Southern Coconut Cake

Southern Coconut Cake

It’s been somewhat of a stressful week in our house, or at least it started out that way. John is nearly a year old now and has never been a good sleeper. Part of that is because of him, part of it is because of me. I’ve indulged in his bad nighttime behavior for far too long. But last weekend I had had enough.

I finally got around to reading the book 

my pediatrician recommended months ago and found the inspiration and motivation I was looking for. And so we let him cry it out.

Southern Coconut Cake

And that’s why it’s been a long week. For 3 nights we tried to sleep while he was in the next room screaming. It was horrible. Those of you who have gone through this know what I’m talking about.

Then on the fourth night something magical happened. He slept through the night for the first time in his life, and I got a full night’s sleep for the first time in a year. I’ve never woken up in a better mood.

And so I baked a cake to celebrate.

Southern Coconut Cake

This coconut cake recipe has been on my site for a few years now and I thought it needed an update. It turns out I didn’t really like the frosting of the original, this coconut cream cheese buttercream is much, much better.

And underneath the coconut buttercream is a tender and airy white cake scented with coconut milk and coconut flavoring, with a light filling of the buttercream mixed with whipped cream in between each layer of cake. All together it’s a coconut lover’s dream come true.

I had a piece of cake this afternoon, and I even gave John a few bites. If tonight goes as well, we’ll share another piece for breakfast tomorrow.

Southern Coconut Cake

Why Use Cake Flour?

Cake flour is high in starch and low in protein. It’s the proteins in all-purpose flour that cause a cake to be tough if the batter is overworked, and cake flour helps to make sure that doesn’t happen. Use cake flour in a recipe when it calls for it and you’ll get tender cakes every time.

If you don’t have cake flour on hand, substitute 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour for 1 cup of cake flour.

Southern Coconut Cake

Southern Coconut Cake

Yield: One 8-inch layer cake

Southern Coconut Cake

A light and tender layer cake with the flavor of coconut through and through.

Ingredients

    For the cake:
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml, 4 fl oz) whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flavoring
  • 3 cups (340 grams) cake flour
  • 2 1/3 (470 grams) cups sugar
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (237 ml, 8 fl oz) unsweetened coconut milk
  • For the Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting:
  • 8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups (455 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1-3 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk or regular milk
  • 1 teaspoon coconut flavoring
  • 1 cup (85 grams) unsweetened coconut
  • For the Whipped Cream Cheese Filling:
  • 1 cup of the Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting (above)
  • 1 cup (237 ml, 8 fl oz) heavy whipping cream

Instructions

    To make the cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-inch (or 9-inch) cake pans and line with parchment paper. (See note)
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg whites, whole milk and coconut flavoring.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and coconut milk and combine on low speed until moistened. Increase speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the egg white mixture in 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl and mixing just long enough to incorporate between additions.
  4. Divide the batter among the prepared pans and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in their pans for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto cooling racks to cool completely.
  5. To make the buttercream:
  6. Beat together the butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar on medium high speed until light and creamy. Add the coconut flavoring and enough coconut milk (or regular milk) to reach a spreadable consistency. Mix until smooth.
  7. Spread the coconut on a sheet pan. Toast in a 350 degree oven until golden, checking every 2 minutes. Watch it carefully, the coconut will burn fast. Let it cool completely.
  8. To make the Whipped Cream Cheese Filling.
  9. With a whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream until it starts to thicken. Add 1 cup of the cream cheese buttercream a spoonful at a time while mixing on medium-high speed. Whip to soft peaks.
  10. To frost the cake:
  11. If desired, slice the 2 cake layers in half to create 4 layers. Place one cake layer on a cake stand or plate. Cover with the whipped cream cheese filling. Repeat with the rest of the layers. Frost the entire cake with the remaining cream cheese buttercream and cover in the toasted coconut.
  12. Chill for one hour before serving. Store in the fridge, cake will keep for several days.

Note: I've had some comments about the batter not fitting in two 8-inch pans. My pans are 4 inches deep and can accommodate a lot of batter. If you have only 2-inch deep pans, consider using 3 pans or 9-inch pans.

Recipe adapted from Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes.

Original recipe posted November 2010 and updated March 2013.

2.6
http://www.completelydelicious.com/2013/03/southern-coconut-cake.html

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

250 Comments

Oh My, Oh My – I LOVE coconut! This looks unbelievable! I really need to get that cookbook…. One question – Under the title (of the recipe), it says makes One 8-inch cake, so did you double this to make a layer cake? Or did it mean 1 "whole" cake, including the layers? This is on my must make list now!

dose cake make one layer cake or is it 3 layers, do I need to double the recipe. and can this cake be made as a sheet cake that would serve 20

This recipe makes one tall layer cake. How many layers in the cake is up to you. I baked mine in 2 8-inch round pans and cut each of those cakes in two, in order to make 4 layers. You can also divide batter evenly between 3 8-inch pans and bake that way. You can bake as a sheet cake, but since I have not done it myself, I don’t have a pan size recommendation or baking time adjustment. But give it a try if you want! And let me know what you end up doing! Good luck!

I made in 2 8″ pans as recommended and it ran over big time in my oven. Boy did I have a mess to clean and the cake wasn’t nearly baked in 35 minutes. Next time I’ll put into 3 8″ pans for sure.

I’m sorry to hear some of you are having trouble with the pans overflowing. My pans are 4 inches deep and can accommodate a lot of batter, and I overlooked the fact that many bakers are using pans 2 inches deeps. I’ve made a note on the recipe to hopefully prevent problems in the future, and I apologize that I wasn’t clearer from the beginning. It’s always such a bummer when you try a recipe and it fails so miserably! I hope you’ll give it another go, this is one of the best (and most loved) recipes from my site.

