This coconut cake recipe is a no-fail favorite.

Moist tender coconut cake is layered with an easy coconut frosting and garnished iwth coconut flakes for the perfect anytime dessert.

plated slice of moist Coconut Cake

Ingredients for Coconut Cake

Batter – The secret to lots of coconut flavor is the addition of full-fat, unsweetened coconut milk to the batter. All-purpose flour, room-temperature eggs, and unsalted butter round out the recipe.

flour , coconut , eggs , coconut milk, vanilla , sugar , salt , butter and baking powder with lyrics to make Coconut Cake

Frosting – This easy coconut frosting recipe packs a lot of flavor! Look for ‘coconut cream’ instead of cream of coconut.

Variations – Garnish coconut cake with toasted coconut, chocolate curls, slivered almonds, or fun tropical fruit like pineapple slices, lemon or lime zest, and maraschino cherries.

How to Make Coconut Cake

This Coconut Cake is a family favorite. Made from scratch and topped with a fluffy frosting!

For the Cake:

  1. Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl (recipe below).
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together. Add eggs and vanilla.
  3. Alternate flour and coconut milk until the batter is smooth.
  4. Bake (per the recipe below) and allow the cake to cool entirely before frosting.

For the Frosting:

  1. Beat butter until light and fluffy.
  2. Gradually add sugar, salt, and coconut extract.
  3. Slowly mix in coconut cream and continue to beat until light and fluffy.

Keeping Coconut Cake Fresh

  • Store leftover coconut cake in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Use toothpicks to keep plastic wrap off the top of the cake.
  • Freeze cake frosted or unfrosted. For unfrosted, wrap layers in plastic wrap and then foil for up to 3 months. Freeze a fully frosted cake by letting it freeze first before wrapping it the same way as the unfrosted cake. Thaw at room temperature.
close up of Coconut Cake on a plate

Crazy for Coconut

Did your family love this Coconut Cake? Be sure to leave us a rating and a comment below!

plated Coconut Cake with cake in the back
5 from 38 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Coconut Cake

Coconut Cake is super moist & flavorful with a coconut buttercream frosting. It's the perfect spring dessert for a crowd!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Cooling Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings 16 servings

Ingredients  

  • 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup shredded coconut unsweetened
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 can coconut milk 13.7 fl oz., unsweetened

Coconut Frosting

  • 1 ½ cup unsalted butter softened
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons coconut cream unsweetened more as needed
  • ½ teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 pinch salt or to taste

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 9-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, shredded coconut, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric hand mixer until fluffy, approximately 3 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then add in vanilla.
  • With the mixer on low, beat in the flour mixture in 2 parts, alternating with coconut milk. Divide the batter between the prepared cake pans.
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
  • Transfer the cake pans to a wire rack and allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove and cool completely on the rack before frosting, about 1 hour.

Coconut Frosting

  • With a whisk attachment on a stand mixer or a hand mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Gradually add sugar and ¼ teaspoon salt beating until incorporated. Whisk in coconut extract.
  • Gradually add coconut cream, beating until light and fluffy. Add salt to taste and beat until combined.

To Assemble

  • Place one cake layer on a large plate. Spread with ¾ cup coconut frosting right to the edge. Top with the remaining cake layer. Repeat icing right to the edge. Spread the remaining frosting around the sides of the cake. Sprinkle top and sides with shaved coconut if desired.

Notes

Ensure you are using unsweetened coconut cream (not cream of coconut) for the frosting. Use full fat coconut milk for the cake for the best results.
Keep leftover cake covered in the fridge for up to 4 days.
5 from 38 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 619 | Carbohydrates: 81g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 99mg | Sodium: 168mg | Potassium: 168mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 63g | Vitamin A: 842IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Cake, Dessert
Cuisine American

Did your family love this easy Coconut Cake? Leave us a rating and a comment below!

slice of Coconut Cake with a title
Coconut Cake on a plate with writing
taking a slice out of Coconut Cake with a title
Coconut Cake and a slice on a plate with a title

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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Comments

  1. I had an epic fail with this cake. The single layer cakes stuck to the bottom of the nonstick pans, even though they were sprayed with oil also. The toothpicks came out clean, so the cakes were done. The cakes completed broke apart. The cake and the frosting tastes great! I’d like to try and make this layered coconut cake again, but not with what happened today. What did I do wrong? How can I ensure the cakes come out of the pan? Thank you

    1. Oh no, I’m glad it was still tasty and hopefully you can serve it as trifles in cups! It could be the type of pan. Here are a couple of options.

