Coconut Cream Cake Recipe

5 from 97 votes
177 Comments

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This Coconut Cream Cake Recipe is layer upon layer of coconut flavor in every bite! Coconut infused cake, coconut cream cheese frosting, sprinkled with toasted coconut. Truly a coconut lover’s dream!

Plate of sliced coconut cake with coconut frosting.
Featured with this Recipe
  1. Ingredients in Coconut Cream Cake
  2. Tips for Making this Coconut Cream Cake Recipe
  3. Frequently Asked Questions
  4. More Recipes for Coconut Lovers
  5. How to Make Coconut Cream Cake
  6. Coconut Cream Cake Recipe Recipe

This Coconut Cream Cake is probably one of the best layer cakes I have ever had. The coconut cream cake itself is so rich and moist and the frosting is just to die for. This is a coconut cake recipe you will want to keep on hand for special occasions. It is perfect for showers, birthdays, weddings, and having company over. We have even made it for Easter and dressed it up like a bunny. It’s a fun treat to serve at Hawaiian themed parties, too!

Ingredients in Coconut Cream Cake

  • Unsalted Butter
  • Sugar
  • Cream of Coconut – this is not the same as coconut milk. You can find it by the drink mixers.
  • Eggs
  • All Purpose Flour
  • Baking Soda
  • Salt
  • Buttermilk
  • Coconut Extract – coconut extract is best but vanilla extract will work in a pinch

Frosting and Decorating Ingredients

A lot of coconut cakes use a buttercream frosting but this coconut cream cheese frosting is to die for! It really levels this up to be the best coconut cake recipe I have ever had.

  • Butter
  • Cream Cheese
  • Coconut Extract
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Milk
  • Toasted Coconut Flakes

Cake Supplies Needed for Layer Cake

  • 9 inch round cake pans – to split the cake batter
  • stand mixer or electric mixer with paddle attachment
  • large mixing bowl
  • wire rack – for help cooling to room temperature
Top view of coconut cake with coconut frosting.


Tips for Making this Coconut Cream Cake Recipe

  • This is one of our more advanced recipes, not necessarily an easy coconut cake recipe, but well worth the work! We have made this countless times and it will turn out great as long as you carefully follow the instructions and don’t skip steps.
  • This Coconut Cream Cake requires freezing OVERNIGHT so be sure to make it a DAY AHEAD of when you plan to serve it! This is a very moist cake and the freezing of the cake makes it so it will not crumble when it is frosted then next day. This step is very important if you want to keep your cake looking pretty.
Top view of sliced coconut cream cake with coconut frosting.

From Our Readers

  • I have had a few comments with people saying they had issues with sticking, so make sure to grease and flour! I always grease my pan, then line the bottom and sides with parchment paper (so it doesn’t slip) cut a round piece of parchment paper for the bottom and a long strip for the side of the pan. Then grease again over the parchment paper and lightly flour.
  • Some people have had issues with the cake overflowing in 2 cake pans, I’m not sure if this is an elevation issue or an over-beating issue with the batter, but if the batter seems to be filling your pans more than ¾ full, consider using a 3rd pan or reserving some of the batter for some coconut cupcakes.
  • One reader mentioned that she just made it in a traditional 9×13 inch pan without doing the layers and it turned out great. Another reader just did cupcakes and said that they turned out really good too! With either of these options you will need to adjust your baking times accordingly and really watch it close by doing toothpick tests. The cupcakes should cook much faster so start checking those sooner.
Slice of coconut cake with coconut frosting.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does coconut cream do in baking?

Coconut cream adds richness and moisture to this delicious dessert.

Does coconut cake have to be refrigerated?

Yes. Store leftover cake in the fridge in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic wrap.

Is it okay to use coconut milk instead of coconut cream?

In this recipe, no. It will not give the right texture to the batter.

Read Next:33+ Easy Dessert Ideas (with Pictures + Simple Recipes)

More Recipes for Coconut Lovers

How to Make Coconut Cream Cake

Close up of coconut cream cake with coconut frosting slice.

Coconut Cream Cake Recipe

5 from 97 votes
This Coconut Cake Recipe is layer upon layer of coconut flavor in every bite! Coconut cake, coconut cream cheese frosting, sprinkled with toasted coconut. A coconut lover's dream!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Freezing Time 8 hours
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 16

Video

Equipment

  • Electric Mixer
  • Mixing Bowls
  • 2 9 inch Round Pans

Ingredients

COCONUT CAKE

    Wet Ingredients

    • 1 cup butter softened
    • 1 3/4 cups white sugar
    • 1/2 cup cream of coconut Coco Lopez is the one I used, it can be found by the drink mixers at your grocery store- reserve another ½ cup to drizzle on the cake after baking
    • 4 large eggs

    Dry Ingredients

    Additional ingredients

    • 1 cup buttermilk
    • 1 teaspoon coconut extract

    COCONUT CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

    • 1/2 cup butter softened
    • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
    • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
    • 2 pounds powdered sugar more if needed
    • milk as needed
    • toasted coconut for topping, see below for recipe