Wendy- good question! I've clarified my post. The original recipe makes a three layer cake, but I only wanted two so my layers were thicker and required a longer baking time.

Layered cake = a cake with multiple layers. You’ll need to use multiple cake pans to make one layered cake. Sometimes you can make a layer cake by cutting one cake layer (from one cake pan) in half, but I’m not sure all of the batter for this recipe would fit in one pan, unless you used a 4-inch deep pan. Hope this helps! :)

Sounds great! I'm trying to find a New Orleans wedding cake recipe. Think they use almond as the flavoring. You wouldn't happen to have a recipe like that?

Hi, I'm new here, and am excited to try this cake. However, I'm not sure where I can get coconut flavoring. Is it like coconut extract? Can I get it in a normal grocery store? Thanks!

Your cake looks yummy. I'm not crazy about coconut, but I have a bunch of coconut flakes leftover from a Daring Baker's challenge that I need to use. I will try out this recipe.

Coconut extract will work fine. All my grocery store had was "coconut flavoring" and while I'm not exactly sure what the difference is, it got the job done.

And Jessy, there are many tricks to getting even layers. You can cut off the domed tops once the layers have cooled, or if you don't want to waste any cake (although those scraps are scrumptious!), turn down the oven to 300 degrees F and increase the baking time until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Also, Wilton sells strips that you soak in water and wrap around the pans that are supposed to produce flat layers, although I haven't used them myself.

Good luck!

if coconutty isn't a word, it should be. coconut rules, and this cake is pure and lovely and undoubtedly delicious. you do good work. :)

DELICIOUS!!! Thank you for sharing! Was easy to make. Used two 9" round because I didn't have 8" rounds and baked for 33 min. Love it and will make again.

Thanks for sharing this recipe…I halved it and made a mini cake using 6 inch round pans. I didn't have time to work with the frosting so I used a basic cream cheese frosting, subbing coconut milk and extract for the regular milk and vanilla extract. It turned out delish!!! Thanks again!

extremely yummy coconut cake! thanks for making my husband's birthday cake such a delicious and happy surprise. Our frosting, though, had a bit of a runny marshmallow-like consistency. Is that the way it's supposed to be or did I do something incorrectly? thanks!

I made this cake for my husband's birthday last weekend and it was a hit. This cake is delicious and beautiful. And thanks for the tip about how to make it all level – I enjoyed eating the cake scraps, and it made the cake look so nice once it was frosted.

I made a whipped cream frosting with a little coconut extract in it, and topped it with toasted, unsweetened coconut flakes. But it was the cake that wowed. Thanks for such an amazing recipe! ~leslie

I made this cake yesterday for my family and oh my God!!! it was a big hit. This is a real coconut cake from beginning to end. The only thing i did differently is I added both coconut and vanilla flavoring to the cake and the frosting and yes..I added a little coconut milk to the frosting as well…This is my go to coconut cake. Thank you…Thank you..thank you for this recipe.

I am not understanding why you would grease and flour the pans and then line with parchment paper. Do you mean to do one or the other? I also assume I am using the frosting as the filling, too? Thanks. It looks great and I am wanting to make this as a birthday cake for someone who really loves coconut through and through.

It’s my experience that merely greasing the pan is not enough to ensure that a cake will come away from the pan intact, and so I like to use parchment paper as well. And greasing the parchment paper ensures that it too will come away from the cake without taking any of the cake with it. And yes, the icing should be used as the filling. Good luck with the birthday cake, I’m sure the coconut lover will enjoy it!

I just wanted to say that if you grease the pan, then swirl flour to cover the entire pan, this is a guaranteed way for the cake to not stick. Make sure to dump any ‘un-stuck’ flour. My mom used to make and sell cakes, and this was her trick. Hope that helps too :)

What a fabulous recipe! I used this recipe over the weekend to make my boyfriends Birthday cake. I searched quite a bit for one with ingredients that I felt would make a spectacular cake, and found them in yours! Instead of the frosting that goes with this, I made my own coconut whipped buttercream frosting; not a big fan of the eggwhite frostings.
Just wanted to say thank you for sharing and to let you know I credited your site on my blog for your fabulously sweet recipe.
Thanks :)

FabulouslySweet.com

I don’t know what I did wrong, but the icing would just not firm up. The cakes look great, but the icing is runny and liquefied. I guess I will just go with a regular cream cheese frosting.

I halved the coconut flavoring. I made as stated the first time, it was just too much. Also, the icing is to runny, why add 1 cup of milk? Not well written, buy great cake.

Leslie, I’m sorry to hear you had trouble with the recipe! Just came back to double check I hadn’t made a mistake, but there is no 1 cup milk in the frosting. Maybe you were confused about the 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes?

I made this cake and is tasted wonderful, however, it was VERY small. It didn’t seem to rise very much. The cake was tiny, 8″ 2 layer cake but only made it to about 3″ in height. I did the recipe step by step. What could have gone wrong?

My bet would be that the egg whites weren’t whipped enough to and/or when added you stirred them too much. You need to make sure there is plenty of air (but don’t over whip the whites) for the cake to leaven properly.

This may have to be my first post Passover baking project.

By the way, my daughter will be 28 on 4/6, but I still remember using Dr. Ferber’s book to get her to sleep through the night after 18 months of endless fussy nightly marathons. I swear she cried every time I put her down for the first year, and rarely napped!

I’m so glad you finally got a good night’s sleep! I hear how hard it is all the time to just hear lie there as your baby is crying but I guess it’s something you gotta train them to do. I’m sure when it comes time for me to have children, this’ll be something I learn to do!

This cake is absolutely stunning and has all the flavors I love!

