Coconut Cake

coconut cake recipeI am not going to lie to you. This cake took some effort. But every second of effort was worth it. This cake was divine. The cake part was so amazing, that it will now be my go-to white cake recipe. The crumb is perfect and even though it has coconut water in it, I could not taste it is was so subtle. The frosting is fluffy and sweet. The coconut gives this cake crunch, not to mention that is gorgeous to look at. This cake could easily be made simpler by buying the coconut water and unsweetened shredded coconut from the store, but if you are so inclined, it is well worth doing yourself. This cake is, wait for it…. LIGHT! A slice has 332 calories and 10.8 grams of fat. I know this because it is the cover recipe of this month’s Cooking Light magazine. How beautiful would this cake be at a Mother’s Day brunch or any spring time function?
coconut cake recipeFor the cake:

Cooking spray (I use the kind with flour in it and it works like a dream)
12 ounces cake flour sifted (about 3 cups)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
2/3 cups softened butter
1 cup warm coconut milk (from 1 small coconut or Goya brand coconut water)
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 large egg whites

fluffy white frosting recipeFor the frosting:

4 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups fresh shaved coconut, toasted

Directions on how to open a coconut

coconut cake recipePreheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat (3) 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray. Beat egg whites on high speed until foamy. Add 2 Tablespoons sugar, one Tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Be careful to not overbeat. Set aside.

coconut cake recipeCombine 12 ounces cake flour, baking powder, and salt, whisk well. Place 1 1/2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons sugar and butter in a large bowl beat with a mixer on medium speed for 3 minutes or until light and creamy.

coconut cake recipeAdd flour mixture and coconut water alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

coconut cake recipescoconut cake recipeAdd in vanilla.

coconut cake recipeNow you have a lot of dirty bowls in your kitchen and if you are like me, a mess. But I promise, it is worth it.

coconut cake recipeCarefully, fold your egg whites into the cake batter.

coconut cake recipePour the batter into prepared pans. Bake for 18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and cool completely on a rack. I should mention that I do not have (3) 9-inch cake pans. I even went to the cake supply store down the street to buy one. They did not have any either. So I baked two, put the batter in the fridge and then washed the pan and baked the last one by itself. It worked out just fine.

white cake recipesMeanwhile, start your frosting. This is my hands down favorite kind of frosting. Combine the eggs whites, cream of tartar and salt and beat until foamy. Add 2 Tablespoons sugar, 1 Tablespoon at a time beating until stiff peaks form. Just like we did for the cake.

seven minute frosting recipeNote:  Use a saucepan with a handle. I don’t know what I was thinking. Makes the next step much easier. Put 1 1/4 cups sugar and 1/4 cup water in a handled saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cook without stirring until a candy thermometer reaches 250 degrees.

fluffy white frosting recipesWith the mixer on low pour the extremely hot sugar syrup in a thin stream into the egg whites.

coconut cake recipeGradually increase the speed to high and beat about 8 minutes. It is done when the bowl is cool to the touch. Stir in the vanilla.

coconut cake recipesFrost your cake.

fresh coconut cakeGently press coconut on the top and sides of cake. And finally, you are ready to eat.

coconut cake recipes

This cake is so beautiful and truly light and just all around good. Make it and share with someone. But not the toddler that has been sitting on your lap as you type this making it officially the longest you have ever tried to do anything in your entire life.


Oh hey there!

Well, hello there! I’m Bree Hester, the Boston-based blogger and food photographer here at Baked Bree. Here you can get lots of weeknight meal inspiration, eat more plant-based meals, and still indulge in a decadent sweet treat. Baked Bree is a place where you will find great recipes and inspiration for your next family adventure.

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This Post Has 35 Comments

  1. misty

    Yummy! This looks so delish!

  2. Hannah

    Beautiful photos!

    1. bakedbree

      thank you very much!

  3. Melissa

    That cake looks awesome. I think I might try to make it for my wedding anniversary. I was hoping you would tell me what kind of kitchen scale you have. I am in the market for one and yours looks about right. Thanks!

    1. bakedbree

      I wish that I could tell you. There is no brand or label on it. I searched on Amazon but cannot find it. I have had it for so long that I do not remember where I bought it. If I find it, I will be sure to let you know.

  4. Tracey

    Your cake is absolutely gorgeous! I made this cake for Easter after seeing it in Cooking Light and have to say, it was definitely worth the effort! Everyone who tried it proclaimed they had never tasted a coconut cake so tasty.

    1. bakedbree

      Isn’t it delicious? So gorgeous on the table too.

  5. MD

    First time to ur blog.Really a mouth watering recipe.Thx for sharing.

    1. bakedbree

      You are welcome. Thanks for reading.

  6. Mo

    The cake is SO gorgeous. Good job! It’s times like these that I wish I or anyone in my family actually liked coconut, because then I’d have an excuse to make it. =)

    1. bakedbree

      It is not overly coconutty so it might be a good recipe to try to introduce coconut with.

  7. Memoria

    Oh, Bree. Bree. Bree. How do I love thee! LOL!! You make everything look great. I’m not crazy about coconut, but I’m craving the stuff after looking at your photos. What lovely photos!

    P.S. Where did you get that lovely scale?!

    1. bakedbree

      Thanks! I have searched high and low for the scale, it has no information on it at all. I looked all over Amazon but can’t find the exact model. I’ll keep looking for you.

  8. barb

    OMG that cake looks over the top delicious! Coconut is my favorite & toasting
    it just makes it divine as you said.

  9. Linda

    How I LOVE coconut. I’m not a big cake person, but I might have to try this. I have a question, though: is it coconut milk or coconut water (line seven of cake ingredients)?
    Thanks, Bree.

    1. bakedbree

      It is coconut water. I used a fresh coconut, but you can buy Goya brand at the grocery store. It is usually in the International aisle.

  10. grace

    although i love everything about this cake, my favorite part may be those awesomely massive shreds of toasted coconut on top. lovely touch. 🙂

    1. bakedbree

      me too. it is as gorgeous as it tastes.

  11. Tamara

    yum this is a must try! Love your blog!

    1. bakedbree

      this cake is so light and delicious! I love it.

  12. geet

    Hi Bree,

    Your cake looks so delicious, Love all your photo’s. You truly seem to love what you do. Gonna try this cake for my birthday. Please check my website if you have the time.. Thanks..

    1. bakedbree

      Thank you Geet!

  13. Sharmin

    i was a little confused, do you use coconut water and warm it, or coconut milk and warm it?

    1. bakedbree

      coconut water. The clear liquid that comes out of the coconut.

  14. Kaya

    Can I use regular flour? I really want to make this but don’t have/can’t find cake flour!!! Thanks! Looks AMAZING 😀

    1. bakedbree

      you can make cake flour. Do a google search, it is flour and cornstarch but I forget the proportions.

  15. Sheryl

    I have made cake about 3times now! I’m making it for a friend’s anniversary, Friday. Her husband has declared it to be the Best Cake he has had in 73 years! Thanks for posting this recipe. It is one thing I make with absolute confidence in the recipe and your great instructions. Sheryl

    1. bakedbree

      I am so glad, this makes me so happy!

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