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The Best Coconut Layer Cake

  • Author: Heather | Browned Butter Blondie
  • Prep Time: 25
  • Cook Time: 25 min plus cooling time
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 10-12 slices 1x


A light and fluffy coconut layer cake topped with a silky smooth cream cheese frosting and heaps of sweet coconut flakes. Top with fresh flowers for a show stopping springtime centerpiece!



For Cake

3 cups (390 g) cake flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

18 tablespoons (254 g) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 3/4 cups (350 g) C&H® Granulated Sugar

4 egg yolks, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup full fat unsweetened coconut milk (from a can)

6 egg whites, room temperature

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Coconut Buttercream

1 1/4 cup (254 g) unsalted butter, room temperature

6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla

6 cups C&H® Confectioners Sugar, sifted

1/4 teaspoon salt

45 tablespoons heavy cream or coconut milk

3 cups unsweetened coconut flakes


For Cake

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray 3 8-inch cake pans with non-stick baking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter on medium high until light and creamy, about 3-4 minutes.

Add the C&H® Granulated Sugar and mix on medium high speed for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.

Add the egg yolks one at a time, mixing until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl between each addition.

Add the vanilla and mix until combined.

With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in three additions alternating with the coconut milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Do not over mix.

In a separate bowl, use a hand mixer to beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until firm peaks form. Do not over mix, you don’t want the egg whites to be dry.

Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and use a spatula to fold in 1/3 of the egg whites. Once incorporated, fold in the remaining egg whites being careful not to over mix the batter.

Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pans, dividing evenly.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until tops are golden brown and the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Cool completely before frosting.

For the Coconut Buttercream

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.

Add the cream cheese and mix on medium for 2 minutes.

Add the vanilla and salt, mix to combine.

With the mixer on low, slowly add the C&H® Confectioners Sugar, one cup at a time until incorporated. Once all the sugar has been added, increase the speed to medium and mix for 30 seconds until light and fluffy.

Add the heavy cream, one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. For more coconut flavor, use coconut milk instead of heavy cream. The buttercream should be smooth and spreadable.

To Assemble the Cake

Place one chilled layer of cake on a cake stand or plate. Add ¾ cup of buttercream and use an offset spatula to spread into an even layer, pushing the frosting to the edges.

Top with a second layer of cake and repeat with the buttercream. Add the third layer of cake, being careful that the cake is even and straight. Make adjustments as needed.

Top with 1 ½ cups of frosting and smooth the frosting over the top of the cake, pushing it down and over the sides. Continue with the crumb coat, taking care to remove the crumbs from the offset spatula as you work.

Chill the cake for 15-20 minutes.

Frost the cake with the remaining frosting, covering the sides and top evenly.

Place the cake stand or plate over a large cookie sheet. Carefully press the coconut flakes into the side and top of the cake while frosting is soft. Cover the cake entirely.

Return the cake to the refrigerator to set. Top with flowers before serving if desired.