The Ultimate Coconut Cake Recipe

The ultimate coconut cake recipe for coconut lovers! Made with coconut cream, coconut milk, coconut whipped cream and topped with coconut flake! This coconut cake recipe has it all!

Coconut Cake Recipe from addapinch.com

I couldn’t believe my ears. “Actually, don’t worry about making a cake. It’ll be okay not to have a birthday cake this year.” How in the world would it be possible for me not to have a birthday cake for my husband’s birthday? We’d had a busy, hectic last couple of weeks and our entire family was just, well, ready for a relaxing weekend. But, to sacrifice a birthday cake? Not gonna happen. In my way of thinking, you only are blessed with so many birthdays in your lifetime and each one should be celebrated to the max. I don’t mean huge blow out parties with tons of people, unless that’s your thing. For us though, simple, classic birthdays spent together with a favorite meal, our immediate family are about as perfect as they come. But, they have to be topped off with a cake. Always cake.

One of my husband’s favorite cakes has always been the Southern Coconut Cake that I shared eons ago. It’s a classic, delicious cake. However, I thought this simple coconut cake would be perfect to make since we were planning on traveling to the lake later in the day for his birthday celebration. One thing I’ve learned the hard way, traveling with a two or three layer cake for 45 minutes in the heat of the summer does not make for a stress-free day! Ha! Now when traveling, I either make a sheet cake,  layer cake, or even cupcakes and leave them unfrosted for traveling. I wrap them tightly with plastic wrap and then store them in the refrigerator. I also go ahead and make my frosting and store it in an airtight container as well. I generally will use deli containers or even zip top bags if I am making cakes or store it in frosting bags that I’ve not snipped the ends of or included a tip. Then, when I reach the destination, I can quickly assemble the cake or cupcakes. I just allow the frosting to reach room temperature (if a buttercream frosting) for easier spreading. It certainly works for me!

As I gathered together ingredients for his cake, the coconut cream caught my eye. I consider it divine intervention! Just like with my coconut cream pie, that stuff took what I’d planned to make and turned it into one more glorious confection! Topped with whipped cream and coconut flakes, this cake is the stuff of my husband’s birthday dreams!

Coconut Cake Recipe from addapinch.com

Here’s my oh so easy Coconut Cake Recipe. I hope you love it as much as we do!

Yield: 12

Ultimate Coconut Cake Recipe

Total Time 45 minutes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
The ultimate coconut cake recipe for coconut lovers! Made with coconut cream, coconut milk, coconut whipped cream and topped with coconut flake!
4.41 from 10 votes
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Ingredients

  • 1 white cake recipe
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 whipped cream
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flavoring or coconut rum
  • 2 cups sweetened flake coconut

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325º F. Prepare 9x13x2 or larger sheet pan by spraying with nonstick baking spray. Set aside.
  2. Prepare white cake recipe batter as instructed and pour into prepared pan. Place prepared pan onto a rimmed sheet pan for baking. Place in the preheated oven and bake until the center of the cake springs back to the touch and a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the center, about 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven. While still warm from the oven, use the skewer and poke holes all over the cake. Mix together the coconut cream and coconut milk in a small bowl. Pour the coconut cream mixture over the top of the cake, being sure to spread evenly across the entire cake so the cream seeps into the holes made from the skewers. Allow to cool completely.
  3. Prepare whipped cream recipe, adding coconut flavoring or coconut rum to the whipped cream mixture. Spread evenly on top of cake and sprinkle with coconut. Refrigerate.

Notes

Since this cake is soaked with coconut cream and coconut milk, it is very moist and best suited for a rimmed, at least 12-cup baking dish. I use a 9x13x2 or larger sheet pan.
If you live at a higher altitude, add 1/4 cup flour to the white cake recipe.

All images and text © Robyn Stone for Add a Pinch

Enjoy!
Robyn xo

43 comments on “The Ultimate Coconut Cake Recipe”

  1. Yum! I want this now! Too bad we don’t have an oven at work and the fact that it’s only 7:20 am. Thanks for sharing this I’m related to a bunch of coconut fiends who will love it!!!