I just made this cake and I did a lot of researching of recipes before I come upon this one. I chose it for the ingredients and how good the picture was. This cake was amazing! It is so soft and pillow like! I definitely recommend trying this cake if your still wondering. But I must say I was terrified of the frosting. So I only had 1/2 cup of heavy cream so that’s all I used and I whipped it all the way and then folded it in the cream cheese frosting. It didn’t make it to runny..but it didn’t seem to add much to it but make it a little thinner and fluffier. Which is delicious but when your trying to ice the sides it tends to run off like its melting. So be quick and stick it in the fridge I’m sure that will do the trick! That’s what stage mine is at now. Also, I put mine in two 9″ cake pans and the rest in about 6 cupcake. I was afraid it wouldn’t fit in my cake box. All in all this is a good cake! Try it! And thanks for the recipe!

I want this cake up in my face. No will power. And I hear you on the sleep training. Our first born (now 6) had to finally cry it out. He was ijust more and more infuriated when we went in to soothe him then leave. Finally tried cry it out and PRAISE BE! He slept. Totally new ballgame with the second though :)

Hi there! Someone in my Myspace group shared this site with
us so I came to check it out. I’m definitely loving the information. I’m bookmarking and will
be tweeting this to my followers! Wonderful blog and great design.

Hi

Hi Love your blog – but think there’s an error re cake flour tip – you say ‘If you don’t have cake flour on hand, substitute 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour for 1 cup of cake flour’ don’t you have to take out two tbsps and replace with two tbsps of something else – baking soda? Can’t remember off the top of my head but I know I have to do this when making US recipes as we aren’t able to purchase bleached flour here in the UK or Europe as bleached flour is against health regulations.

Thanks for your comment, Lesley. I had to do some research on this one. It looks like the advice out there is split. Some of the resources I checked said the same thing I did- just remove 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour for every cup to equal 1 cup cake flour. And some other sources said to replace those 2 tablespoons of removed all purpose flour with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and sift well. Looks like I’m going to have to try it both ways to see which one I like best! Have you tried either?

You remove 2 Tbsp of AP/plain flour and replace it with cornstarch. As is currently, the tip doesn’t make sense; it is redundant.

Anyway, I plan to try out this recipe. The cake looks amazing! I will sub buttermilk for the regular milk, since the former makes cakes much more moist and rich. YUM!

I have to say that this is one gorgeous looking cake. I wanted to make something special for hubby for Father’s Day and this will definitely be the one . I just love coconut cake and could eat this till I explode!

Well I only had skim milk and heavy cream so did half and half we will see how this turns out lol :0

I’m sure (I hope!) it turned out just fine. Really, any liquid will do. Whole milk is just a great all-purpose liquid!

I made this today and mine completely fell apart. I’m not sure what happened! What could’ve caused that to happen? It still tasted great though!

I did this too. The directions were so good and then mine fell apart and the cake was a little too overcooked I think. Ugh. Maybe Ill try again another time.

I made this cake today with my niece. It was very moist. With all the coconut ingredients I thought it would be more coconut flavor but it was very subtle. Mine did fall apart on the sides but I think that’s because it was just cooled when I was icing it. I think if I let it sit longer before icing it I don’t think that would be a problem. Having an impatient little six-year-old waiting for her finished cake made me frosted it as soon as it got cooled. I followed the recipe as it. I found the buttercream frosting a little too sweet so I would cut down to 3 cups of confectioners sugar next time I make this.Thanks for sharing your recipe!

So glad you liked the cake! And I would have to agree that letting the cake cool completely before frosting it will make a huge difference. If you’re in a rush, put it in the fridge to speed things up. Thanks for the comment!

Hi Annalise, thank you for sharing this recipe. I am not a baker and have never made a cake before this one. I followed the recipe directions but the cake was not light and airy like yours but rather dense and heavy. The only deviation I made from the recipe was I baked the cakes for about 45 minutes because that’s how long it took to get a clean toothpick. I did use the cake flour and waited until the cakes were completely cool before frosting. Do you have any idea what may have caused this denseness so I can try to avoid the same mistake next time?

Again thanks for sharing and I appreciate your help.

Without being in your kitchen with you while you made this cake, unfortunately I couldn’t tell you what went wrong. That being said, the cake’s texture is as much about how it’s mixed as it is what goes in it. Perhaps it was mixed too much once you added the dry ingredients? I’m sorry I can’t be of more help, and I’m sorry the cake didn’t turn out!

I’m so glad you liked the cake! It is one of my favorites. Just had a look at your version and it’s beautiful, thanks for sharing!

I like the picture of the cake above but when it comes to adding the cooked coconut am i suppose to put some cooked mixed with some uncooked? Because it doesnt look like all the coconut was cooked on the picture above. I want to get it perfect because im it for my fiance.

I would like to know what you mean by the: unsweetened coconut, which is the last ingredient for the buttercream frosting. Could you clarify, thanks. Is it coconut flakes, coconut milk…?

I just want to say that I was so intimidated by this recipe at first. I bake a lot-but usually not cakes (more of a cookie person). This sounded so complicated! But, tomorrow is my mom’a birthday and coconut cake is her favorite. So, I gave it a try. Just want to say that everything turned out beautifully! The whole house smells delicious! The icings are wonderful-and, although I haven’t tasted the cake- I know it will be fantastic! Thank you for sharing this recipe with us!!!

This was an AMAZING cake! I made the cake the day before and frosted/assembled it the day of.
I substituted coconut milk for all the milks used above and added unsweetened coconut to the frosting and toasted sweetened coconut for the outside and it turned out so well. It was a great mixture and not too sweet. I’d make this again in a heartbeat!

Hello,
I have searched for the perfect coconut cake recipe for so long for my cousins engagement cake and then I found this, it had everything I was looking for although I did have some difficulty. The cake batter appeared curdeled and came out of the oven quiet dense and crusty on the outside. And then when I made the filling it curdeled when I added the frosting. Although the overall taste was good it defiantly looked nothing like yours… Any tips?

