Coconut Layer Cake

There is no denying that I love coconut. In fact I have over 20 recipes on this blog that have coconut in them! I guess all of this coconut love was noticed because recently I was contacted by Jen at Kelapo Coconut, a company that is focused on providing the market’s highest quality virgin coconut oil, to review and feature a recipe. Coconut Oil is 100% organic, vegetarian, and certified Fair Trade known around the world as a healthy, flavorful alternative to butter and other cooking oils. Coconut oil can be used to enhance any recipe, from savory to sweet and everything in between.

I have been wanting to make a coconut layer cake for a while now and when I received a sample of the coconut oil, I knew what I wanted to make! Coconut oil can be used as a 1 to 1 replacement for butter and oils in cooking and baking. I replaced half of the butter in this recipe with coconut oil and the results were incredible. 🙂

Moist and tender coconut layer cake made with coconut extract, cream of coconut and coconut oil. The cake is then layered and topped with a creamy coconut buttercream icing and sweetened shredded coconut. A coconut lovers dream! 😀

One Year Ago: Jamaican Jerk Grilled Kebabs 

Coconut Layer Cake

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For the Cake:

  • 1 large egg
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup cream of coconut
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour, sifted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces, softened, but still cool
  • 6 tablespoons Kelapo Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 2 cups packed sweetened shredded coconut

For the Frosting:

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 sticks (1 lb) cut into 6 pieces, softened, but still cool
  • 1/4 cup cream of coconut
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease bottom and sides of  two 9-inch round cake pans; dust with flour, tapping out excess.
  2. In large measuring cup beat egg whites and whole egg with a fork to combine. Add cream of coconut, water, vanilla, and coconut extract and beat with fork until thoroughly combined.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix on low speed to combine, about 30 seconds. With stand mixer still running on low speed, add butter and coconut oil 1 tablespoon at a time and beat until mixture resembles coarse meal, with bits no larger than small peas, 2-2 1/2 minutes.
  4. With the stand mixer still running, add 1 cup liquid. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 45 seconds. With mixer still running, add remaining 1 cup liquid in steady stream. Stop mixer and scrape down bowl with rubber spatula, then beat at medium-high speed to combine, about 15 seconds.
  5. Divide batter between prepared cake pans and level with offset spatula. Bake until golden brown, cakes pull away from sides of pans, and toothpick inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes Rotate pans halfway through baking. Do not turn off oven.
  6. While cakes are cooling spread shredded coconut on a rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven until coconut is a mix of golden brown and white, about 15-20 minutes, stirring 2 or 3 times. Cool to room temperature.
  7. For the buttercream: in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine whites, sugar, and salt. Place the stand mixer bowl over a barely simmering pot of water making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Whisk constantly until mixture is opaque and registers 120 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 minutes.
  8. Transfer bowl to the mixer and beat whites on high speed with whisk attachment until barely warm (about 80 degrees) and whites are glossy and sticking, about 7 minutes. Reduce speed to medium high and beat in butter 1 piece at a time. Beat in cream of coconut and coconut and vanilla extracts. Stop mixer and scrape bottom and sides of bowl. Continue beating at medium-high until well combine, about 1 minute.
  9. To assemble the cake: cut layers in half horizontally using a long serrated knife so each cake forms 2 layers. Put a dab of icing on a cardboard round cut just larger than the cake and center one cake layer on the round. Place a large blob of icing in the center of the layer and spread it to the edges with an icing spatula. Repeat with remaining cake layers. Ice the sides of the cake. Sprinkle the top of the cake with coconut. Then press the coconut into the sides.

Source: adapted from Cook’s Illustrated, March 2001

Don’t forget to check out my GIVEAWAY! You can win a copy of Must Have Been Something I Ate :) Click HERE for your chance to win!

Can’t get enough coconut oil? Neither can I! Check out some awesome coconut oil recipes from a few of my favorite food blogs:

36 Responses to “Coconut Layer Cake”

  1. #
    chicaandaluza — July 10, 2011 @ 12:08 pm

    What can I say apart from – this looks incredible! I love coconut too and when I can get all the ingredients together will give this one a go. Yum 🙂

  2. #
    Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide — July 10, 2011 @ 3:19 pm


  3. #
    lisamichele — July 10, 2011 @ 3:43 pm

    What a gorgeous coconut cake. Before I started ‘really’ baking, I used to chow down on the Pep Farm coconut cake, but obviously it could never compare to your luscious. creamy beauty! Great way to use the coconut oil! I just made a tropical carrot cake using moist and yummy!

  4. #
    Maris(In Good Taste) — July 10, 2011 @ 6:11 pm

    Pure decadence!

  5. #
    katshealthcorner — July 10, 2011 @ 7:43 pm

    Oh my gosh. Absolutely GORGEOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. #
    happywhennothungry — July 10, 2011 @ 8:49 pm

    This cake looks beautiful! I want a slice right now. Nice job!!!!

  7. #
    iscribbler — July 10, 2011 @ 9:07 pm

    That looks fantastic! Love it. I might just give this a go for my parents’ anniversary. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  8. #
    muppy — July 10, 2011 @ 10:54 pm

    beautiful! i am making a coconut pandan cake today, hope it looks as good as yours ;D

  9. #
    The Café Sucré Farine — July 11, 2011 @ 8:37 am

    My oh my! This is the prettiest, most yummy looking coconut cake I’ve ever seen! I love the toasted coconut, adds a wonderful visual touch and I’m sure it tastes better than just plain! Thanks, Chris

  10. #
    briarrose — July 11, 2011 @ 8:44 am

    Gorgeous! It’s just wrong to crave cake first thing in the morning. 😉 I would love a slice of this…looks like it’s packed with wonderful coconut flavor.

