Coconut Cake


This cake came about because I couldn’t bring myself to make a carrot cake. When I volunteered to bring the cake for a friend’s birthday get-together a couple of weeks ago, she requested a carrot cake, and I happily agreed. Her wish was my command. THEN my Main Taste Tester’s mom came by with a gigantic carrot cake for us. I thought it was a funny coincidence. My Main Taste Tester even jokingly suggested we just wrap up that cake and bring it to the party. Anyway, the problem with this carrot cake is that it is the best carrot cake in the entire world. I have tried to make her recipe three times and I have not been able to make it nearly as good as hers. I’ve made a lot of cakes, but that sucker makes me feel like a failure every time. My point is that the cake was so good, we ate on it for a couple days and every time my MTT had a piece he would give me his frosting.

By the time I had to make the cake for the party, I could not look at, think about, taste or make another carrot cake. I. Was. Over. It. However, keeping in mind that I didn’t want to be a flake that promises one cake and brings another to someone’s birthday, I tried to think of something that still might be a hit with the birthday girl. After confirming that coconut was a go, I remembered this recipe I’ve wanted to make for ages.  I cut out the nuts due to Tom’s allergy and here we have it. This cake is incredibly moist but still light from stirring whipped egg whites into the batter. It has a rich, buttery vanilla flavor with little bits of coconut throughout. The cream cheese coconut frosting is very rich and a nice contrast to the airy cake. This is a great all-occasion cake and in this case it got me out of my carrot cake overdose bind, for which I will be forever grateful. Oh, and next time someone drops an entire cake off at my house, I’m having a piece and promptly putting the rest in the freezer. Lesson learned.

Coconut Cake

Makes one three tier 9 inch cake


  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk + 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 whole eggs, separated
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsweetened, flaked coconut
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder


  • 2 – 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 – 2 lb. package powdered sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened, flaked coconut
  • Pinch salt


  • Extra unsweetened coconut


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans. Beat egg whites until stiff. Set aside.


For coconut buttermilk, stir together the coconut milk and lemon juice and let stand for a few minutes before using.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together butter, oil, and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg yolks, extract, and coconut.

Alternate adding the coconut buttermilk and dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix until just combined, then gently fold in egg whites. Be careful not to over mix or the cake will not be as airy.

Pour evenly into the three prepared pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until toothpick in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto cooling racks and allow to cool completely before frosting.


In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, butter, vanilla, powdered sugar, and salt. Beat until light and fluffy. Stir in coconut.


Lay down top cake layer on a plate or turntable. Top it with a layer of icing and lay down second cake layer on top. Repeat with third cake layer. Add a thin coat of frosting on the entire cake and pop the cake in the fridge or freezer for thirty minutes to firm up crumb coat. Pull cake bake out and finish frosting with a thick layer. Press coconut into the frosting all over the cake.


You could substitute some of the vanilla extract in the cake and frosting with coconut extract for an additional punch. The coconut flavor is still prominent without it though.


Adapted from: Pioneer Woman


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