★★★★★

The Best Coconut Cake Recipe

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!

Moist slice of coconut cake on a silver plate with a fork.

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.
Forkful of coconut cake with a slice on a silver plate.

Ingredient Notes

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!

Slice of coconut cake on a silver plate with one forkful taken away.

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.

More Classic Cake Recipes

PS. If you try this recipe, please leave a STAR rating in the recipe card below. I love your feedback! Connect with me on social media by following me on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest.

Yield: 16 servings

Coconut Cake Recipe

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 26 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 16 minutes

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!

Ingredients

FOR THE CAKE:

  • 5 egg whites, room temperature
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • 2 ½ cup cake flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup shredded, sweetened coconut

FOR THE FROSTING:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 packages (8 oz) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups shredded, sweetened coconut

Instructions

FOR THE CAKE:

  1. Whisk together the egg whites and ¼ cup of the buttermilk in a small bowl until slightly combined. Set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar, vanilla and almond extracts for 2 minutes on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add in dry ingredients and mix until combined. Beat in egg white mixture until fully blended. Add in remaining milk and beat for 3-4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Fold in coconut.
  3. Spray two 9-inch cake pans with baking spray. Pour batter into pans and bake in a 350 degree oven for 26-28 minutes. Remove and cool completely on wire rack.

FOR THE FROSTING:

  1. Beat butter and cream cheese for 3 minutes using whisk attachment on an electric mixer. Add in powdered sugar and heavy cream. Beat an additional 4-5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  2. To assemble, place one layer of cake 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 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!

Notes

  • 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!
  • 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.
  • Store frosted cake at room temperature in a cake saver. Or freeze leftover cake in airtight container for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 554Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 243mgCarbohydrates: 89gFiber: 2gSugar: 68gProtein: 4g

*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

Get My Free Email Course
Become a Better Baker—no more box mixes! Discovery your new “signature” desserts!

Categories:


Posted on February 24, 2021

Comments & Reviews

  1. The icing was so good !! But the Cake was a little dry I was looking for something a little bit more moist but overall Cake was great !!

  2. Hi! Can I use coconut milk instead of plain milk? Also can I not use the shredded coconut at all? Is this cake stackable?

  3. Ingredients list calls for sweetened AND unsweetened coconut but directions use sweetened coconut only. Which one is the typo?

Leave a Reply

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