Coconut Cake

filed under: Cakes on January 16, 2018

This Coconut Cake recipe is a family favorite. Check out all the ways I infuse coconut flavor into this delicious cake!

Coconut lovers beware!

Coconut Cake

Finding a delicious coconut cake recipe was not as easy as I thought. So many of the recipes I came across used cake mix (not that there is anything wrong with that!) but I wanted something totally from scratch. So when I found Mrs. Billett’s White Cake I decided to modify it to make the perfect coconut cake!

When developing this recipe I really took into consideration the technique and ingredients so that I would be able to confidently answer the common question of ‘how to make coconut cake’. If you follow the recipe as written, you WILL have a delicious cake!

In addition to making a really good coconut cake, I paired this cake with an amazing easy coconut frosting! This cheater swiss meringue frosting is quickly becoming a new favorite and one that I am able to use in so many ways!

This perfect coconut cake recipe is a game changer!


Tips, Tricks, Variations

Did you catch all the different ways I infuse coconut into this recipe? Coconut oil (arguably this adds very little flavor), coconut milk, coconut extract, and even coconut flakes. I did a poll in my baking group and asked “when eating a coconut cake do you prefer a strong coconut flavor or subtle? Also, do you like coconut flakes on your cake?” The answers were interesting!

People feel strongly about their coconut cake!

After over 100 responses it became clear… there was no definitive answer. 😂 One thing I did know, my coconut cake recipe had to be adaptable and delicious.

If you happen to love strong flavors, this recipe and frosting are perfect for you. If you like subtle then I would make a 7-minute frosting with this cake so only the cake flavor shines through. If you dislike coconut flakes you can follow my video, if you love them then I would suggest covering the entire cake with them!

Why simple syrup? It does magical things to this cake. After extensive testing (thanks, friends!) there was a unanimous reply, YES to the simple syrup! It adds moisture, sweetness, and life expectancy. Once thing I noticed with coconut cake is that while they loved the flavor, my taste testers didn’t “binge” on it like they might with chocolate cake or vanilla cake. One piece a day was plenty. Simple syrup also adds longevity to this recipe, meaning it will last for several days on the counter and still taste delicious. Here is my simple syrup recipe. I recommend making it the day before you make this cake.

You may notice that I use the coconut oil in its solid form in the recipe. In many recipes, you are required to melt it first! But because I was using it as a butter substitute (from the original white cake recipe), I wanted to make sure my oil was solid. If I was replacing oil in a recipe I would use it in it’s melted form.

Seriously perfect layers of coconut cake deliciousness!

Easy Coconut Frosting recipe here and here is a video of how I made it!

Please do let me know if you try this homemade coconut cake and what you think! You can tag me @iambaker on Instagram and Facebook.

4.75 from 4 votes
Calling all coconut lovers! THIS is the cake for you!
Coconut Cake
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
45 mins

This Coconut Cake recipe is a family favorite. Check out all the ways I infuse coconut flavor into this delicious cake!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Coconut Cake
Servings: 8
Author: Amanda Rettke
  • 1 c (200g) solid coconut oil
  • 2 c (400g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp. Pure Coconut Extract
  • 1 c (240g) coconut milk
  • 3 c (375g) sifted cake flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 5 (200g) egg whites
  • 6 -9 tablespoons simple syrup
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare three 8-inch round cake pans.
  2. Add coconut oil and sugar to stand mixer and beat on medium-high until incorporated about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add coconut extract to the coconut milk. Now, with the mixer on low, add that milk mixture to the sugar mixture in the stand mixer.

  4. Sift together flour and baking powder; add to ingredients in stand mixer slowly.
  5. Beat at low speed just until incorporated. Turn mixer off.
  6. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites at medium speed until stiff peaks form.
  7. Remove mixer bowl from stand mixer and gently fold egg whites into batter.
  8. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  9. Bake at 350°F for 18-25 minutes or until the center does not appear wet and the cake has pulled slightly away from the sides of the pan. Do not overbake!!!

  10. Remove cakes from oven and let rest in pan for about 5 minutes.

  11. Turn out cakes onto baking rack and level if necessary. Now drizzle each layer with 2-3 tablespoons of simple syrup.
  12. You can decorate immediately or chill cakes until ready to assemble.


