Tropical coconut cake is topped with a scrumptious cream cheese frosting. 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.
If you are looking for a simple, no-fuss coconut cake 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.
Making homemade coconut cake
This coconut cream cake is really simple. Don’t be deterred by having to beat the eggs, I have a few tips!
DRY INGREDIENTS. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
EGG WHITES. Beat egg whites in a glass bowl till stiff peaks form. Set aside. (See tips below for beating egg whites)
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.
COMBINE. Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk. Beat till just combined. Gently fold in the stiff egg whites till well incorporated.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
To get the coconut to stick to a cake, add frosting to the cake and then sprinkle on the coconut before the frosting sets.
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:
Coconut Cake recipe
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 room temperature egg whites
- 1/2 cup butter softened
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1 3/4 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 oz cream cheese softened
- 5 tablespoons butter softened
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons cream of coconut (sweetened)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Beat egg whites in a glass bowl till stiff peaks form. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, coconut oil, and sugar till creamy. Beat in the cream of coconut, egg yolks, and vanilla.
- Add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk. Beat till just combined.
- Gently fold in the stiff egg whites till well incorporated.
- Pour batter into a well-greased 9×13" cake pan. Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or till the toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely.
Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
- Beat cream cheese and butter till smooth and creamy.
- Beat in coconut extract, salt, powdered sugar, and enough cream of coconut to make a spreadable consistency.
- Spread frosting over cooled cake and sprinkle with toasted coconut.
I am not normally a fan of coconut, but this cake is super delicious! So tasty!
This cake is moist and full of coconut flavoring. Sure to please those that love cocconut!
Mmmm!! Seriously so good!
Coconut Cake! One of my favorites!!!
What a great recipe to cure my sweet tooth! Easy and delicious too! Yum!
This cake just might be my new favorite! It was so easy and everyone that tried it loved it!
The biggest coconut fan over here and this cake is fantastic! Thank you for sharing this recipe.
This cake is my weakness! should be illegal!
I made this for friends who came over a few nights ago and everyone loved it! I know it’s a hit when they ask for the recipe. Thanks!
This coconut cake turned out perfect and was so delicious! Definitely a must-try for coconut lovers.
Brought this to our family gathering (in the beach) yesterday and it was a hit! The cream cheese frosting is a winner!
I’m so happy to hear that! Thanks for giving the recipe a try!