Coconut Cream Cake

Coconut Cream Cake – Light and fluffy coconut cake layers with a creamy coconut frosting and toasted coconut.

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I love revisiting some of my older cake recipes and introducing them to so many of my new friends here. This coconut cake is a few years old and has been on my list to revisit for months now.

Coconut Cake

I originally came up with this recipe a few years ago for a friend’s wedding. I remember it being full of flavor. However, it was a little more dense than I imagine the perfect coconut cake to be. With the idea of lightening the texture a bit, this cake has been on my mind for a while now.

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Recipe Testing

As I looked at my old coconut cake recipe, I spotted a major problem. The quantity was off for three 8-inch pans. I also noticed that in the original recipe, I had a lot of liquids and fats and not quite enough flour. This was probably why it was on the denser side. When I started my first round of recipe revisions, I  added more flour and sugar right off the bat. I also tried using cream of coconut (the bottled kind I like for my frosting), instead of the canned coconut – simply because I love the flavor in my frosting.

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However, with the addition of granulated sugar and the bottled cream of coconut (which also has a lot of extra sugar), my cake sank. The flavor was awesome, but the cake sank and that was a no-go.

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Round 2

I cut back on the granulated sugar (which tends to weigh cakes down), took out the coconut oil (not sure it was really adding anything), and kept the bottled cream of coconut. The cake still sank a little. It was also a bit overly sweet, so I decided to go back to the canned coconut cream I originally used. The canned coconut cream isn’t as sweet, but has a delicious coconut flavor.

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Round 3

For round 3, I used a cup of canned coconut cream, cake flour, granulated sugar, all egg whites and a little more baking powder. This combination of ingredients are what I hoped would help get my cake to rise nicely, taste amazing, and have a light and fluffy texture.

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And sure enough, success!

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I am so pleased with how my new version of my Coconut Cream Cake turned out. The flavor is truly amazing and the texture is now light and fluffy! I’ve added my coconut buttercream to cover the top and sides from my Almond Joy Cake and am personally rating this cake a 10!

Enjoy!

Coconut Cream Cake

Yield 1 3-layer, 8-inch cake

Tender and fluffy coconut cake layers, with coconut buttercream and toasted coconut.

Ingredients

FOR THE COCONUT CAKE

  • 1 1/2 cups (300 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 2 whole eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (231 g) canned coconut milk (the cream and the liquid mixed together)
  • 1 tablespoon (16 g)  coconut emulsion
  • 1 teaspoon (4.2 g) vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (339 g)  cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon (10 g)  baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5.6 g)  salt

FOR THE COCONUT BUTTERCREAM

  • 2 cups (452 g)  unsalted butter, slightly cold
  • 1/4 cup (57.75 g) cream of coconut (in the bottle, not the can)
  • 6 cups (750 g)  powdered sugar, measured and then sifted
  • 1 tablespoon (16 g) coconut emulsion
  • Pinch of salt
  • *This buttercream recipe makes enough to fill and cover your cake. If you want to add additional piping, you’ll want to make an extra 1/2 batch.

GARNISH

  • 1 1/2 cups (225 g)  sweetened shredded coconut, toasted

Instructions

FOR THE COCONUT CAKE

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Spray your pans with nonstick spray, line the bottom with parchment paper and spray again. Set aside.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and the sugar together on medium-high speed for two minutes.

  3. Gradually add the egg whites and whole eggs, making sure to scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl between additions. Mix on medium-high for 2 minutes after all the eggs are added.

  4. Add the coconut emulsion and vanilla extract.

  5. In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk the cake flour, baking powder, and salt.

  6. Turn the mixer on low speed and alternately add the flour mixture and the coconut milk, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until combined.

  7. Evenly distribute the batter in your pans.

  8. Bake for about 23-25 minutes, or until the tops are slightly golden brown and the edges of the cake start to pull away from the sides of the pan. Don't turn off your oven.

  9. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes and then invert onto cooling racks to cool completely.

FOR THE COCONUT BUTTERCREAM

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter and coconut cream. Beat on medium-high speed for 1 to 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.
  2. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the sifted powdered sugar, followed by the extracts and salt.
  3. Turn the mixer to medium speed and beat the frosting until it is light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Use a wooden spoon to stir out air bubbles.

