Coconut Cake


Last week I posted my favorite chocolate cake recipe and I this week I decided why not keep a good thing going – and make more cake? So, today I’m sharing my favorite coconut cake recipe with you. Luckily this one didn’t take as many attempts as the chocolate cake to get it just where I wanted.

Coconut Cake | Cooking Classy

This coconut cake is elegant and sophisticated yet very traditional and simplistic. It’s like the cake you remember your grandmother serving at family parties growing up. I love a good old fashioned recipe. The classics are often the best.

This has probably got to be the softest cake I’ve ever made. It is incredibly moist (because we all hate a dry cake right?) and it is layered with sweet, natural coconut flavor with every bite, which is complimented perfectly by the light tang of the cream cheese in the frosting.  Good luck saying your only going to have a thin slice. Not gonna happen with this cake :). Enjoy!


Coconut Cake | Cooking Classy

Coconut Cake | Cooking Classy


Coconut Cake

4.77 from 21 votes


  • 3 cups (360g) cake flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups (396g) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter , at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil or canola oil
  • 1 1/3 cups well shaken canned coconut milk , at room temperature*
  • 2 large eggs , at room temperature, yolks and whites separated
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large egg whites , at room temperature
  • 1/8 tsp cream of tartar

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 12 oz . cream cheese , nearly at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter , at room temperature
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 5 cups (596g) powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut


  1. For the cake:
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 3 9-inch round cake pans and line bottom of each with a round of parchment paper, butter parchment paper and set pans aside.
  3. Sift cake flour into a large mixing bowl, then add baking powder and salt and whisk mixture for 20 seconds. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, blend together granulated sugar, butter and canola oil on medium speed until well combined. Add in egg yolks one at a time and mix until combined after each addition (reserve 2 egg whites), then mix in coconut and vanilla extracts. Working in three separate batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture, add 1/3 of the flour mixture, alternating with 1/2 of the coconut milk and mixing just until combined after each addition (if you don't have the paddle attachment that scrapes the sides of the bowl, stop mixer and scrape sides and bottom occasionally).
  4. In a separate mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer, whip 6 egg whites with cream of tartar on medium-high speed until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold 1/3 of the egg whites into cake batter at a time and fold just combined after each addition (don't over-mix and deflate egg whites). Divide batter among prepared cake pans. Spread batter into an even layer and bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 19 - 22 minutes. Allow to cool in cake pan 5 - 10 minutes then run a knife along edges of cakes and invert each onto a wire rack to cool. Cool completely the cut tops to even as needed.
  5. Frost top of one layer, add another layer and frost then top with last layer and frost top and sides. Place cake stand over a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle cake evenly with shredded coconut (pressing gently on sides to adhere. I just did it over a rimmed baking sheet for easier clean up - not a must). Store in an airtight container in refrigerator (let rest at room temp until no longer cold before serving).
  6. For the Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting:
  7. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter with cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Mix in coconut extract. Add powdered sugar and whip on medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Chill as needed if frosting seems runny (slightly runny is fine, once you get it frosted the coconut will help it stay in place).
  8. Recipe Source: Cooking Classy


  • Laura Dembowski: Coconut cake is my favorite dessert of all time! This beauty has me wanting to get in the kitchen right now! February 28, 2014 at 1:13pm Reply

  • Laura (Tutti Dolci): So gorgeous, I love the coconut cream cheese frosting! February 28, 2014 at 1:03pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Laura! February 28, 2014 at 3:01pm Reply

  • Norma | Allspice and Nutmeg: Your cake looks so moist and soft and billowy and I want a piece. Gorgeous! February 28, 2014 at 11:53am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Norma! February 28, 2014 at 3:01pm Reply

  • Chelsea @chelseasmessyapron: Your cakes are absolute perfection – they are gorgeous! Soft + moist cakes are my favorite! February 28, 2014 at 11:39am Reply

  • Jessica @ Portuguese Girl Cooks: I’ve been dying for weeks to make a coconut cake and this one looks like coconut perfection! February 28, 2014 at 11:27am Reply

  • Kelli: This looks deliciously divine. I look forward to making this. I’m thoroughly enjoying your recipes and have sung your praises! February 28, 2014 at 7:14am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Kelli! March 4, 2014 at 12:06am Reply

      • shikha: What its mean canoli oil? January 1, 2015 at 11:54pm Reply

        • Jaclyn: You can replace it with vegetable oil. January 29, 2015 at 9:14pm Reply

          • Dana Power: I would definitely use vegetable oil next time instead of Canola. All I could taste was the Canola oil when I made it. April 1, 2018 at 5:43am

      • Zana: hi Jaclyn! This cake looks amazing. Is it possible to add white chocolate to the recipe and if so what would be the amount? Thank you so much! March 22, 2015 at 7:10am Reply

        • Jaclyn: I wouldn’t recommend it because it would likely alter the consistency and structure of the cake. April 15, 2015 at 10:24pm Reply

      • Katrina: Hi, I’m from over the pond in the UK and our cup measurements are different to yours. Could I be w pain and ask for the cup measurements in grand please? Thank you so much! ! I really can’t wait to try it! X December 3, 2015 at 3:22am Reply

        • Katrina: Lol! Auto correct!!! That’s in grams please! ???? December 3, 2015 at 3:23am Reply

          • Angela little: I would be gratefull for this conversion too x May 2, 2017 at 3:44pm

      • Suz: When preparing the cake pans, should you give them a dusting of flour as well? I’ve always used hard shortening (crisco) to grease pans (and dusted with flour) but will give butter a try. March 22, 2018 at 10:19am Reply

  • Elisa @ Insalata di Sillabe: This cake looks like a little pillowy piece of heaven!

    xo, Elisa February 28, 2014 at 4:53am Reply

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks: The cake is so pretty and I saw the pics on pinterest before I saw your post and just knew they were yours! That one, with the cake un-cut, it just looks so fluffy and fuzzy, like I want to snuggle up with it :) February 28, 2014 at 3:00am Reply

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