This is hands down the best cake I have ever had. We threw a surprise party for my sister-in-law’s 30th birthday and she is a huge coconut lover so my brother asked me to bake a coconut cake for her. Again, best cake ever. My entire family raved about it and my sister in law LOVED it. She said it reminded her of wedding cake and my brother was speechless. I ended up using 2 9 inch pans and cutting the layers in half to make a 4 layer cake. I will say you have to be delicate with the cake layers. Mine did not crumble but slight pieces fell off if I wasn’t careful. I followed the recipe exactly and it was perfect. This was a truly beautiful and extraordinary cake. Best cake I’ve ever made.

In your recipe for the Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting you call for 1-3 tablespoons of unsweetened coconut milk. Exactly how many tablespoons is it supposed to be? And does it matter if the coconut milk is unsweetened or not?

The amount you use will depend on your preference. I add a tablespoon at a time until it reaches my preferred spreadable consistency. And unsweetened coconut milk is preferred since there is so much sugar in the recipe already, but you could use sweetened. Just know the frosting will be sweeter.

Tonight was the second time I made this cake; and again it was amazing! I made a few modifications. I used a little less butter (5 Tb) in the icing & added a ts vanilla. For the inside layer I used a jar of lemon curd. Also, for the cake I kept one yolk out of the five. It is a very tender and moist cake. In my opinion way better than cooks illustrated’s. Thanks! It has become a birthday favorite!

I’ve made this cake too many times to count in the last few months. Everyone loves it. It’s coconut through and through. I’m making it again for my boyfriends’ Thanksgiving.

Thanks for this awesome recipe!

I saw this recipe here and my bf beg me for a coconut cake for years so for his bday I wanted to surprise him .. So I send this yummy recipe to my friend and she made the cake … To die for … It was so delicious and it was a thumbs up for my bf … Will be doing some myself in the near future .. Thanks for sharing

I was pleasantly surprised at how yummy this cake is. I always dabble with extract and emulsions so I was able to make adjustments according to the taste that I was trying to achieve and it was an awesome experience. This cake is easy and extremely moist. I thank you for sharing and am thankful to have had the pleasure. Next time I will add some pineapples and am sure that it will be equally as awesome.

Hi, I only have 4 inch deep pans. Can I still make this exact recipe or I have to make modifications. I know the baking time and temperature will change but can you also give me your opinion on the best time and temp to use? Thanks

You have 4-inch pans or pans that are 4 inches deep? If they’re just 4 inches deep, you’ll be fine to proceed with the recipe as normal. If they are 4-inch round pans, you might try cutting the recipe in half, otherwise you’ll end up with at least 4 layers and a very tall cake!

Oh, I meant an 8 inch pan that is 4 inches deep but you’ve answered that already. Thanks for your prompt response.; really appreciate it. Will try it soon and let you know
.

Annalise, because of your unique and amazing recipe, i have made my husband a very very happy man. He loves coconut cake and recently asked if I could make him one. Out of all the recipes on the internet, i chose yours. As I was preparing it, i thought that maybe it was going to be a coconut overload with the milk and extract in both the cake and frosting but it could not have been more of a delightful combination! The only problem i had was that my 8-inch pans were too small for the amount of batter in this cake. I am not sure why but other than that, this is truly the best cake i have ever made! My husband was ever so pleased. It is the best coconut cake I have ever tasted. I haven’t had a bakery come close to this deliciously moist and flavorful cake and the best part is, I made it! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this comment! I’m so glad to hear that both you and your husband enjoyed this cake. It’s one of my favorites! I know it does seem like a lot of coconut flavor at first, but I think the flavor of the coconut milk is lost during baking. I agree, it’s the right amount!

Sorry you had trouble with your cake pans. I have 4-inch deep cake pans, like these: round cake pans.

Will be making this for my son’s birthday in a few days. We are a family of three so I would like to halve the cake batter recipe and bake in 6″ pans. I am not a regular baker and would really appreciate any advice as to cooking times with the smaller size. Thanks and I’m looking forward to trying this version – looks absolutely moist and delicious. Also, love the tips you provide.

Hi Barbara! I’m so happy you’re giving this recipe a try. It’s one of my favorites. I can’t give you specific instructions since I have not attempted a scaled-down cake before, but I would advise checking on the cake after 20 minutes, and every 3-5 minutes after that until the centers have slightly domed and bounce back when pressed gently. Keep the temp the same. Good luck, I hope it turns out. And happy birthday to your son!

Annalise, this is a fantastic cake … thanks. Happy to have found our new go to recipe for coconut cake. And your tips on building a layered cake were incredibly helpful. Looking forward to visiting your blog often.

I made this cake this past Xmas. It came out wonderful! It takes time but in the end it’s so worth it. My sister, Mom & niece rave over it. Will try it again. Thank Thank you so much for the recipe.

Wow, like everyone else, I really love this cake. It is so moist and tender. Thanks for teaching me the joys of cake flour. This is a great recipe. Thanks again, Dave

Thanks for this awesome recipe! I made it with a little twist and substituted the butter 1:1 for virgin coconut oil. Adds another depth to the coconut flavour!

This cake was awesome! Couldn’t have came out better. Made it for my moms birthday since she loves coconut so this was the perfect choice and I got plenty of compliments on it. Thanks for the wonderful recipe (:

I thought this cake was great and had lots of compliments. However, when I went to cut the cooled cakes in half the first completely fell apart. So I had to improvise. Next, unsweetened coconut is completely tasteless, so I used sweetened. I thought the recipe was great, but it was a 6 out of 10 on real coconutty flavor. Granted, the only coconut flavor I could buy locally was a store brand. I’m ordering an extract from the Internet for the next one. The icing and filling recipes were great.

