The most delicious, from scratch, white cake recipe is used to create this perfect Coconut Cake! Soft, moist crumb with a cream cheese coconut frosting!
Love coconut desserts? You MUST try our samoa truffles. Similar to the girl scout cookie, these truffles are packed with coconut, caramel, and chocolate flavor! Or give our coconut biscotti recipe a try!
Why this Recipe Works
No matter the time of year, this easy coconut cake recipe is bound to be your new favorite layer cake.
- Moist: whether you like that word or not, it describes the perfect texture of a cake!
- Coconut Flavor: we’ve added coconut to the cake and the frosting. Want more? Use cream of coconut in place of the buttermilk!
- Soft Crumb: by using just egg whites, you’re going to love this soft and tender crumb that still holds up to mega piles of frosting!
- Coconut Frosting: using our favorite cream cheese frosting recipe, we’ve added coconut! You can use toasted coconut if you prefer.
- Egg Whites- for today’s white cake you won’t be using the egg yolks. No worries though, save them and make a batch of homemade lemon curd. FYI- my Lemon Coconut Cake recipe is the perfect solution for using that creamy curd.
- Buttermilk- I originally was making this recipe with whole milk, because I never have buttermilk on hand. But now that I can make my own buttermilk substitute, I always use buttermilk in my white cake recipe!
- Want more coconut flavor? Swap out the buttermilk for cream of coconut (such as Coco Lopez). This is NOT coconut milk. Coconut milk brands vary in fat content and were not giving consistent results. The Cream of Coconut works perfect. Worried? Use buttermilk!
- Extracts- I use a combination of vanilla extract and almond extract. If you’re able to find coconut extract, use that in place of the almond!
- Cake Flour- don’t even try to use all-purpose flour here. You’ll get an entirely different texture of cake. Use my tips on how to measure flour for best results!
How to Make Coconut Cake
Using my white cake as a guide for today’s recipe, this was the perfect starting point. Be sure to follow directions carefully!
- Wet Ingredients: combine the egg whites with some of the buttermilk in a bowl. In a mixing bowl, beat room temperature butter, sugar, vanilla extract, and almond extract.
- Dry Ingredients: in a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
- Combine: Add the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture. Beat in the egg white mixture and finally, beat in the remaining buttermilk. Fold in coconut.
- Bake: I use two 9-inch cake pans for this recipe. Use a generous amount of baking spray (this is the kind with flour in it, made for baking), or use parchment paper. You could also use homemade cake release.
- Assemble: Place one cake layer on a cake stand. Add a large amount of frosting to top and smooth with an offset spatula. Top with second layer of cake. Apply frosting to entire cake.
To add the coconut flakes or shredded coconut to the top and sides of cake, place cake stand on a baking sheet (to help catch excess coconut). Fill hand with coconut and press gently into sides of cake. Repeat until desired amount of coconut applied. ENJOY!
Tips and Tricks
- Start with room temperature butter and egg whites. The eggs are easier to separate when they are cold, then let your egg whites come to room temperature with the butter.
- Use sweetened shredded coconut for best results! Feel free to toast the coconut for the outside of the cake if you prefer. Sweetened coconut is more moist than unsweetened, which helps today’s cake texture.
- Cream Cheese– for the frosting make sure you choose block cream cheese, not cream cheese spread.
Coconut Sheet Cake
Sometimes you don’t want to make a layer cake, but you also crave homemade coconut cake. In that case, make it in a 13×9. Same great recipe, just easier!
A few tips:
- Be sure to grease and flour your 13×9 baking dish, or use our homemade cake release.
- Bake for 35-38 minutes, until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Do not overbake as it tends to dry the cake out.
- Use cream of coconut (not cocout milk) for more coconut flavor, to replace the buttermilk.
More Classic Cake Recipes
- Chocolate Pound Cake
- Homemade Yellow Cake
- 7 Up Pound Cake
- Watergate Cake
- Peanut Butter cake
- Perfect Chocolate Cake Recipe
Absolutlly delicious!!! I did not have butter milk and replaced with vanilla yougurt…(I took the chance) It was very soft and simply delicious. Thank you for the recipie.
I followed the directions to a “T”, it had great coconut flavor for sure, sooo good. However the texture was a bit different. The best way I can describe it is a mix between a pound cake and an angel food cake. It was very dense like pound cake but the texture is anglefood cake. My husband loved it, but not sure I would make it again or not based on the texture
Sounds like maybe it was overmixed 🙁
Can a Bundt pan be used to bake this cake?
I haven’t tested this coconut cake in a bundt pan yet. If you try it, let us know.
Can you use Egg Whites in the carton? Has anyone done this?
This cake turned out perfect! My mom wanted a coconut cake for her birthday so I tried this recipe and everyone loved it! The texture of the cake was delightful and the flavor was wonderful. Thank you for sharing this recipe!
The cake was extremely dry. It had a good flavor but just too dry to eat really. I was disappointed after all the work to make it. The icing was good.
I followed the directions, but the cake turned out very dry and not much flavor. It was a beautiful white cake, but not what I was looking for in a coconut cake.