  2. Hi Robin……I’m not familiar with COCONUT CREAM,could you explain…thanks

    • Hi Audrey,
      Coconut cream is made of coconut milk, but is more concentrated with less liquid. You can generally find it either in a can or squeeze bottle at most grocery stores. I used coconut cream, which is unsweetened, but you can also use cream of coconut, which is sweetened and is what is used to make pina coladas and can be found in the beverage section at a lot of grocery stores. Whew! Did that confuse you even more? I hope not!!! 🙂

      • I couldn’t find coconut cream at my grocery store, so I’m planning on improvising (not sure with what yet). But I am making this today!

  3. Robyn, if using your “white cake recipe” why is this coconut cake yellow? Have I missed something in your recipe?
    I really want to make this for my son’s 60th birthday this week.
    Thanks.
    mary

    • Hi Mary,
      You’ve not missed anything. 🙂 I use farm fresh eggs from our hens and the yolks are always a whole lot more yellow than those from the grocery store. I’ve found that the fresher they are from our hens, the more yellow they are, too. Anyway, the eggs I used in my white cake (since I include yolks for flavor in my white cake) were collected the morning I made the cake. If you use eggs from the grocery store or even older farm eggs, you shouldn’t have as much color in your white cake as mine does! Hope that helps!

    • its definately yellow cake mix. I love yellow way better than white any old day. I love Almond flavoring so I add a little to all my cakes. Makes them even more yummy

      • My mom has always had yellow cake mix as well! I’ve had it once with white cake mix, and couldn’t believe how big of a difference there was. The yellow cake is far better than the white!!!! ☺️

  4. Thank you so much for the recipe! Can’t wait till I try it. I make a coconut cake that our town in Texas loves it so much that put it in the electric co. cookbook. I make it with sour cream.

  5. This is my kind of cake! So delicious!

  6. Cake is a must at all of our birthday’s too — even if it’s something small and simple. I love this cake, the frosting alone, looks sooo soft and pillow like 🙂

  7. Oh my heavens, this cake is perfection! Looks so fluffy and flavorful!

  8. I am one of those coconut lovers—big time. One couldn’t get more coconutty than this recipe. Excellent.

    • Oh girl you should taste the new one I just made!!!!! My mom has been making this recipe for years, except she uses yellow cake mix, instead of white! I have been addicted for years…so I ALMOST felt guilty for trying out a new recipe tonight! ? Girl it’s heaven! It’s this cake x 1000! You still do the “poke cake” part with the coconut cream mixture, it’s just a different mixture. The cake itself is made from scratch. I could seriously sit here and eat this whole pan, by myself! ?

  9. I have been looking for the perfect coconut cake. Can’t wait to try this!!

  10. My family loves coconut cream, especially in cakes.

  11. This sounds and looks fantastic. I think it would also be good with chocolate cake instead of white.

    • Oh yes! I think you are right, Alan!

      • My mom has been making this for years, but she uses yellow cake mix, instead of the white. By far my favorite coconut cake recipe, until tonight. The new recipe I made tonight, definitely beats this one in taste. However, it is much more complicated! Well…not complicated, just takes a lot longer, and many more ingredients. The cake itself is made from scratch. You still do the “poke cake” with a coconut mixture, but it’s different than this one! I could seriously sit down and eat this whole pan by myself! ? ??? Don’t judge me! ??

    • My mom has been making this for years, but she uses yellow cake mix, instead of the white. By far my favorite coconut cake recipe, until tonight. The new recipe I made tonight, definitely beats this one in taste. However, it is much more complicated! Well…not complicated, just takes a lot longer, and many more ingredients. The cake itself is made from scratch. You still do the “poke cake” with a coconut mixture, but it’s different than this one! I could seriously sit down and eat this whole pan by myself! ? ??? Don’t judge me

  12. Robyn,

    We must share the same recipe lineage! My mother has been making this coconut cake since I can remember. So wonderful. I started making it for occasions a few years ago and have even had it requested a couple times. 🙂

    Love all your recipes!
    Catherine

  13. This recipe sounds delicious! I love coconut! No more buying those frozen ones at Wal-Mart! LOL – BUT, I have one question about the frosting. Is the frosting made of cool-whip with the added coconut flavoring and coconut? I don’t understand the “1 perfect coconut whipped cream recipe” part. Can you please explain that part to me? Thanks so much!

  14. Hello Robyn, this cakes looks and sound delicious! I cant wait to try it…do you have a recipe for a layered coconut cake?