Just made this cake for my Dad for his 80th birthday. He loves coconut cake and asks for it every year. I was so thankful to find your recipe. I followed the recipe step by step and the cake turned out fabulously. We are having at least 20 people over tomorrow to celebrate and I’m so thankful to be able to serve this lovely cake. I will definitely be making it again!

Absolutely! You can make any cake recipe into cupcakes. I’d fill liners 2/3 full and bake them for about 10-12 minutes. Not sure of the yield, probably several dozen. Happy baking!

Do you have a recipe for the 7 minute icing? My aunt use to make cakes using this icing and I have NEVER tasted any icing this good in my life. It’s absolutely awesome !!!! thanks EL

i have a question? Can i use a hand mixer because i don’t have a stand mixer so i will have to do it manuel would that be okay? i’m looking forward to making this Coconut cake for my hubby for his birthday.. this is his favorite.

I made this cake for the first time a few months ago. Even those that aren’t so fond of coconut love this cake! Recently I used your cake and buttercream frosting recipe to make cupcakes. They were delicious as well, but I missed the whipped cream cheese layer :) Thank you for sharing this recipe. My family and friends are forever grateful!

Wanting to make this in two days…hoping you can tell me if I can use my box of coconut milk ( a dairy-alternative) or if I’m supposed to use that cream of coconut in a can. ?

You should use your coconut milk, as long as it’s unsweetened. Do not use the super sweet coconut cream stuff. Hope this helps!

This cake is so worth the effort! made it this year for Easter. eating it was like one of those memorable ‘food moments’ when my sister looked at me and said i should open a bakery. listen, this cake has a LOT of steps, but if you can follow directions and take a couple of days to do it, you won’t be sorry. promise. what a great recipie!

oh and used 3, 8″ cake pans and just did 3 layers. i halved the whipped cream/buttercream filling recipe since i had fewer layers to frost. 1/2 cup buttercream and 1/2 cup whipping cream. worked prefectly. the layers were fewer but a little larger, so the extra1/2 cup buttercream came in handy. wouldn’t have had enough to frost the outside of the cake otherwise.

I made this cake for Easter this past Saturday. I went to culinary school and have made dozens of cakes so when my aunt told me this was hands down the best cake she’s ever eaten I knew I nailed a new recipe! Thank you greatly for posting it. I love finding new ones and trying them out and I was so happy with how this turned out! Beautiful! I used two 9″ pans and halved them. So perfect. Happy Easter!

Hi, I hope you get a chance to read this. I’d like to make this cake today because it looks/sounds amazing, but I’m a bit concerned about my pans. The only pans I have are quite small — I have just 2 and they are 6 inches wide and about 3 inches deep. Can you make a recommendation for how far I should fill them so they don’t over-flow? Half full? A quarter full? I think I can manage this recipe but I’d hate for it to be ruined just because of over-flow. Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated! Aside from this I’m looking forward to baking this! Thanks in advance.

P.S. If you think my pans will cause this recipe to end badly no matter what, maybe I should do cupcakes instead? If so, how far do you advise I fill an average size cupcake mold?

Hi Katie! As a general rule, I never fill any of my cake pans more than 2/3 full. With 6-inch pans, I’m not sure how many layers you’re going to get- at least 4, and maybe 5 or 6. If you only have 2, just bake them 2 at a time. Your cake batter is okay to sit out on the counter while the first batch(es) is/are baking. Once they are done baking, let them cool 5 minutes in the pan, then transfer them to a cooling rack. Wash your pans and re-grease and line with parchment and bake another batch. You might end up with a really tall cake, or you could choose to do two smaller cakes (though that may require more frosting). Cupcakes are a good option too! Fill the muffin tins 2/3 full also. This recipe will likely make 3 dozen+ cupcakes.

I hope this is at least somewhat helpful! Happy baking!

Thank you! I was just standing here putting my ingredients together for cupcakes as your reply came through! I appreciate you replying, and I’m going to go ahead with cupcakes for today. I’m sure these will be delicious and when I use your recipe again I’ll be sure to just go ahead and get bigger pans. I’m just too nervous about using these small pans today. I’ll let you know how these cupcakes turn out though. ;)

So I finished the cupcakes. I ended up doing one set of cupcakes and then using the rest of the batter for the 2 small cake pans. I had to deal with a couple of unexpected distractions which caused me to lose focus and make mistakes in the mixing process (putting one thing in before the other thing — like that), but all in all the cake came out great. I wish I’d just gone for all the batter in the two pans. It would have been perfect. The cake is very soft and spongy — similar to spongecake but not THAT spongy. The flavor is wonderful. The frosting came out well, but the whipped filling was a bit too thin — the result of mistakes made in the mixing, as I mentioned. Still, the cake (and cupcakes!) came out quite well for being my first time with this recipe (and with distractions!). Now I just have to wait for everyone to get home and give me their verdict. :)

This cake looks delicious and is a truly “white” cake, at least in the picture. Just a couple of questions. I have only a hand mixer. Will that do? Also, should the egg whites be at room temperature or chilled from the fridge? Making this for Mother’s Day this weekend. Thank you!

Hi! Thx for your recipe! It was great!! I just made it this past Sun for mothers day and got rave reviews! I added half almond extract (1/2) tsp and half vanilla extract (1/2) tsp and used coconut milk … vs cocount flavoring or imitation coconit which ia all my store had. I like to keep thinga ass natrual as possible. What I did to get extra coconut flavor ia added coconut cream (comes in a box at the store) to my frosting. I used a Pyrex casserole dish and cut the cake in half lengthwise for the filling. It turned out beautifl and very delish!!

