This coconut cream cake is ultra moist, fluffy, and full of coconut flavor. The outside is covered in a thick and creamy frosting and coated with coconut flakes. The flavor comes from coconut extra, cream of coconut, and coconut milk.
If you are a fan of all things coconut, this cake is perfect for you! Cream of coconut is like a secret ingredient and it certainly packs a punch! We also use it to make the best Malibu piña colada.
Layer cakes became one of my favorites once I got the hang of decorating. You may also like lemon layer cake, Neapolitan cake, or the timeless Chantilly cake topped with berries. A very similar layer cake to this coconut cream cake is our pineapple coconut cake – we stuff the layers with a delicious pineapple curd.
- unsalted butter – allow time for it to soften.
- sugar – white table sugar is what we used.
- eggs – bring to room temperature before using.
- coconut extract – adds an extra punch of flavor
- vanilla extract – enhances the other flavors.
- cream of coconut – gives us a moist cake with more flavor without have to use oil or sour cream.
- flour – we used all-purpose.
- baking powder – check the expiration date. If it has expired, the cake will not rise.
- salt – balances out flavors.
- coconut milk – lite or regular will work. You can find this on the baking aisle
- shredded coconut – we used sweetened for more flavor.
Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
- salted butter – soften before using. If you’d like to use unsalted butter, add ½ teaspoon salt to the recipe.
- cream cheese – bring it to room temperature so the frosting is free of lumps.
- vanilla extract – to bring all of the flavors together.
- powdered sugar – adds sweetness and helps with texture.
- heavy cream – totally optional but adds richness to the icing.
- shredded coconut – we like the sweetened kind. As is or toasted coconut are great.
For a complete list of ingredients and their measurements, please refer to the printable recipe card 📋 at the bottom of the post.
We are going to covered the outside of the cake with frosting and coconut shreds to make it the perfect coconut cake. You can also pipe frosting on top for decoration or garnish with toasted coconut.
- Electric mixer – if using a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment. The whisk attachment is best when beating egg whites and other light ingredients versus creaming butter and sugar together.
- Offset spatula – makes frosting the cake easy.
- Round cake pans – we used 8 inch, but you could also use 9-inch cake pans, however, the layers will be a little thinner.
Substitutions and Variations
- Cake flour – you can use cake flour in place all all purpose, but you will need to add 4 tablespoons extra.
- Frosting – this delicious cake pairs well with a simple homemade whipped cream or whipped topping (such as Cool Whip) once it has been thawed.
- White cake mix – if you don’t want to make the cake from scratch you can use a box cake mix or my classic white cupcake recipe. Add the coconut extract to the batter. Use coconut milk instead of the whole milk.
- Milk – 2% or whole milk can be swapped for the unsweetened coconut milk in the recipe. As long as you use the coconut extract and the cream of coconut, you won’t miss it.
- Pan size – use this same recipe to make a sheet cake in a 9×13 pan.
PREP: Grease three 8 inch round cake pans with cooking spray and add a piece of parchment paper to the bottoms. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Step 1: Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each one. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Step 2: Mix in the vanilla and coconut extract, then the cream of coconut.
Step 3: Whisk together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.
Step 4: Rotate between adding the coconut milk and flour mixture to the cake batter. Mix only enough to combine the ingredients.
Pro Tip: Using room temperature baking ingredients makes for the perfect batter and frosting. It mixes nicely and stays tender and smooth.
Step 5: Fold a cup of shredded coconut into the batter using a rubber spatula.
Step 6: Pour batter into the prepared cake pans.
Step 7: Bake for 20 minutes or until you can insert a toothpick in the center of the cake and come out with only a few crumbs. Allow the cakes to cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes, then turn out the cakes from the pans to cool the rest of the way. Then transfer to a cake plate to frost.
Step 8: Beat the butter and cream cheese together in a medium bowl until smooth. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar at time, mix to combine. Add the vanilla and a tablespoon of heavy cream at a time until the frosting is spreadable and fluffy.
Step 9: Assemble the cake, spreading a ½ cup of frosting between each layer. Add the second cake layer, and repeat for the third.
Step 10: Use an offset spatula to spread the remaining frosting on the top and downs the sides of the cake.
Step 11: Sprinkle fresh coconut over top. Use handfuls and pat the sides to cover the coconut cake evenly.
SERVE: Slice and serve or chill in the refrigerator until you are ready.
- Toasted coconut – You can sprinkle it on top or even mix it into the batter. To toast it, simply spread out some flaked or shredded coconut on a baking sheet and pop it in a 350°F oven for 3-5 minutes until it’s a beautiful golden brown. Remember to take it off the hot baking sheet right away! And don’t worry, you can use sweetened or unsweetened coconut – whichever you prefer.
- I highly recommend pairing this cake with our coconut cream cheese frosting – it’s a match made in heaven! Of course, if you prefer something lighter, a Swiss meringue buttercream or Italian meringue buttercream would be equally delicious, or the whipped cream we mentioned previously.
Did you know that there are over 60 million tons of coconuts produced globally per year. – AgHires
Store in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 5 days.
Yes. Once the layers have cooled, wrap them in a layer or two of plastic wrap and freeze. Freeze for 2-3 months. Allow the layers to thaw in the fridge overnight and bring to room temperature before frosting. You can also freeze the finished cake. Store it well in an airtight container or wrapped in double layers of plastic wrap.
If you try this Coconut Cream Cake or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you liked it in the 📝 comments below.
Coconut Cream Cake
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 2 teaspoons coconut extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup cream of coconut
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ unsweetened coconut milk lite or regular
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 1 cup salted butter softened
- 8 ounces of cream cheese softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream optional
- 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray three 8” round cake pans with non-stick baking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add one egg at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Add vanilla extract, coconut extract, and cream of coconut and beat well.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Rotate between adding the coconut milk and the flour mixture to the cake batter, mixing only enough to combine the ingredients.
- Fold 1 cup of shredded coconut into the batter.
- Divide the batter between the three prepared cake pans.
- Bake for 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs.
- Cool cakes on a cooling rack for 10-15 minutes, then turn out from the pans and cool the rest of the way.
- Cream together the butter and cream cheese until smooth and fluffy.
- Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, and beat to combine.
- Add in vanilla extract and heavy cream, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the frosting is fluffy and spreadable.
- Assemble the cake by spreading about ½ cup of frosting on top of each cake layer. Top with the next layer, etc.
- Spread the remaining frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle coconut over the top of the cake. Pat handfuls of coconut onto the sides of the cake to cover the cake completely.