    • I have an italian cream cheese 3 layer cake that there is coconut and nuts in it and it is delicious, coconut in the icing also, if you woule like to have it let me know.

  15. is there much diffent in this coconut cake than in a home made one.

  16. Hi Robyn! I stumbled across this recipe recently and can’t wait to try it! I’m making it for our family Easter get-together. I was wondering, is this similar to a tres leches cake, pouring the milk into the holes of the cake? Also, how far in advance can I make this cake? I’d like to make it the day before and have it ready to go Sunday morning. Thanks in advance!

    • Hi, Robyn, I’m making this for Easter Sunday dinner. Desserts most likely be to served about 4:00pm. I am baking the cake right now (Good Friday 4/3) and will pour the coconut cream/coconut milk mix on it per the recipe. When cooled, I will cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until Sunday. I plan to make the whipped cream recipe as soon as I get home from church about 12:30pm. I’ll spread it on the cake at that time and refrigerate until serving time. I have made traditional tres leches cakes before and they just get better sitting in the fridge waiting for that whipped cream topping! Hope this helps you out. Happy Easter! He is Risen!

  17. Recipe for the frosting for this cake

  18. …..Tomorrow is Easter! Just took out of the oven and mixed my 2 coconut liquids together then poured all over top after poking about 150 skewer holes into hot cake. To say the house smells devilicious (oooops, not appropriate for reason I’m making this cake) I meant heavenly beyond compare, is an understatement. Only thing keft to do is eat it tomorrow and hope I use constraint so I don’t dabble into it after it’s frosted and before the event of The Lords rising. I’ll report on my accomplishment when we dive in tomorrow. Happy Easter

  19. I made this cake on Saturday, April 4. It is so moist and delicious. I made the cake in a 9 x 13 pan, rather than the three 9-inch layers. I believe the baking time is incorrect. The three layers, baked at 350, needed 25 to 30 minutes according to the recipe. The recipe indicates the temp for the 9 x 13 pan is 325, and when placed on a large, rimmed baking pan, it should take 25 to 30 minutes to bake. But it took probably an additional 25 minutes until the cake was done baking. Robyn, what is the correct baking time?

  20. I’m currently in the process of making this cake. Hubby has been begging me for weeks! :-). Question about the whipped cream. Do I make it according to the recipe with the vanilla and then add the coconut extract or do I sub it for the vanilla? Thanks!

    • Hi Jen,
      Oh, I sure hope you guys love it! I can’t even begin to tell you how much we do! For the whipped cream, I go ahead and add the vanilla and the coconut flavoring when I make it. xo

  21. When you say to add coconut flavoring to the whipped cream, do you mean coconut extract? Just wondered, because 1 T. sounds like an awful lot. Thank you!

  22. I just tried baking it in a 9×13 pan at 325 for 30 minutes and it is still completely runny in the middle. I’ve had to add so much time to it and it is still completely runny in the middle. I am at sea level, is that what is wrong with my cake?

  23. Can you use frosting instead of whipped cream?

  24. I have made this cake twice now and it is a delicious cake BUT both times the White cake has overflowed whilst baking and made a horrible mess in the oven despite me putting trays beneath it and using the sized pan that you have suggested. Just a terrible waste of ingredients, next time I make this I will remember to cut the recipe in half for the cake!

  25. I’m currently baking this cake right now. It seems to fit well in a 9×13 pan. However it is taking longer to bake. I found the can of cream of coconut in the international food section. I’m so excited to try it. Thank you so much for the recipe. I’ll follow up on how it turns out.

  26. In this recipe, you say to cook at 325. When looking at the white cake recipe, it says 350. Im thinking thats why its still so runny after 25 mins. I mean, its still sloshing. Batter tastes great though! I raised the temp to 350 now and am baking some more.

  27. My mom has been making this for years, but she uses yellow cake mix, instead of the white. By far my favorite coconut cake recipe, until tonight. The new recipe I made tonight, definitely beats this one in taste. However, it is much more complicated! Well…not complicated, just takes a lot longer, and many more ingredients. The cake itself is made from scratch. You still do the “poke cake” with a coconut mixture, but it’s different than this one! I could seriously sit down and eat this whole pan by myself! ? ??? Don’t judge me

  28. Do you need to use cream of coconut which has added sugar or coconut cream with no added sugar? I have the same question about the coconut milk should it be sweetened?

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