I have to admit that Coconut Cake is my favorite layer cake. This cake is a coconut lover’s dream. Moist and delicious with a soft fluffy crumb and amazing coconut flavor, this is by far the best coconut cake you’ll ever make.
I’ve made a lot of coconut cakes in my career as a chef, and over the years, I’ve learned a lot about baking which has helped me develop this into the best coconut cake recipe I’ve ever made.
To make this cake even more delicious, I’ve added a coconut cream cheese frosting between the cake layers and around the entire coconut cake. Then for pièce de résistance, I’ve covered the cake in tender shredded coconut. Do I have your attention?
Ingredients to make Coconut Cake
Let’s start by gathering the ingredients we need to make the Best Coconut Cake. In Chef Speak, this is called the “Mise en Place,” which translates to “Everything in its Place.”
Not only does setting up your ingredients ahead of time speed up the cooking process, it also helps ensure you have everything you need to make the dish.
If you love coconut cakes, check out my Easter Coconut Cake.
These are the spatulas I use in my kitchen. They are durable, heat resistant and easy to keep clean.
How to Make Coconut Cake
- Add the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to a large bowl.
- Whisk the dry ingredients together until well blended. Set aside until needed.
- Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
- Whip the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy (about 2 minutes). *Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
- Add the egg whites to the butter mixture.
- Whip until well combined. *Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
*Butter and egg whites should be at room temperature. Save the egg yolks for another recipe.
- Add the sour cream, vanilla extract, and coconut extract to the mixture.
- Whip the ingredients on medium speed until well combined. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. *The mixture may look curdled do the different ingredients being combined with the butter.
- Set the mixer to low speed and slowly add the dry ingredients and coconut milk to the mixture.
- Continue to whip the ingredients on low speed until they are well combined.
- Add the shredded coconut flakes and mix by hand to make sure there’s no batter stuck to the bottom of the bowl. *The cake batter will be very thick.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Grease three 9-inch cake pans and place a parchment circle in the bottom of the pans, then grease the parchment paper.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans, evenly distributing the batter between the pans. *Using a scale is the best way to make sure the amounts are equal.
- Place the cake pans on the center rack of the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Place the cakes (in the pans) on a wire rack to cool. *The layers must be completely cooled before assembling and frosting.
How to make coconut cream cheese frosting
- Add the softened butter and cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
- Whip the butter and cream cheese together on medium speed until creamy and smooth (about 2 minutes). *Make sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl during the process.
- Add the confectioners’ sugar, coconut milk, vanilla extract, coconut extract, and salt to the mixer while it’s running at a low speed. *Make sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl during the process.
- Increase the mixer speed to high and continue mixing for about 3 minutes. *If the frosting is too thin, add additional powdered sugar ¼ cup at a time until the right consistency has been achieved. If the frosting is too thick, add coconut milk until it’s the right consistency.
How to assemble Coconut Cake
Using a large serrated knife, slice a thin layer off the tops of the cake layers to create a flat surface.
- Place one cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Cover the top of the layer with about 1 ½ cups of frosting. *Use a frosting spatula to create an even layer.
- Place the second layer on top of the frosted first layer and top the second layer with about 1 ½ cups of frosting, spreading the frosting evenly using a frosting spatula.
- Place the third layer on top of the frosted second layer. Spread the remaining frosting on the top and sides of the cake.
- Add coconut to the sides and top of the cake, covering all the exposed frosting with coconut.
Refrigerate the cake for at least one hour before slicing. This is essential and will help the cake set up, making it easier to slice and allowing the cake to hold its shape.
Wouldn’t you love to sit down to a slice of this ah-mazingly delicious coconut cake? I know I’m ready for another slice. This cake is a Southern Classic, and I promise your friends and family will love it!
No, it is not. Coconut milk is more like the consistency of cow’s milk. Coconut cream is much thicker and richer and is made by using four times the amount of coconut that coconut milk does. Do not substitute one for the other in a recipe.
Cream de coco is another product entirely and is a coconut version of sweetened condensed milk and is not interchangeable with coconut milk.
Yes, it does. The frosting contains butter and cream cheese which will spoil if left at room temperature for too long. Keep the cake covered and refrigerated when not serving. Let the cake sit at room temperature for 2 hours before serving.
Covered and refrigerated, a Coconut Cake will remain fresh for one week. when refrigerated. It can be kept frozen in an airtight container for up to four months.