ASSEMBLY

  1. Level each cake layer with a knife or leveling tool.
  2. Place your first cake layer, right-side up, on a cake plate or cake board. Cover the cake layer with about 3/4 cup frosting.
  3. Repeat step 2 for the second layer, and then place the final cake layer on top, bottom-side up.
  4. Apply a thin layer of frosting around the entire cake to create a crumb coat. Chill the cake in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  5. After the crumb coat is chilled, continue frosting the cake and decorate with toasted coconut. Alternatively, you can add the toasted coconut in between each cake layer if you don't want it on the outside of the cake.

Courtney Rich

I’m a self-taught baker, obsessed with cake.

I long ago ditched box mixes in pursuit of melt-in-your-mouth, to-die-for flavor combinations, fillings and textures. I believe cake must be decadent, life-changing and worthy of celebration! And I believe anyone should be able to bake that kind of cake – and I’m here to teach you just that!

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Comments

  1. I’m wondering which of your cakes could be made with almond flour? My roomie is on Keto and I’m praying I can do one of your cakes for her with almond flour. Thank you Courtney!

  2. How would you make this into only a 2 layer? Your comments say it was a 2 layer recipe but your recipe and everything else says 3… did you change it to three?

  3. Hi there!! So I just made the cake it’s so so pretty!!! I ate the shavings off the top and it’s DELICIOUS! How do you suggest I store the cake? 🙂 I can leave it at room temp or should I refrigerate it? And for how long? Thank you!!!!

    1. If you aren’t going to frost it today, double wrap it in saran wrap and put it in the freezer until an hour before you are going to frost it.

    1. I haven’t tried it, but I don’t think it will ruin it – it just won’t taste the same as the one I wrote.

  4. Hello!!! I love your website. I have made several of your cake recipes and they are a hit. I have a question regarding the coconut cake. Can I use coconut extract instead of the emulsion? If so, how much do you recommend?

    Thank you for your inspiration!!

  5. Hi,

    My question is , in the description you mentioned coconut cream in the cake, in the recipe you mentioned coconut milk. In the description you also mentioned all egg whites got you success but recipe mentions 2 whole eggs and 6 eggs white. Can you please help me with this confusion.
    Thanks you

  6. Hi Courtney! Long time stalker of your recipes here and Im finally getting a chance to make this one tomorrow for a friend and Im very excited! Can you please tell me how is this cake best served- cold or room temperature?? I have found that this can make or break a good cake experience and I want to do it justice when I serve it. Thanks!

  7. Made this last weekend for a party and it was universally adored. This is one of the best cakes Ive made in quite a while- and I make a lot of cake! I kept it at room temp and this was probably the closest to box mix texture Ive come- very light and fluffy crumb. Actually I think this is a better recipe than both Cooks Illustrated Fluffy and White cake!

  8. Is this recipe for two 8 inch layers or three? The recipe says yield: 1 3 layer 8″ cake. So I prepped my pans and split it into 3. I thought the layers seemed a little small so I came to see if anyone else had commented and it looks like this cake recipe is actually for only 2 layers? I’m making a 2 tiered wedding cake for my sister and so I want these cake layers to be as thick as the almond poppy seed layers I already made. Could you clarify?

  9. I’m a bit confused on the coconut cream. You added in the ingredients to mix with liquid? What liquid are you referring to?
    Are you mixing regular coconut milt with cream of coconut?
    I would love to make this recipe but wanted to be sure I have it as it’s suppose to be. Thanks 😋

  10. Help! I have tried this cake twice in the past two days and it has failed me both times. I’m an at home baker, but a pretty experienced one and I’ve never had a cake fail like this. Both times it came out very thin, dense, and spongy. My mother described it as “coconut cornbread”. I followed the recipe meticulously…and ideas on what happened?

    1. Are you using room temp ingredients? fresh baking powder? And did you mix the butter, sugar, and eggs really well until light and fluffy and nearly double in volume.

  11. I just found you and I think I’m in love. I want to make this for my birthday next week but I’d rather do cupcakes. Would I change anything other than bake time, cupcakes usually bake at 350 for 18-20 min. Less Baking powder? TIA I CAN’T WAIT TO TRY THIS!

  12. This cake looks amazing! Thanks d like to try to make it for Mother’s Day this weekend 🙂
    I can’t seem to find the recipe for the coconut emulsion. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Can you get coconut extract? That will work too. You can also leave it out. The coconut cream creates a great flavor too.

  13. The link to your bottled coconut cream is no longer valid. Can you provide me with another link or brand name for this product? I am not familiar with bottled coconut cream. Thank you.

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