THANK YOU FOR THIS !!!!!!!!!! I’m making it for a baby shower and can hardly wait to serve it !!! My southern momma LOVED coconut cake and she would surely have loved this recipe. There was almost always a coconut cake sitting on the dining room table. :)

My trick is to heavily butter the pan and flour it, then refrigerate the pan while I’m mixing the batter. This makes the flour and butter cold again and it makes a solid layer against the batter. Never, ever had a cake stick when I use this method. Also, I sometimes use the ez-foil pans instead of regular baking pans, and since they are flexible I can just pop the cake out. However, my cakes end up slightly domed because they don’t bake as evenly in those types of pans, and I end up having to slice my cakes to make nice flat layers.

This cake turned out very nice!! The only thing I would recommend is refridgerating the layers with the whipped buttercream (the middle stuff) for an hour before icing. I didn’t do that and the layers were falling.

Would you make some recommendations for altitude adjustments for your coconut cake. I live at 4500 ft and most cake sink in the middle. Thanks

Hi Sue! I live just above 4,500 ft and rarely make any adjustments to my recipes, though I know other locals that do. Unfortunately since I don’t do much high altitude baking I can’t offer much suggestions, sorry! I’m sure there are many high altitude baking resources online if you look!

I made this today and filled it with some lemon curd, delicious! But it didn’t rise very much. I made 3/5 of the recipe (would have halved it but halving an egg white seemed silly) and put it in one 8″ pan. The only thing I can think of as to why is the egg whites. The recipe says to whisk slightly, as I was doing it I really felt like I should be whipping them at least to soft peaks but I followed the recipe and it didn’t rise… Have you any idea why? Am I supposed to whip the whites?
Would love to try it again, thanks.

I made this today because I couldn’t find my regular one. Let’s just say it can stay lost. This was THE BEST coconut cake evvvver!!! My customers went crazy for it. It was a beautiful cake too. So light and fluffy. Your an angel. Thank you!!!! I will use no other one again. ;)

I made your cake for a birthday party last week.Got more compliments.It is the best! Will make it again for my daughter ‘s B. D. this week.I decorated the cake with sugared pansies ! So pretty. Thanks.Helen.

This cake was so fun to make, really pretty, and so delicious. I’m am learning to be a better baker by making lots of cakes – then taking them into work to my little guinea pigs. This was a hit. Thank you for the great recipe. It’s a keeper!

I attempted this cake twice today trying to bake my wife her favorite, coconut cake for her birthday. The first attempt had several issues: perhaps the baking powder was not in date and I used the convection feature on the oven thinking I could cut baking time. The layers looked like pancakes instead of cake. They tasted okay just did not rise. So I made a second attempt with NEW baking powder and NO convection. Once again the layers did not rise; they were tasty but looked like pancakes. Eventually I adapted a French vanilla box cake mix and used your recipe for frosting and filling. The filling was a little runny. I had to use frosting on the edges of each layer to keep it from running down the side. I did finally get a pretty cake to put on the cake stand I made her for her special day. Where do you think I went wrong?

Beautiful cake, loved it. My cake didn’t turn out white though, it’s a bit yellowish.even thoug I only used the egg whites..hm.

You can store the cake layers, unfrosted, in the freezer for up to 2 months. Just make sure they’re well-wrapped in plastic wrap. Let them thaw completely in their wrappings before frosting.

I made this cake for the 4th time yesterday and everyone loved it!!! This cake is moist and delicious. Thank you for another amazing recipe.

I would prefer to use whole eggs ( I hate wasting food & would have no use for 5 yolks). I would think 3 whole eggs would do & I guess it will be not as white. Any ideas?

Hi there
Could I use coconut cream instead of milk? Just to get it a bit richer? AND for it to be able to hold underneath fondant? Thanks a stack – beautiful cake!

I made this cake yesterday. It was alot of work but was worth it. Its so moist an rich an pretty too. Its so perfect. Love the frosting! Very coconutty. How long will the cake last if it is refrigerated?

Happy to hear you like the cake Troy! It should keep for about 5 days in the fridge, though it never lasts that long at our house! :)

I wanted something besides the “usual pies” for X-mas, so I decided on coconut cake. I had a recipe for southern style 3-day coconut cake, but I couldn’t find it, so I tried this recipe–turns out it can also be a 3-day cake. The only thing I did different was to put tart raspberry pie filling on top of the filling between layers. It was the best desert I’ve ever made from scratch. The cake was light and delicate and the filling was wonderful. The raspberries cut the sweetness of the filling just a bit. Everyone loved it. The cake flour make a big difference. Thanks for a great recipe!

I am interested in using this cake for a wedding cake, but I worry that it may crumble. Do you think it is tough enough for the challenge? Thank you for the delicious recipe!

It can be a little more difficult to work with, as it is a tender cake. However, I have used this recipe in several wedding cakes without any problems. A few tips: make sure to use dowels so the weight of cakes on top will be supported, and keep it completely cold until delivery. Then you should be fine!

I just out my cake in the oven. I’m left with a half a cup of milk and flavoring still standing. Was this suppose to go into the cake? I’m confused as you ask to put it aside and nowhere in the recipe for the cake did you ask me to throw it in? I’m confused. Please help. Making this for a friends birthday tomorrow!

Hi Ann! In step #2 it says to mix the 1/2 cup of milk and flavoring with the egg whites, and add it to the batter at the end of step #3. Sorry you missed the instructions! Hope the cake still turned out okay.

Thank you so much Annalise. I see my mistake. Cake didn’t come out too bad. I did a second batch and it came out wonderful.

I have baked many a coconut cake over the years trying to find the perfect flavor and I found your recipe last year and have fallen in LOVE!!! It’s absolutely PERFECT! People can not stop talking about it, it’s that AMAZING! Thanks so much for this wonderful recipe!!!

