Coconut is certainly one of those flavors that isn’t for everyone. And if you hate it, you definitely stray away from anything with even a hint of that flavor. But if you love it, it’s impossible to get enough. True coconut fans always go all in on this sweet, tropical flavor.
For diehard coconut lovers, this is definitely the cake that’s been calling your name. It has a moist, delicate crumb, topped with creamy coconut buttercream frosting and toasted coconut, and it’s truly jam-packed with flavor.
This soft, fluffy coconut cake recipe utilizes simple ingredients to pull off this recipe from scratch. And with shredded coconut, canned coconut milk, and coconut extract in the batter, it’s sure to satisfy even the most intense coconut flavor craving. Whip this cake up in under an hour to enjoy for dessert while pretending you’re relaxing in tropical paradise, or simply enjoy it as an afternoon snack with a friend.
Gather the ingredients for this coconut cake recipe
The first step to making this dreamy coconut cake is to gather all of your ingredients. There’s quite a few specific coconut ingredients that make this coconut cake special, but each ingredient should be easy to find at any store.
For this coconut cake recipe you’ll need two cups of white sugar, two cups of flour, two and a quarter teaspoons of baking powder, two and a quarter teaspoons of baking soda, one teaspoon of salt, three cups of shredded coconut, three eggs, three-fourths of a cup of oil, one (13.66-ounce) can of coconut milk, two teaspoons of coconut extract, and a teaspoon of pure almond extract. The almond extract adds a nice balance of flavor to the coconut, but it can certainly be omitted if you don’t have it on hand.
For the frosting for this cake, you’ll need two sticks of unsalted butter, softened, seven cups of powdered sugar, and a teaspoon of coconut extract. You’ll utilize two tablespoons of the canned coconut milk in the frosting as well.
Mix the dry ingredients for this coconut cake recipe
Once all of your coconut cake recipe ingredients are gathered, it’s time to start making your coconut cake. Start by turning the oven on to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. This will give it plenty of time to preheat to the proper temperature while you prep the batter for this coconut cake.
It’s best to utilize a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment to make this coconut cake. However, if you don’t have a hand or stand mixer, you can utilize a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon in a pinch.
Start by adding the white sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and a cup of shredded coconut into the mixing bowl. Mix the dry ingredients together until well incorporated. Be sure the mixture is free of any large clumps before moving onto the next step.
Add in the wet ingredients and finish the batter for this coconut cake recipe
Once all of the dry ingredients for this coconut cake recipe are fully incorporated, it’s time to add the wet ingredients to finish the batter. Add in the eggs one at a time while mixing continuously. Then, add in the oil, mix, and then add in one cup of coconut milk from the can. Add in the coconut extract and almond extract to add extra flavor to the cake, and continue mixing until the batter is well combined.
Once the batter is ready, prepare two eight-inch round cake pans. Cut two round pieces of parchment paper, place each in the bottom of a cake pan, and then spray the cake pans generously with cooking spray. This will prevent the cakes from sticking while baking.
Divide the batter between the two cake pans, and then bake the cakes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 26 to 28 minutes until the tops are lightly golden brown. Once fully baked, remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool.
Toast coconut for this coconut cake recipe
Adding toasted coconut to this coconut cake recipe really amps up the flavor profile. Shredded coconut is definitely sweet and delicious on its own without toasting it, but adding a bit of heat and color to it really brings out its incredible flavor, adding a unique nuttiness to it.
It may sound intimidating, but toasting coconut at home is truly as simple as can be. First, put a large pot on the stove at medium heat. Add in two cups of shredded coconut, and continuously stir while the coconut heats up. As the coconut heats up, it will begin to brown slightly. Continue stirring the shredded coconut, introducing heat to all of it, until the majority of the pieces are lightly golden brown and slightly crunchy.
Once toasted, remove the coconut from the heat to cool. This will later be utilized to assemble and decorate your coconut cake.
Make the coconut frosting for this coconut cake recipe
Your cakes will take a bit of time to cool, so it’s the perfect time to make the coconut frosting for this cake.
To make the coconut frosting for this coconut cake recipe, add two sticks of softened, unsalted butter into a mixing bowl. Be sure the butter is well-softened so it can mix with the powdered sugar without forming clumps. You can use a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer for this step.
Mix the two sticks of butter to break them up, and then add in two cups of powdered sugar and continue mixing. Next, add in two tablespoons of canned coconut milk and a teaspoon of coconut extract, and then continue adding in powdered sugar while mixing. Gradually add in the powdered sugar and mix until the mixture comes together to form a frosting. Mix on high to make the frosting smooth and fluffy.
Assemble this coconut cake recipe
Once your cakes have fully cooled, it’s time to assemble the coconut cake recipe. Prepare a work station with your coconut frosting, toasted coconut, and baked cake rounds.
Place one cake round on a cake stand, a cardboard cake board, or a plate. This will serve as the base for your layered coconut cake. Then, smooth a generous amount of coconut frosting over top of the cake layer. Sprinkle the top of the cake layer with toasted coconut, and then add the second cake round on top.
Frost the entire cake with coconut frosting. Use a piping bag fitted with an icer tip for best results. Using a flat spatula or icing scraper will help to make the sides and tops smooth. Then, use your hands to press the toasted coconut against the sides of the cake. Top the coconut cake with additional piped frosting and sprinkle it with additional toasted coconut to decorate if desired.
- 2 cups white sugar
- 2 cups flour
- 2-¼ teaspoons baking powder
- 2-¼ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups shredded coconut
- 3 eggs
- ¾ cup oil
- 1 (13.66-ounce) can coconut milk
- 2 teaspoons coconut extract (plus 1 teaspoon for frosting)
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened (for frosting)
- 7 cups powdered sugar (for frosting)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large mixing bowl, add in the white sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 1 cup shredded coconut. Use a hand mixer to mix until fully incorporated.
- Add in the eggs one at a time while mixing. Then, mix in the oil, 1 cup coconut milk from the can, coconut extract, and almond extract. Mix until well combined.
- Prepare two 8-inch round cake pans. Cut out a circle of parchment paper to place in the bottom of each pan and then spray generously with cooking spray to prevent the cakes from sticking.
- Divide the batter between the two cake pans, and then put the pans in the oven. Bake cakes for 26 to 28 minutes until the tops are lightly golden brown.
- Once baked, remove the cakes from the oven. Set aside to cool.
- While the cakes are cooling, toast the coconut. Add 2 cups of shredded coconut to a pot. Turn the stovetop to medium heat, and toast the coconut by stirring continuously over the heat. Once the majority of the pieces of shredded coconut are lightly golden brown and crunchy, remove from heat to cool.
- Make the frosting by add two sticks of butter into a mixing bowl. Use a hand mixer to whip the butter, and then add in two cups of powdered sugar. Continue mixing, add in 2 tablespoons of coconut milk from the can, 1 teaspoon coconut extract, and then continue adding in the rest of the powdered sugar. Mix until the mixture comes together and a frosting forms. Whip on high to make the frosting smooth and fluffy.
- Once the cakes are cooled, place one cake round on a cake stand, cardboard cake board, or plate. Add a layer of frosting on top of the cake round, sprinkle toasted coconut on top, and then place the second cake round on top.
- Use a piping bag fitted with an icer tip or a flat spatula to frost the sides and tops of the cake.
- Use your hands to press the toasted coconut onto the sides of the cake. Top with additional piped frosting and sprinkle with additional toasted coconut to decorate if desired.