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This is a photo of a slice of coconut cake. There are four layers with coconut pastry cream between them. The frosting is white with toasted flaked coconut on top.
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5 from 3 votes

The Perfect Coconut Cake

Rich, creamy and fluffy, this is the BEST coconut cake you can find. Also, no fake coconut flavor. It's just a cake dreams are made of.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Dessert
Keyword: best coconut cake recipe, coconut cake, how to make coconut cake, perfect coconut cake recipe
Servings: 12
Calories: 722kcal
Author: Honest and Tasty


For the Coconut Cake:

  • 6 Egg Whites room temperature
  • 1 cup Whole Milk room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2 1/4 cups Cake Flour OR if you don’t have cake flour for every cup of all-purpose flour, just replace 2 tablespoons of it with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. So add 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour to a large bowl and replace 4 1/2 tablespoons of it with cornstarch. This is what I do and it’s so easy!)
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder Rumford brand or Whole Foods brand sell this
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter softened
  • 3 ounces unsweetened coconut flakes

For the Coconut Pastry Cream:

  • ¾ cup Coconut Milk
  • ¾ cup Whole Milk
  • Seeds from ½ a Vanilla Bean
  • 4 Egg Yolks
  • cup Sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Cornstarch
  • ¾ cup Heavy Cream

For the Frosting:

  • 1 cup 2 sticks Butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3 ½ cups Powdered Sugar
  • 7 tablespoons Whole Milk
  • ¼ teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 3 ounces unsweetened flaked coconut


For the Coconut Cake:

  • Heat oven to 350º F (176º C).
  • Prepare two 8-inch (or 9-inch) cake pans by greasing them with butter (or vegetable oil), fitting parchment paper to the bottom of the pans, greasing the parchment paper, and lightly flouring the pans, getting rid of the excess flour.
  • To medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites with the whole milk, and vanilla. Set aside.
  • To a large mixing bowl, add 2 ¼ cups of the cake flour (or the homemade cake flour).
  • Add the sugar, baking powder, and sea salt. Whisk together to combine.
  • Cut the butter into pieces and add it into the mixture. Use a spatula to incorporate the butter before using a mixer to completely combine.
  • Add half of the wet ingredients right into the dry ingredients and use an electric mixer to combine. Add the remaining wet ingredients and beat for another minute to incorporate.
  • Use a spatula to fold in the coconut flakes.
  • Pour batter evenly between the prepared cake pans and bake for 27-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  • Rest cakes for 10 minutes before removing them onto a cooling rack to completely cool.

For the Coconut Pastry Cream:

  • Add the coconut milk, the whole milk, and the vanilla seeds to a saucepan. and heat on the stove over low heat.
  • Whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch in a mixing bowl to form a paste.
  • Use an electric mixer and little by little, whisk in the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture.
  • Pour the mixture back into the saucepan over medium heat, and whisk constantly, until thickened and boiling.
  • Place plastic wrap up against the custard to keep a skin from forming and refrigerate until cool. Use an electric mixer and mix the custard and heavy cream in a bowl until smooth and airy.

For the Frosting:

  • Toast the coconut flakes by heating them in a pan over the stove on medium heat. Use a spatula to toss the coconut flakes so they don’t burn. Once they start getting golden, turn off heat and continue tossing for a minute. Put the flakes in a bowl and set aside until cake is ready to be topped with them.
  • Use an electric mixer to combine all the frosting ingredients together. Once incorporated, mix for 2 more minutes to make it soft and whipped.
  • Cut the cakes in half using a serrated knife to create four cake layers. Place one layer down, spread 1/3 of the pastry cream over the top, leaving about 1 inch of room from the edge so that the pastry cream doesn’t spill out when you add the remaining layers. Add the next layer and repeat the process until you add the last layer.
  • Frost the cake with the vanilla frosting. Garnish with lightly toasted flaked coconut. Enjoy!

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    Calories: 722kcal | Carbohydrates: 95g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Cholesterol: 131mg | Sodium: 440mg | Potassium: 430mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 73g | Vitamin A: 850IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 145mg | Iron: 2mg