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This coconut cake recipe is topped with a scrumptious cream cheese frosting along with toasted coconut. It’s a tasty dessert to enjoy all year long!

The coconut flavor in this cake is to die for! If you’re a coconut fan, you’ll want to try Coconut Cookies and Coconut Cream Pie next.

Coconut cake recipe with a bite on a fork.

It’s AMAZING!

If you are looking for a simple, no-fuss coconut cake recipe that is loaded with coconut flavor, you’ve come to the right place. This cake is easy to make, and tastes simply amazing!

With a delicious coconut cream cheese frosting, topped with toasted coconut, it’s sure to knock it out of the park with ANY coconut lover. The flavors are so amazing and tasty that they may just make a coconut convert out of anyone.

It’s also perfect for summertime! It’s cool and full of summer flavor, making it one of our favorite cake recipes.

Coconut cake batter in a mixing bowl.

How to Make Coconut Cake

  1. DRY INGREDIENTS. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. EGG WHITES. Beat egg whites in a glass bowl till stiff peaks form. Set aside. (See tips below for beating egg whites)
  3. WET INGREDIENTS. In a large mixing bowl, or in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat unsalted butter, coconut oil, and sugar on medium speed till creamy. Beat in the cream of coconut, egg yolks, and vanilla.
  4. COMBINE. Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk. Beat till just combined. Gently fold in the stiff egg whites till well incorporated.
  5. BAKE. Pour batter into a well-greased 9×13″ cake pan or line it with parchment paper. Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until the toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely.
  6. TOPPING. After your cake is cooled and frosted, sprinkle it with toasted coconut. Of course, if you prefer, you can just use regular sweetened coconut flakes. It will still be delicious!
Whipping egg whites in a metal bowl.

Tips for beating egg whites

The beaten egg whites are a huge factor for the amazing texture of this cake. Here are some tips on how to do it:

  • It works better if the eggs are at room temperature. I usually just place my cold eggs in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes before cracking them.
  • Beat them in a clean oil-free glass or metal bowl for the best results.
  • Since you don’t want any grease to come in contact with the egg whites, I like to beat them first, then use the beaters to make the rest of the batter.
  • Fold the whites into the batter using a large spatula. Be gentle so that all the added air stays intact.

How to Toast Coconut

One of the ingredients that add so much flavor is the toasted coconut on top. It’s super easy to make.

  • Spread your shredded coconut flakes (sweetened or unsweetened coconut is fine) in a cake pan or on a cookie sheet.
  • Bake at 350°F for 6-7 minutes making sure to watch it closely and toss often.
  • Once golden brown, pull them out right away. If they cook too long, they can catch on fire!

They can be browned in a frying pan. Cook on low-medium heat stirring the entire time so it toasts evenly.

How to toast coconut in a baking pan.

Recipe Tips

Flour. Coconut flour cannot be substituted without making significant changes to the other ingredients to allow for the higher absorbency in coconut flour. Cake flour may be used instead of all-purpose flour for a softer crumb.

Cream of coconut v coconut cream. There is a difference, so do not grab the wrong canned coconut at the store.

  • A can of coconut cream or coconut milk is the cream that rises to the top of canned coconut milk.
  • A can of cream of coconut (the ingredient you want) is coconut cream that has been sweetened.

Pans. Easily use round cake pans or a muffin tin.

  • Two 9-inch round cake pans: Bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Layer cake: Add a flavored filling between the baked 9” round layers. Lemon, lime, strawberry, orange, and pineapple are all great flavors to try.
  • Cupcakes: Bake 350°F for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cream cheese frosting in a white bowl.

How to Store

STORE. Since this coconut cake recipe uses a cream cheese frosting do not store it at room temperature. If the cake is going to be out for longer than a couple of hours before or after being served go ahead and stick it in the fridge.

Cover the cake with plastic wrap or in an airtight container. Store in the fridge for 4-5 days.

FREEZE with or without the frosting and coconut topping. Wrap the old fashioned coconut cake in plastic wrap then again with aluminum foil. Label and store for 4-6 months. Thaw in the fridge.

A square slice of easy coconut cake on a white plate.

Recipe FAQ

How do I get the coconut to stick to the cake?

To get the coconut to stick to a cake, add frosting to the cake and then sprinkle on the coconut before the frosting sets.

What is cream of coconut?

The cream of coconut used in this recipe is different from coconut cream and coconut milk. Be sure you grab the right can at the grocery store! Cream of coconut is coconut cream that has been sweetened.

For More Coconut Treats, Try:

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5 from 19 votes

Coconut Cake Recipe

By: Lil’ Luna
Tropical coconut cake is topped with a scrumptious cream cheese frosting. It's a tasty dessert to enjoy all year long!
Servings: 15
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 1 hour

Ingredients 

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 room temperature egg whites
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • cups sugar
  • 1 cup cream of coconut, (sweetened, not coconut milk)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 4 ounces cream cheese , softened
  • 5 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 pinch salt
  • ½ teaspoon coconut extract
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons cream of coconut, (sweetened)
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Instructions 

Coconut Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 9-inch cake pans with cooking spray. 
  • Make toasted coconut. Spread 1 cup shredded coconut flakes (sweetened or unsweetened coconut) on a cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 6-7 minutes, watching closely, and toss often. Once golden brown, pull them out right away.
  • Whisk 2¾ cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, and ½ teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Beat 4 egg whites in a glass bowl until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat ½ cup butter, ½ cup coconut oil, and 1¾  cups sugar till creamy.
  • Beat in 1 cup cream of coconut, 4 egg yolks, and 1 teaspoon vanilla.
  • Add the dry ingredients and the 1 cup buttermilk. Beat until just combined.
  • Gently fold in the stiff egg whites until well incorporated.
  • Pour batter evenly into prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Beat 4 ounces cream cheese and butter till smooth and creamy.
  • Beat in 1 teaspoon coconut extract, 1 pinch salt, 5-6 cups powdered sugar, and 2-4 tablespoons cream of coconut to make a spreadable consistency.
  • Level the tops of Place the second cake layer on top, then spread the frosting around the top and sides.
  • Sprinkle with toasted coconut on top and untoasted coconut on sides.

Notes

Recipe inspired by Broma Bakery.

Nutrition

Calories: 561kcal, Carbohydrates: 80g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 18g, Cholesterol: 88mg, Sodium: 265mg, Potassium: 95mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 61g, Vitamin A: 505IU, Calcium: 53mg, Iron: 1.3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
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About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Recipe Rating




15 Comments

  1. Alan says:

    5 stars
    Could you please send us a link of cream of coconut (sweetened)?

    Thanks!

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:
  2. Dorene Schleiger says:

    5 stars
    Love it

  3. Sharina says:

    5 stars
    Brought this to our family gathering (in the beach) yesterday and it was a hit! The cream cheese frosting is a winner!

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      I’m so happy to hear that! Thanks for giving the recipe a try!