  11. #
    Amy — July 11, 2011 @ 9:37 am

    Wow, this looks SOOOO fluffy and delicious! I love a good cake 🙂

  12. #
    spicegirlfla — July 11, 2011 @ 9:46 am

    Wow.. this is really impressive! The layers are fluffy and so moist looking! I’m a coconut lover too and summer time just feels tropical with coconut! Great recipe!

  13. #
    Lori @ RecipeGirl — July 11, 2011 @ 9:56 am

    Yum! I’d have to eat the whole thing myself since my family despises coconut (!), but I’m pretty sure I could do that 🙂

  14. #
    Junia @ Mis Pensamientos — July 11, 2011 @ 10:38 am

    sweetpea! coconut cake sounds luscious! 😀 your cake looks like angel food cake texture, which is perfect for the coconutty flavors here :). hope your summer is treating you well! i’m sure your family is loving your baked goods!

  15. #
    Christine — July 11, 2011 @ 2:07 pm

    This looks amazing! Love it! Great job!

  16. #
    sarah — July 11, 2011 @ 3:05 pm

    Whoa this cake looks incredible!! I love coconut too! I’ll have to search through your archives to find more!

  17. #
    Nicole@HeatOvenTo350 — July 11, 2011 @ 3:23 pm

    How delicious. I just got my first container of coconut oil a few weeks ago. I really like using it. This cake would be perfect for it!

  18. #
    Felice — July 11, 2011 @ 6:23 pm

    I was at the store this morning and actually picked up a jar of coconut oil because it looked interesting and it is something I haven’t tried. I put it back because I didn’t have a recipe in mind to try it. Guess I am headed back to the store to pick some up now because this cake looks wonderful.

  19. #
    Vicki @ WITK — July 11, 2011 @ 7:38 pm

    I love coconut too! If only I could convince the other inhabitant of my apartment to eat lots of it too! This cake looks fabulous, love all that toasted coconut!

  20. #
    Emily @ Life on Food — July 11, 2011 @ 8:27 pm

    Your toasted coconut looks perfect. I always seem to forget this in the oven when I make it and it becomes a burnt mess. Very sad to someone who is a coconut lover. Your cake would be my ideal birthday treat!

  21. #
    Ana Helena Campbell — July 11, 2011 @ 11:12 pm

    I love coconut too! Your cake is gorgeous, thanks for sharing!

  22. #
    Kelly — July 12, 2011 @ 4:45 pm

    Such a gorgeous cake! And looks delicious too, great job!! 🙂

  23. #
    Kim Beaulieu — July 12, 2011 @ 4:59 pm

    This looks delicious! I love coconut but my family does not care for it as much as I do. I wish I could make it more often. Although I am doing something fun with fresh coconut this week. Been awhile since I used it. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe.

  24. #
    Panda — July 12, 2011 @ 6:36 pm

    For the frosting you list: 4 sticks (1 lb) cut into 6 pieces, softened, but still cool
    I surmise you mean this to be butter, right?

    • Christina replied: — July 13th, 2011 @ 9:21 am

      Yes, the butter should be slightly cool (not room temperature).

  25. #
    Sandra — July 12, 2011 @ 9:09 pm

    Didn’t know you could replace it 1 to 1. That is awesome and so is this cake.

  26. #
    Eliot — July 13, 2011 @ 8:32 am

    I just bought some coconut oil to use in a granola recipe that Liv Life shared a while back. I have been looking for other recipes to use the rest of the oil. This would be it! Thanks!

  27. #
    Valerie — July 13, 2011 @ 10:22 am

    This cake looks really good, and creamy! I love coconut, and especially coconut cakes, they’re really tasty!

  28. #
    Hester aka The Chef Doc — July 13, 2011 @ 9:23 pm

    I’m right there with you about coconut! I LOVE it! However, I’ve never tried coconut oil. All my nutritional education makes me steer away from it. I am glad that it adds a nice flavor to your cake, though!

  29. #
    Sasha @ The Procrastobaker — July 14, 2011 @ 12:52 pm

    I could have sworn I commented on this when i first saw it…obviously going silly in my old age! This looks like my perfect cake…seriously, stuff my dreams are made of! I adore coconut and have been looking for coconut extract everrryywherree but i fear the UK doesnt appreciate its bound-to-be awesomeness. If i do get my mitts on some, I will definitely make this lovely for sure!

  30. #
    Meghan — July 18, 2011 @ 6:45 pm

    I could eat coconut layer cake everyday! This looks beautiful!

  31. #
    ljoy704 — July 23, 2011 @ 7:48 pm

    Hmm I haven’t had coconut cake for so long. It looks great.

  32. #
    ACircleInThePath — October 10, 2011 @ 5:52 pm

    I loooove coconut! My favorite all time dessert is a coconut cream pie, but this coconut cake looks fabulous. I have a birthday coming up and I think I’ll make myself a coconut cake to celebrate. Do you have any other recipes using coconut oil? My mother has dementia and we have mom on coconut oil but it’s hard to get down her. Her other problem is diabetes so desserts with coconut oil won’t work for her. Would appreciate any other suggestions.

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  35. #
    Lisa — September 7, 2012 @ 8:58 pm

    What a beautiful and fluffy coconut cake – the epitome of what a coconut cake should be, but better. I’ve fallen in love with coconut oil since I started using it last summer and use it in place of butter and other oils more than I ever thought I would 🙂

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