Coconut Cake

There is nothing better than a coconut cake with a soft, fluffy, moist cake frosted with a coconut buttercream frosting!

A slice of coconut cake on a gray plate with the whole cake in the background.

For us, a coconut cake should have full coconut flavor and buttercream instead of a cream cheese frosting. This cake delivers everything we crave and expect from classic coconut cake!

Ingredients for Homemade Coconut Cake

  • Eggs – separated
  • Granulated sugar – divided
  • Cake flour
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Vegetable or canola oil
  • Coconut milk (canned)
  • Vanilla extract
  • Coconut extract

How to Make Coconut Cake

coconut cake batter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 8 or 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper, butter, and dust with flour or use baking spray.

In a large bowl beat the egg whites until just frothy. Add 1/2 cup of sugar one tablespoon at a time until the egg whites are glossy and form stiff peaks.

In a separate large bowl whisk together the cake flour, remaining 1 cup of sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the vegetable oil, coconut milk, egg yolks, vanilla, and coconut extract. Using an electric mixer beat for 2 minutes on medium speed.

Fold in the egg whites and divide the cake batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.

Bake for 26-30 minutes or until a wooden skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool for 10 minutes in the pans then turn them out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely to room temperature.

Ingredients for Coconut Buttercream Frosting

  • Unsalted butter – softened
  • Vanilla extract
  • Coconut extract
  • Salt
  • Powdered sugar (confectioners sugar)
  • Coconut milk (canned)
  • Sweetened shredded coconut flakes

How to Make Coconut Buttercream Frosting

coconut cake on a metal platter

In a large bowl beat the softened butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla, coconut extract, and salt.

Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, alternating with the coconut milk, beating until combined and reaches your desired consistency.

Trim the tops of the cake layers if needed.

To assemble, place one layer of cake on a cake stand or plate. Add about 3/4 cup of frosting to the top and smooth with an offset spatula. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of coconut flakes over the frosting. Top with the second layer of cake. Apply frosting to the entire cake.

To add the coconut to the top and sides of the cake, place the cake on a baking sheet (to help catch excess coconut). Fill your hand with coconut and press gently into the sides of the cake. Repeat until the desired amount of coconut flakes is applied.

Slice of cake on a gray plate with the whole cake in the background.

More Coconut Dessert Recipes

slice of coconut cake on a gray plate

Coconut Cake Recipe

A soft, fluffy, moist coconut cake frosted with a coconut buttercream frosting! This cake delivers everything we crave and expect from classic coconut cake!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cake, coconut, coconut buttercream
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 737kcal
Author: Leigh Harris

Ingredients
 

For the Cake

  • 3 large eggs, room temperature separated
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 cup cake flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coconut milk, canned
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil or canola oil
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp coconut extract

For the Coconut Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 1/2 cups powdered sugar up to 6 cups
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk, canned up to 1/2 cup
  • 2 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut flakes

Instructions

Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 8 or 9-inch round cake pans with parchment, butter, and dust with flour or use baking spray.
  • In a large bowl beat the egg whites until just frothy. Add 1/2 cup of sugar one tablespoon at a time until the egg whites are glossy and form stiff peaks.
    3 large eggs, room temperature, 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • In a separate large bowl whisk together the cake flour, remaining 1 cup of sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the vegetable oil, coconut milk, egg yolks, vanilla, and coconut extract. Using an electric mixer beat for 2 minutes at medium speed.
    2 1/4 cup cake flour, 3 tsp baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 cup coconut milk, canned, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 1 tsp pure vanilla extract, 1 tsp coconut extract
  • Fold in the egg whites and divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.
  • Bake for 26-30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick or skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the pans then turn them out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

Coconut Buttercream

  • In a large bowl beat the softened butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla, coconut extract, and salt.
    1 cup unsalted butter, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tsp coconut extract, 1/4 tsp salt
  • Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, alternating with the coconut milk, beating until combined and reaches desired consistency.
    5 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 1/3 cup coconut milk, canned
  • To assemble, place one layer of cake on a cake stand or plate. Add about 3/4 cup of frosting to the top and smooth with an offset spatula. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of coconut flakes over the frosting. Top with the second layer of cake. Apply frosting to the entire cake.
    2 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut flakes
  • To add the coconut to the top and sides of the cake, place the cake on a baking sheet (to help catch excess coconut). Fill your hand with coconut and press gently into the sides of the cake. Repeat until the desired amount of coconut flakes is applied.

Notes

Do not try to use all-purpose flour in place of the cake flour. It will produce an entirely different cake texture.
Be sure to measure the cake flour properly. Aerate, spoon, and swoop level.
Use room temperature eggs they will incorporate easier and better into the batter.
To Make in a 9×13 Baking Pan – Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Storing – Store leftover cake in an airtight container or cake saver at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Freezing – Freeze the coconut cake in a freezer safe airtight container for up to 2 months for the best quality. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 737kcal | Carbohydrates: 108g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 87mg | Sodium: 319mg | Potassium: 269mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 86g | Vitamin A: 541IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 2mg

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