Coconut Cake

One of my all-time favorite “from-scratch” cake recipes!

This coconut cake is moist, tender, and sweet – but not too sweet. It’s straightforward to make, but like all good cakes made from scratch, you’ll need a bit of prep time (plan on 1/2 hour) to make the batter. Be sure to buy sweetened canned coconut. It’s stocked with drink mixers at the store, not with the coconut milk in the Asian section.

Coconut Cake holds up well for a few days and this is a recipe I would recommend for a special occasion like Easter dinner, a birthday, or even a wedding.

Coconut Cake



  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup canned sweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • pinch of salt


  • 2-8 oz. packages cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 cups sweetened shredded coconut


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Butter and flour 2 9-inch cake pans with 2-inch sides (or spray with non-stick baking spray).
  • In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and 1/2 tsp. salt.
  • Using a stand mixer, beat together the sugar, butter, sweetened cream of coconut and orange juice until fluffy.
  • Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla.
  • On low speed, add the dry ingredients, and mix just until blended.
  • Add the butter milk and mix just until blended.
  • Remove the batter to another bowl and set aside.
  • Wash and dry the bowl and beater thoroughly.
  • Add the eggs whites to clean, dry mixing bowl and beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff but not dry.
  • Fold the beaten egg whites into the cake batter until combined. Do not over mix.
  • Divide the batter into two prepared pans.
  • Bake 40 to 45 minutes until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Cool cakes in pans for 10 minutes, then run a sharp knife around the pans, turn the cakes out onto a rack, and let them cool completely.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the cream cheese frosting.
  • Combine the cream cheese and butter together and mix until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and stir in the confectioners sugar until smooth.
  • When cakes are completely cool, frost with the cream cheese frosting. Spread 1 cup of cream cheese frosting over the first layer and sprinkle 1 cup shredded coconut over the top.
  • Top with second cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake and sprinkle with remaining coconut, gently pressing into the sides to adhere.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving.
A Passionate Plate © Copyright 2020. All rights reserved.