein 7g 14%
Vitamin A 16.4%
Calcium 5.7%
Iron 9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


Hungry For More Cake Recipes?

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Easy Pineapple Sheet Cake -a moist, pineapple-studded cake drenched in a sweet, creamy coconut icing, with crispy toasted pecans on top.

Strawberry Triple Layer Cake– This delicious showstopper cake is super moist, rich, and sweet!

Strawberry Cream Cake is made up of super moist strawberry cake with layers of luscious vanilla cream and of course loads of fresh strawberries

Source: Bon Appetite