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  • Sownya says:

    Hi , nicereceip. Is rhr sugar measurement in gms correct? Seems morebthsn flour? Pls clarify.

  • Jose says:

    Tried it. Loved it! I used the 7 minute frosting. Made one batch too much. I will play with other frostings that are less sweet.

  • Susan horn says:

    Where is the I I g recipe for this coconut cake ?

  • Ranjana Agarwal says:

    Very easy recipe.

  • Jo Beth says:

    Was awesome

  • Lorena Boone says:

    What is simple syrup? Recipe please .

  • Charlie says:

    Can the two cups of Stevia be substituted for the granulated sugar?

    • PJ says:

      Stevia is much sweeter than sugar so you probably wwon’t need as much.

  • Charlie says:

    Can stevia be used instead of sugar?

  • Breanna Montalvo says:

    I see the cake you posted has 3 layers, can you have this recipe if I only want to make a 2 or 3 layered 6inch instead of an 8 or 9 inch like yours shows?

  • Coral Efford says:

    Hi l am in Australia could you please tell me which sort of syrup to use. Syrup to us is Golden Syrup and it’s heavy. I can’t think of any other type


    • Lorraine says:

      Simple Syrup is super simple to make :). Just take equal parts water and granulated sugar, bring to a boil for a couple of minutes and let cool. That’s it! You can add flavors to it, like coffee, extracts, etc.

  • Terry says:

    What are pasteurized eggs? And why are they so important for the Swiss meringue frosting?

  • Rau alice says:

    Now do you make simple syrup

  • Debbie Noble says:

    I love the recipes in this. I must try the coconut cak & the cream cheese pound cake

  • Saniya says:

    How can we prepare coconut butter cream?

  • Eunice L. says:

    It is a good recipe, I followed every step, except that I made 1 + 1/2 of the recipe for 3/ 9″ round cakes.
    The coconut flavor is good, but the cake came a little bit dense, more like bread. I wish it was more airy and fluffy. I noticed that the vatter was heavy, but I assumed that was okay. Maybe more liquid? …

  • Tasmia says:

    You are an awesome teacher you know… I have started now means I am at ABC stage but your guidance made me a baker at my ist chocolate craving cake… keep it up n all the best wishes.

  • Christen says:

    Could I use almond milk instead? Should I add egg yolks to help add fat? I react to coconut cream milk for whatever reason. Would you say this is lighter then dense? Looks amazing and want to make for Christmas!

  • Helen Thomas says:

    My family loves white cake I bake a lot but my white cakes turn out terrible but they do not like coconut can you help?

  • Sibgha Malik says:

    If i want to add shredded coconut to this cake, can i substitute it to 1 cup flour?


  • Kelsey says:

    I didnt make this cake, but I did make thfrosting. I was so disappointed. The texture was a bit strange and it wasnt sweet in the least. Being mostly butter, that’s about how it tasted. Like coconut butter.

    • Amanda Rettke says:

      Have you ever had SMB? It’s not sweet like American Buttercream. This frosting is really good, but it does take some getting used to if you are not familiar with SMB.

  • Joyce Negrich says:

    I put sweetened coconut milk n my coconut cakes and my friends rave about them

  • Taylor H says:

    Is the cocunut milk the kind you drink like almond milk? Or yhe kind from a can like the asian food aisle?

  • Phyllis says:

    Great recipe! I added chocolate ganache on top to make it into a candy bar Mounds cake! Will definitely make this cake again.

  • Ololade says:

    Can one use regular oil(vegetable oil) in place of coconut oil?

    • Elizabeth Keeney says:

      Hi, Ololade! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. I would recommend butter or olive oil as your best replacement. Both would be a 1:1 replacement. I hope this helps, and have a great day!

  • rg tassin says:

    old fashioned coconut cake–I am 78 next month so trust me on this–always had lemon curd filling and cooked frosting with flaked coconut!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The solid coconut oil was great tho!!!

  • I Am Baker Logo

    Brand new recipes that people find kinda acceptable.