    Instructions

    For the Cake

    • Separate eggs, set whites aside.
      Yolks and eggs whites in separate bowls for coconut cream cake.
    • Beat wet ingredients together including egg yolks until fluffy.
      Yolk mixture for coconut cream cake.
    • Sift dry ingredients together and stir well.
      Bowls of flour and buttermilk mixtures for coconut cream cake.
    • Add dry ingredients to wet using mixer on low speed alternating with buttermilk/extract mixture.
      Batter for coconut cream cake.
    • In a clean bowl, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff. Fold egg whites into batter.
      Whipped egg whites with stiff peaks for coconut cream cake.
    • Line two 9-inch pans with baking spray and flour (or what works BEST is lining the bottom and sides of the pan with parchment paper- cut a circle for the bottom of the pan and a strip for the sides and still spray above and below the paper)
      Two round cake pans with coconut cream cake batter.
    • Bake at 275 degrees for about 90 minutes (this cake comes out much nicer when cooked at a lower temperature). After about 60 minutes, do the "toothpick test", repeating every 5-10 min or so until the toothpick comes out clean. 
      Two baked coconut cream cakes.
    • After the cake is out of the oven and transferred to parchment paper or a cooling rack, poke each cake with a few holes (making sure not to poke all the way through) and drizzle another ½ cup of coconut cream over the top. This keeps the cake extra moist.
      Brush cream of coconut onto baked cakes.
    • After the cake completely cools, gently cover it with some plastic wrap and transfer to the freezer to freeze overnight.
      Coconut cream cakes wrapped in plastic wrap in the freezer.
    • The next day, frost immediately after removing from the freezer (see frosting recipe below). This keeps the cake from crumbling while it is being frosted. Put a layer of frosting in-between the two cakes and then continue to frost the remainder of the cake.
      Two unfrosted coconut cream cakes.
    •  After frosting, sprinkle the cake with toasted coconut (instructions for toasting are below). Allow the cake to thaw for about an hour before serving.
      Coconut cream cake with coconut frosting.

    For the Frosting

    • Beat butter, cream cheese, and coconut extract together, adding powdered sugar little by little until reaching desired consistency. 
      Coconut cream cake frosting.
    • If it seems to get too stiff, add about 1 tsp of milk at a time until you get the consistency you want (add milk to thin it out, add powdered sugar to thicken it up).
      Top view of coconut cream cake with coconut frosting.

    Toasted Coconut

    • Place contents of about ½ bag of sweetened, shredded coconut on a cookie sheet. Spread it out so it makes just a single layer. Bake at 325 degrees for approximately 8-10 minutes. Some pieces will still be white and soft, some browned slightly with a little crunch.
      Lightly toasted coconut on a sheet pan for coconut cream cake.
    • Press toasted coconut into the frosting all over the top and sides of the cake.
      Coconut cream cake with coconut frosting.

    Notes

    • This is one of our more advanced recipes on our site but well worth the work! We have made this countless times and it will turn out great as long as you carefully follow the instructions and don’t skip steps.
    • This cake requires freezing OVERNIGHT so be sure to make it a DAY AHEAD of when you plan to serve it! This is a very moist cake and the freezing of the cake makes it so it will not crumble when it is frosted then next day. This step is very important if you want to keep your cake looking pretty.
    • I have had a few comments with people saying they had issues with sticking, so make sure to grease and flour! I always grease my pan, then line the bottom and sides with parchment paper (so it doesn’t slip) cut a round piece of parchment paper for the bottom and a long strip for the side of the pan. Then grease again over the parchment paper and lightly flour.
    • Some people have had issues with the cake overflowing in 2 pans, I’m not sure if this is an elevation issue or an over-beating issue with the batter, but if the batter seems to be filling your pans more than ¾ full, consider using a 3rd pan or reserving some of the batter for some cupcakes.
    • One reader mentioned that she just made it in a traditional 9×13 inch pan without doing the layers and it turned out great. Another reader just did cupcakes and said that they turned out really good too! With either of these options you will need to adjust your baking times accordingly and really watch it close by doing toothpick tests. The cupcakes should cook much faster so start checking those sooner.

    Nutrition Information

    Calories: 644kcalCarbohydrates: 101gProtein: 5gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 104mgSodium: 342mgPotassium: 105mgFiber: 1gSugar: 85gVitamin A: 805IUCalcium: 56mgIron: 1.2mg

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    Comments

    1. The flavor of this cake was delicious (I could have eaten the whole bowl of batter) however I thought the cake was a bit dense and it was moist, but no more so than any other cake I make. The biggest reason I took off one star was the frosting. 2 lbs of powdered sugar is ludicrous and would make it cloyingly sweet especially as it is already coated in sweetened coconut flakes. I used 1 1/2 lbs and an extra 4 oz of cream cheese and it was yummy and kept together perfectly. In fact I think if I made it again, would only use 1 lb (and add in at least 4 oz more cream cheese than the recipe called for). Basically it was delicious but for my personal taste needs some minor tweaks.

    2. 5 stars
      I have used this recipe to make this cake several times and it is delicious and perfect every time, it is my favorite cake to bake among many that I’ve tried!

    3. 5 stars
      Loved this cake so much! My husband and family really enjoyed it, but it was too sweet. Is there anyway to adjust the sweetness?

      1. It is two pounds! I know it is a lot, but you need it to form a stiff enough texture to frost the cake without it slipping off.

    4. 5 stars
      This was such an amazing cake! I had never baked a coconut crème cake but had wanted to try it. So I decided to try it for Easter and it turned out amazing!!! I followed each step carefully and the cake and icing turned out delicious and became a family favorite for Easter now. ❤️
      It definitely is an advanced recipe but it is worth it and if you follow each step carefully it turned out great.

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