Cream of coconut is a sweetened liquid mostly used for beverages, and is quite different from unsweetened coconut milk. They are not interchangeable. If you do not have coconut milk, I would sub it with regular whole milk. The coconut flavoring should still be strong enough that the flavor will come through.

Hi. I was looking for a new coconut cake recipe. I have always made the Paula’s Deen (Jamie’s coconut cake) , which is good enough. Today I found yours. Looks good and the reviews say so.
Tomorrow I’ll be making yours.
I’ll let you know how did it go.!

I made this yesterday using 3 8 inch pans. It was a big hit with the husband the teenager loved it and even my picky 11 year old. I originally thought the frosting wouldn’t be enough so I doubled the recipe and ended up with a ton left over so I guess I’ll have to make another cake!

Hi! I was wondering, why do you use 4tsps. of baking powder? I’ve been looking for a coconut cake recipe to try out and another recipe I was looking at asked for 4tsps. of baking powder as well. I’m just curious since 4tsps. seems like a lot to me. :)

Hello! I had a mad craving for coconut cake and made your recipe. I used coconut milk only, and the butter for coconut oil. It was absolutely amazing. Thank you so much for this recipe!

I made this cake for my hubby’s birthday .- also my 8 month old little man in sleeping.:) i had actually researched for a coconut cake recipe and yours looked and sounded outstanding. Except that I didn’t know the egg whites were supposed to be whisked until fluffy. As a result,my cake barely rise and became dense. I wish there had been a bit more direction on the egg whites part as it seems major part of the cake.’s quality.
Thank you for sharing the recipe.

Hi Brenda! The egg whites actually don’t need to be whipped in this recipe, just whisked together with the milk and coconut flavoring as written. Sorry the cake didn’t turn out as you hoped.

Thank you for sharing this recipe. I made this cake and it was a total success. I loved the beautiful white color of the cake, and it did have a very tender crumb. That coconut butter cream/whipped cream filling was the best! The only thing I didn’t do was to toast the coconut, but that’s no biggie– the cake was much appreciated by my dinner guests. I’ll be sharing this on my blog, with full credit going to you, of course. Thanks, again.

I made a version of this cake for a birthday party and it was a huge success. I will admit that I’m terrible at following directions and made a few tweaks to the recipe. The cake was super moist very easy to handle (no crumbling issues)…. Instead of egg whites, I replace it with 5 whole eggs (at room temp). I used all coconut milk and skipped the whole milk and the coconut flavor (I was afraid it would taste fake). I also used 2 ½ sticks of butter. The cake was absolutely perfect.

The cake is spot on! Very nice recipe. I love cakes from scratch, but often have trouble achieving a good texture. I made a vanilla custard out of the egg yolks and added a small bag of frozen (fresh) coconut with a little coconut milk for the filling. Kept the buttercream the same and called it a coconut cream pie cake. Thanks for the recipe!

Probably, but since I haven’t tested a recipe I couldn’t tell you how much cocoa to add or any other adjustments that will need to be made.

Great recipe! I did have a few problems. One is that I didn’t realize that one has to CUT the parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan. (I have done a lot of baking, but virtually no cake baking.) So I started off with really weird looking layers – that only got worse.

And then when I cut the layers … not good news. They were uneven. I figured I’d fix that when I stacked them up. Yeah, that didn’t work at all – it was the leaning coconut cake. I was afraid one or more layers might just slide on off.

And the coconut – looked great – nice brown color. It didn’t really stick all that well to the icing.

Oh, and I didn’t realize that I was supposed to refrigerate the whole thing for an hour after “done”. Fortunately it was for a party literally across the street.

Everyone said what went wrong was completely my fault = they didn’t SAY it was because I’m an idiot. Except for the coconut sticking to the sides – that is just the way it is.

Otherwise . . . the cake was really pretty easy and delicious. Realy delicious. Will make again. Maybe use four cake pans with CUT parchment paper (who knew?). I’m not the brightest bulb in the pack, but I know how to figure things out . . . eventually.

Hi there I just want to thank you for this awesome recipe I have tried it a few times for potlucks and I have just impressed everybody. I’m actually making this same recipe for my son Aiden’s birthday tomorrow but he wanted a banana cream Filled cake so I omitted the coconut flavoring and I substituted plain milk for the coconut milk and I added one fourth more of milk and attitude that filled cake so I omitted the coconut flavoring and I substituted plain milk for the coconut milk and added A half a packet of banana pudding mix the 4 ounce kind and I’m hoping that it will turn out good thank you again for a great recipe

Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. I made it for a low country boil I recently hosted and it was a big success. It didn’t look as pretty yours, but it tasted great. The cake was so light and delicious the frosting was amazing too. I will be making this again. Thank you!

this cake is amazing! I’ve made it several times and even the non-coconut lovers in my life like it. I’ve even had people pay me to make one for them specifically. Anyway, I’m about to make another and had a question – for the coconut milk – do you use the one in the Caron or the one in the can (full fat)? I use the one in the can but it just dawned on me that that may not be what the recipe calls for.

this cake is amazing! I’ve made it several times and even the non-coconut lovers in my life like it. I’ve even had people pay me to make one for them specifically. Anyway, I’m about to make another and had a question – for the coconut milk – do you use the one in the Carton or the one in the can (full fat)? I use the one in the can but it just dawned on me that that may not be what the recipe calls for.

This cake turned out perfect! I baked it for my husband’s birthday since he loves coconut, and he couldn’t stop eating it! I used two 8- inch pans. They did rise more but I just trimmed the top layer of both cakes a bit and they were fine. Thank you for this delicious recipe. I will surely be baking this again!

This cake was a failure. I followed the directions and it completely sank in the middle on both cakes. I bake all the time and was very disappointed in this recipe.

