Go Back
+ servings

The Best Coconut Cake Recipe

Your search for the best Coconut Cake recipe stops here! With three layers of moist, fluffy cake smothered in a rich, creamy frosting, this old-fashioned coconut cake is the ultimate Southern dessert!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, Southern
Keyword best coconut cake recipe, coconut cake recipe, old fashioned coconut cake, southern coconut cake recipe
Prep Time 50 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Cooling Time 3 hours
Total Time 4 hours 8 minutes
Servings 16 - 20 slices
Calories 692kcal
Author Blair Lonergan



  • 1 ⅓ cups salted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 2 ⅔ cups granulated sugar
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 4 cups cake flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ⅓ cups whole milk, at room temperature
  • cup canned coconut milk (shake the can well before opening)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract


  • ½ cup (1 stick) salted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 16 ounces (2 blocks) cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon coconut extract
  • 2 lbs. confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut


  • Preheat oven to 400° F. Grease and flour three round 9-inch pans that are lined with parchment paper.
  • In the large bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  • Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Scrape the bowl again.
  • Sift together the cake flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large measuring cup, whisk together the milk, coconut milk, vanilla extract and coconut extract.
  • With the mixer on low, alternately add the flour mixture and the milk mixture, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until combined.
  • Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl; mix on medium speed for about 5-7 minutes.
  • Divide the batter evenly between the three prepared pans. Tap on the counter once or twice to release any air bubbles.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Let the cakes cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then remove from the pans and cool completely on wire racks.


  • Once the cakes are completely cool, prepare the frosting.
  • Use an electric mixer to cream together the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape the bowl.
  • Add vanilla extract and coconut extract; beat for 1 more minute.
  • With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the confectioners sugar. Scrape the bowl, as necessary, to make sure that all of the ingredients are completely combined. Once you’ve added all of the sugar, beat on low for 3 more minutes.
  • Using a large serrated knife, slice a thin layer off the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface. Discard the extra cake.
  • Place one cake layer on your cake stand or plate. Evenly cover the top with a layer of frosting. Top with the second cake layer and evenly cover the top with another layer of frosting. Top with the third cake layer. Spread the remaining frosting all over the top and sides. Use a bench scraper or offset spatula to get the icing nice and smooth on the sides. Sprinkle coconut on top of the cake and gently press it into the sides. Refrigerate for at least one hour before slicing and serving.


Store the cake covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You can also freeze the frosted cake for up to 2 months. Just make sure that it's wrapped tightly to prevent freezer burn. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
This recipe is slightly adapted from the Very Vera cookbook.


Serving: 1/20 of the cake | Calories: 692kcal | Carbohydrates: 97g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 120mg | Sodium: 303mg | Potassium: 236mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 77g | Vitamin A: 923IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 95mg | Iron: 1mg