      1. Cut a circle of parchment paper to line the bottom of the cake pan.
      2. Make a homemade cake release to brush on your pan before baking.

      I hope that helps!

  2. Just as the recipe instructed. No changes. Best cake for density and moistness. Absolutely a must make another.5 stars

      1. I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure Judy. I am sure it would turn out fine, but the cook time will likely be different. If you try it I would love to hear how it turns out.

  3. Hi Holly:
    I want to make a coconut cake but I have a doubt over the amount of powdered sugar, (6 cups), using in the coconut frosting, I consider that amount of sugar is too much. Could you confirm me that amount, please.
    Thanks you.

  4. I loved this recipe! And I was so pleased with how well the cake and icing kept it’s shape. The cake was moist and delicious, yet firm enough to not leave crumbs throughout the frosting. And the frosting was just the right amount of sweetness. It spread so well onto the cake. It was the prettiest cake I’ve ever made. This recipe is definitely a keeper!5 stars

  5. I made this for Easter and it was a hit! I have a milk allergy so I used Miyokos vegan butter for the cake and frosting and followed the instructions as written. The cake was delicious and no one missed the butter. I will be making this again.5 stars

  6. one of the most delicious cakes ever made. We love coconut and this cake recipe is the best. just made it this morning for our Easter weekend dessert. absolutely love it.5 stars

  7. Looked – but I couldn’t find the recipe for coconut sheet cake. Do you have one for the one you mentioned at the bottom of this recipe? It’s not the same – as in your notes it calls for sour cream and I didn’t see one in this recipe. Thanks

    1. Hi Laurie, sorry for the confusion. We recently updated this recipe for improved flavor.

      Here is the recipe for the coconut sheet cake:

      CAKE
      1 Cup Butter
      1 Cup Water
      2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
      2 Cups Granulated Sugar
      1½ Cups Sweetened Flaked Coconut
      2 Eggs
      ½ Cup Sour Cream
      1 Teaspoon Coconut Extract
      1 Teaspoon Vanilla
      ½ Teaspoon Salt
      1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
      ICING
      ½ Cup Butter
      ¼ Cup Milk
      4½ Cups Confectioner’s Sugar
      1 Teaspoon Coconut Extract
      ½ Teaspoon Vanilla
      1½ Cups Sweetened Flaked Coconut
      Instructions
      Preheat oven to 375 Degrees. Spray a 15X10X1 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
      Bring butter and water to a boil in a large saucepan. Remove from heat and mix in flour, sugar, flaked coconut, eggs, sour cream, coconut extract, vanilla, salt, and baking soda. Stir until mixture is evenly combined.
      Pour batter into prepared baking pan and bake 18-22 minutes (until the top is nicely golden and a toothpick comes out clean).
      Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, add milk and ½ cup of butter and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in confectioners sugar, coconut extract, and vanilla until smooth. Pour icing over warm cake then immediately sprinkle with flaked coconut. Cool completely before serving.

  8. Could you please post your white chocolate cream frosty recipe? I’d really like to try it. Thank you

    1. Hi Terry, the frosting used for this cake is a coconut buttercream frosting the ingredients and instructions are in the recipe with the cake. I hope this helps!

  9. I would love to try the sheet cake but I would love make a healthy version can you please give me advice on how to without losing the yummy.
    Maggie

  10. Hi
    I am writing to you from the UNITED KINGDOM.
    We do all our baking by measuring the ingredients, please tell me how many grams or ounces are in your 2 cups of flour?
    1 cup of flour her is about 5 ounces or 140 grams.
    Thanks

  11. This was good as I LOVE coconut, but WAY too sweet!!! I will try it again with half the sugar that recipe calls for next time and let you know.

  12. So glad I popped over here for this recipe, because I also discovered your coconut layer cake. I’m trying both! Thanks!

  13. Coconut cake is my favorite. It was even our wedding cake! Sheet cakes are also my favorite because I’m kinda too lazy for layer cakes. I want to try your version!