I made this cake today, very time consuming this I must say. I will see how it tastes tomorrow. The only problem was the whipped cream center separated while whipping and incorporating the buttercream in there. It did not absorb the butter cream, so I made another half batch of the butter cream to make up for it. NO clue what I did wrong

I tried it yesterday for my sisters bday and people loved it, it really has the coconut flavor. It was too sweet in my opinion and i had already omitted 1 cup of sugar in the creamcheese buttercream… which btw i still have almost 2 cups left in the fridge. Ill make cupcakes with it since there is nothing left of the cake :P
And for people trying it for the first time, be careful roasting the coconut it takes less than two mins on low broil.
thank you for the recipe, its a keeper

This cake is so amazing!! I just made it :) I wasn’t able to let it sit in the fridge for an hour because we really wanted to try the cake!

The cake is fabulous. I used regular flour, not cake flour, and did not remove 2 T per 1 C as the instructions said. I wasn’t too worried about. The cake had a wonderful texture and amazing coconut aroma and taste.

I baked mine in 2 x 9″ pans which was the perfect size.

The whipped cream was to die for.

I’m going to make this again, but top it with whipped cream only with a splash of coconut milk in the whipping cream. The frosting was a bit too sweet for my liking, but it was nonetheless DELICIOUS! I just couldn’t eat a huge piece lol Maybe that is how it is supposed to be.

Anyhow, thanks for this recipe. It’s amazing, I love it, and it’s a keeper!

Sure! A few weeks ago I made a frosting variation for this cake that may work well for you: 8 oz cream cheese, 2 cups sifted powdered sugar, 1 tsp coconut extract. Beat till smooth and creamy. Separately beat 1 cup heavy whipping cream and fold in 3 additions into the cream cheese mixture. Frost cake and chill for 1 hour. Frosting will be fairly soft so it’s best kept in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. Hope this helps!

I just made this cake. It is amazing! My sister,Agnes, has been talking about our Grandmother’s coconut layer cake and so I figured I’d give this one a shot.

She will be over tomorrow to taste. I think she will cry.

Hi! First off – love the cake and the recipe! Simply fabulous! I’m making for the first time for an Easter dinner dessert. The only problem I’m having is with the whipped cream cheese filling. It won’t whip! The texture remains too liquid to spread as a filling. I even tried a second time with the same result. I’m a seasoned baker – so I am at a loss as to why it won’t thicken up. Not to worry – I’ll use the extra frosting between the layers.
Thanks for sharing this recipe!!

I’ve never baked with splenda, so I can’t give you any advice. Sorry! Perhaps another reader can jump in with some suggestions.

did you use the thick coconut milk or coconut milk in the carton for cereal? I’m assuming thick but wanted to double check. Thanks!

Hi ! I can’t wait to make your cake. I read the comments and your notes about pans and how your pans are deeper. And I

Now, I have 9inch round pans that are 2 inches deep. Do you recommend filling them both halfway and baking 4 separate layers ?

Hi Lucy! I would recommend filling your pans no more than 2/3 full. Half full is a pretty safe bet. It’s been a while since I’ve made this cake so I’m not sure if you’ll get 3 or 4 layers filling your 9-inch pans that way, but either way should make a pretty great layer cake! Hope this helps!

My search for the perfect coconut cake is officially over!! I can’t thank you enough. Since coconut cake is my amazing mothers favorite dessert, over the years I have tried countless recipes which were tasty but never got my mother’s approval being the conissour she is. I made this mothers day and she raved over it, she even ate a second piece. Highly recommend to all, can’t wait to try other recipes on here.

Yay! I’m so happy to hear that you and your mother enjoyed this cake so much. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!

Hi – I gave this a try and it came out very dense. I see others had the same result but there is no response as to why this happens. Perhaps a few tips – such as how much do you whisck the egg whites? Do you just fold this into the batter so it doesn’t get over beat? How can I get this cake to be fluffy instead of non-rising and dense. I followed the recipe exactly. Please help – I would love to try this recipe again

Hi Kathryn! I’m sorry you had trouble with this cake. This is the most popular and well-reviewed recipe on my site, and I’ve made it countless times, so I know the recipe is solid. However, you’re right, I should have some troubleshooting ideas for those who have had issues with it. My apologies!

The recipe I adapted this from actually had you beat the egg whites and add them to the batter at the very end. So there’s that option if you’d like to try it. However, I find that to be a little fussy – moving my batter to another bowl, washing my mixer bowl and beating the whites. I find that just adding the whites with the other wet ingredients works just fine. I suspect the problem may be that the butter isn’t beaten long enough with the other ingredients. Not enough air beaten into the butter will yield a denser cake. Do you think that could be it? I’ve made a few minor word changes to the recipe to hopefully prevent others from having the same problems.

I hope this has been helpful. I’m afraid without being with you while you made this cake, I can’t say for sure what went wrong. Hopefully the next time will be better! Good luck!

I would like to omit the coconut milk. Will omitting the coconut milk change the texture of the batter? Can I just substitute with more milk or maybe even water?

Thank you

Thanks for the recipe I am making it for my aunt who turned 85 and requested a coconut cake for her 85th Birthday. I’m hoping it turns out well. Thanks for sharing.

Good Morning! I made the cake for my aunts 85th Birthday and it turned out great. I will definite use this recipe again. The only problem I had was I had to share a slice with my wife because it went so fast!

Love this recipe! I have a question though, if I were to make the buttercream without the cream cheese, how much butter do you reckon that I should add into the recipe? Thank you!

Hi Ashley! Here’s a link to my whipped vanilla buttercream frosting, which you can use in place of the cream cheese frosting. Substitute coconut flavoring for the vanilla and almond extracts in that recipe if you’d like. Hope that helps!

Thank you for this! I will definitely try it out. I have another question, its there a reason for leaving out the egg yolk? I am assuming its for preventing the cake turn yellow but was wondering if there’s other reason for it.