24 Coconut Cake Recipes
Coconut is a true Southern ingredient, and one of our favorite flavors in beautifully baked cakes. These delicious recipes make it simple to have a bite of coconut every day. You’ll love the ease of making the Lemon-Coconut Pound Cake Loaf, or the Coconut Sheet Cake. For beautiful coconut cake kitchen creations, bake the Coconut-Almond Cream Cake—it looks as good as it tastes, and the Four-Layer Coconut Cake. If you prefer your coconut as a bite-size delight, whip up a batch of the Coconut-Pecan Cupcakes. They mix two classic Southern tastes into one handheld treat. However you crack it, coconut cake is one of our favorite sweet treats.
Coconut Chiffon Cake
Recipe: Coconut Chiffon Cake
“If there were ever a cake that could be deemed the most Southern, most classic, and most treasured layer cake of all, the Coconut Chiffon Cake would reign supreme.” Our Test Kitchen Professional Ivy Odom gives this storied cake quite the compliment, but she would never exaggerate—the Coconut Chiffon Cake is legendary in the South. This specific recipe is one of our most popular recipes of all time. Need proof? It’s been published more than 40 times since it was first printed in the December 1968 issue of Southern Living. When we call something “a classic” or “timeless,” we mean it, honey.
Ivy explains that for a standard chiffon cake, you need to make a well in your dry ingredients, add your wet ingredients into the well, and whip the wet ingredients into the dry. With this recipe, our dry ingredients that go in the bowl first are cake flour, sugar, and baking powder. Mix the dry ingredients before making your well, and then add the wet ingredients–canola oil, egg yolks (save the whites!), vanilla, and water. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together, and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with cream of tartar until fluffy. The eggs are used to create air for the ultimate soft cake texture. Next, fold the egg white mixture into the batter, and you’re ready to pour it into your pans. We used four greased and floured 8-inch round cake pans for this recipe. Bake the cake at 350˚ for 12-14 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Our test kitchen recommends checking for doneness at the minimum bake time, as even one to two minutes of extra baking can result in a dry cake. Once the cakes are done, let them cool on wire racks in the pans for about 10 minutes, remove them from the pans, and then let them cool completely on the wire racks (about 30 minutes).
While the cakes are cooling, it’s time to make the coconut-mascarpone filling, which Ivy says is “reminiscent of a cloud.” In a bowl, whisk whipping cream until fluffy. In a separate bowl, add mascarpone cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla, and stir together. Then fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture. Next, stir in grated coconut to complete the filling. Now that the filling and the cakes are finished, you can get to stacking. After you carefully (carefully!) stack your layers and filling, cover the cake with plastic wrap and chill for 12 hours.
Once the cake is chilled, you're ready for the White Chocolate Buttercream. In a bowl, combine chopped white chocolate and whipping cream, and heat them together until melted, and stir. Let the mixture cool completely (about 20 minutes) In a separate bowl, mix butter and powdered sugar with a hand- or standing-mixer, and then add the white chocolate mixture, vanilla, and more powdered sugar before mixing again until it’s fluffy. Carefully ice the top and sides of the cake, and cover with sweetened flaked coconut. Congratulations—you have now completed a beloved Southern recipe, the beautiful Coconut Chiffon Cake.
Coconut Cream Cake
Recipe: Coconut Cream Cake
The nostalgia of coconut cream pie meets the fanfare of a layer cake in one delicious dessert.
Recipe: Coconut-Almond Roulade
If you can't find desiccated coconut, process shredded coconut in a food processor until finely ground.
Coconut-and-Pecan Strawberry Shortcakes
For a creative, updated take on shortcake, we added coconut and pecans to the dough.
Pineapple-Coconut Cupcakes with Buttermilk-Cream Cheese Frosting
These delectable Pineapple-Coconut Cupcakes with Buttermilk-Cream Cheese Frosting start with a cake mix and are a favorite dessert for any gathering. Make an impression by making birds' nests with malted milk balls and edible paper as a garnish for these cupcakes.
Ambrosia Coconut Cake
Recipe: Ambrosia Coconut Cake
Make the filling and frosting up to 2 days ahead. Then, build the cake, and chill up to 24 hours.
Lemon-Coconut Pound Cake Loaf
Recipe: Lemon-Coconut Pound Cake Loaf
Garnish this pound cake with flaked coconut or, for a dressier look, curly shavings of coconut. See the Test Kitchen note below for instructions on making fresh coconut shavings.
Coconut-Almond Cream Cake
Recipe: Coconut-Almond Cream Cake
Brooks Hamaker, from New Orleans, makes this cake with the precision of a skilled baker who has made his masterpiece many times. If the tops of the layers are a little rounded, he recommends leveling them with a serrated knife. "This is a tall cake," he says, "and it needs to be level if you want your friends to admire your work before they devour the cake--as they absolutely will."
Four-Layer Coconut Cake
Recipe: Four-Layer Coconut Cake
Coconut shavings can be purchased in the bulk section of your local health food store or dried fruit section in the supermarket.
Recipe: Coconut-Pecan Cupcakes
Small bites are big treats! These Coconut-Pecan Cupcakes topped with a sweet Caramel Frosting make for a perfect after-dinner treat.
Coconut Sheet Cake
Recipe: Coconut Sheet Cake
Coconut cake just got easier. Make a sheet cake instead of a layer cake for a dessert that's as easy as it is delicious. Top with cream cheese icing and a sprinkle of coconut for a cool, delicious dessert.
Chocolate-Coconut Pavlova Cake
Coconut-Carrot Cake with Coconut Buttercream
Coconut Pound Cake
Recipe: Coconut Pound Cake
Coconut pound cake sounds delicious enough, but this recipe packs two secret Southern ingredients that take this cake over the top—pecans and bourbon.
Coconut Cake with Rum Filling and Coconut Ermine Frosting
This stunning layer cake will be the star of any Southern holiday table, and if you’re a baker who’s never tried ermine frosting, you’ll love its soft, buttercream-like texture.
Japanese Fruitcake with Lemon-Coconut Frosting
Toasted Coconut-Pecan Cupcakes with Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting
These rich cupcakes are filled with coconut flavor. They’re perfect for feeding a crowd at the potluck but impressive enough for a holiday dinner.
Coconut Tres Leches Sheet Cake
Recipe: Coconut Tres Leches Sheet Cake
The word might make you cringe, but there’s no other way to describe a well-done tres leches cake than moist—and this one has dreamy coconut flavor to go along with that velvety texture.
Fresh Orange Italian Cream Cake
Recipe: Fresh Orange Italian Cream Cake
A sweet, tangy orange filling between layers adds so much zest to a traditional Italian cream cake, and it’s perfect for a dressy holiday celebration.
Tropical Carrot Cake
Coconut-Macadamia Nut Pound Cake
Recipe: Coconut-Macadamia Nut Pound Cake
This dreamy dessert is topped with an easy rum glaze that’s festive for any dinner party or Christmas cocktail.