When I was young my mom used to buy those square coconut cakes from the freezer at the grocery store. Man I loved those. I’m a sucker for anything with coconut. This coconut cake is super popular at Easter time, but it’s delicious enough to make all year long.
This cake is really great with sweetened coconut flakes, and gives it a pretty white finish. Unfortunately, they don’t have that here so I have to use desiccated coconut which are tiny little coconut flakes that are unsweetened. I mixed it with some simple syrup (4:1 water to sugar) and then drained it. But you can see that it’s really difficult to cover the whole cake. 🤷♀️
For this cake I use the reverse creaming method, just like I do with my vanilla cake. But to get it nice and white, I use egg whites only and cut back on the amount of vanilla. It has a very light coconut flavor which comes from the coconut milk. If you want a stronger coconut flavor, you can add up to 1 teaspoon of coconut extract. I’m not a big fan of coconut extract because I think it leaves an artificial taste in my mouth, but some people don’t mind it.
The frosting is an American buttercream that I add 4 oz. of cream cheese to to give it a little tang. Then you just use your hand to stick the shredded coconut flakes to the buttercream. Easy!
You can also use this recipe to make coconut cupcakes. Read the notes below for baking instructions. See how much whiter they are with shredded coconut?
Coconut CakeCourse: DessertCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
This makes one 2-layer 8 inch cake or 18 cupcakes. It’s a dense white cake with a light coconut flavor.
Cake Flour 340g
(3 1/3 cups)
(1 1/2 cups)
Baking Powder 1 Tbsp
Salt 1 tsp
Egg Whites 147g
(about 5 egg whites)
Coconut Milk 300g
(1 1/2 cups)
Vanilla 2 tsp
Sweetened Coconut Flakes 115g
American Buttercream (recipe below)
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter or spray two 8″ aluminum cake pans and line with parchment paper.
- In a mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix together until combined.
- Cut up the butter and add to the dry ingredients. Mix at medium-low speed for 5 minutes until the mixture resembles cornmeal. See the video below.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the egg whites, coconut milk and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients and mix for about 10 seconds until everything is combined.
- Divide the batter evenly between the pans. Bake for 32-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Cool completely. Add frosting (recipe below) and shredded coconut.
- To get the cake layers to bake up nice and flat, I bake at 325° for a longer period of time. If you want a domed cake, bake at 350° for 24-28 minutes.
- You can also turn these into coconut cupcakes by baking at 350° for 18-22 min.
- Shake the coconut milk really well before you open it and measure it.
- Use butter that is pliable. I let mine sit out at room temperature for 30-40 minutes before using.
- I always wrap my cake layers in plastic wrap and freeze before frosting. It makes them easier to handle and keeps the crumbs from getting in the frosting.
american buttercream Directions
- In the bowl of a mixer add 226g butter (1 cup) and 4 oz. softened cream cheese. Beat until combined.
- Add 4 cups powdered sugar and beat on high speed for 8-10 minutes until smooth and creamy.
- Add 1 tsp vanilla and beat for another 30 seconds to combine.