This coconut cake is rich, creamy, delicately sweet, and off the charts moist. It’s topped off with a decadent coconut cream cheese frosting and sprinkled with shredded coconut so it’s loaded with coconut in every bit. It delivers everything you want in a coconut cake and more! Save this recipe for when you need some cake recipes or fruit cake recipes that will please a crowd or just when you want some incredible coconut comfort food!
If you have fallen in love with coconut themed desserts, you may also enjoy my coconut buttermilk cake or coconut banana cream pie. If you’re fond of the tropical flavors of a classic pina colada, you will love my super easy to make, pina colada sheet cake!
What I Love About This Recipe
- It’s really incredibly moist
- Coconut flavor in every bite
- The cream cheese coconut frosting is to die for
- Perfect showstopper cake
Coconut Cake Video Tutorial
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How To Make Coconut Cake
To prepare the batter you’ll 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. Check out our video below!
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.
Do not overbeat frosting: The cream cheese in the frosting will become runny if overbeaten. Some readers have had a problem with the frosting being runny.
Make Ahead Tips
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 airtight layers for the 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!)
- 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.
- 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.
Coconut Cream Cake
- 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, Room Temperature
- 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
- 2 cups toasted sweetened coconut flakes
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2- 9-inch cake pans with non-stick baking spray.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt and whisk; set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- When cakes are cool make the frosting; using an electric mixer beat cream cheese and butter together until they are just combined (Do Not overbeat or frosting will become runny). 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)
- Frost cake and sprinkle toasted coconut all over and gently press it so it adheres to decorate. Store cake in the fridge until serving.
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More Fruit Cake Recipes
- Apple Dump Cake Recipe -This cake is infused with tender fruit and a rich, buttery cake covered with crunchy crumbs!
- 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
I don’t see the coconut listed in the recipe. How much did you use, and was it sweetened or unsweetened? Also how did you toast it?
Hi Shelia. I clarified the recipes. I use 2 cups toasted sweetened coconut flakes.Enjoy!!!
This is a delicious recipe – the cake is truly moist with just the right amount of coconut flavor. However, the frosting was runny – I debated on whether to add the cream of coconut with the worry of frosting not firming up – I added it and it was runny and the amount of sugar I added to get it to the consistency never occurred. I made a 9 x13 cake and only frosted the top of the cake. It did firm up chilling in fridge but it would never have adhered to the sides. Maybe there is something about the cream of coconut one needs to know – it is a 1/4 solid fat and the rest liquid in the can – is it only the solid fat you need to use?? In any event – thank you for the recipe my family enjoyed it – a perfect dessert to our Easter dinner.
Hi Nora. I use Coco Lopez which, I believe is different than regular canned cream of coconut. It’s thicker and doesn’t separate like the canned stuff does. It works beautifully in the frosting.
Can this be made into cupcakes? I made the cake & it was delicious.
Hi, Jeanette. I haven’t tried converting this into cupcakes. I do have coconut cupcakes.
Made it for Mother’s Day and was a hit. Made it again today for my brother in law birthday.
But this time only use 1/4 cup of the coconut liquid because last time it was so runny that I had to keep adding sugar
to have the right consistency used five and a half! Great cake!
Hi, Lily! I’m so happy that this cake is part of your special days. Thank you for your feedback! 🙂
Want to make this from company coming the end of the month. Can this be made in a 9×13 pan?
Thanks so much,
Hi, Michele, Based on the pan size conversion: 9×13 pan is equivalent to 2(9-inch) round pans… so I think it’s ok to make this in 9×13 pan, just check for doneness. Let us know how it turns out!