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Incredible Coconut Cake

I found this coconut cake recipe in a newspaper many years ago and modified it to suit my taste. This is my all-time favorite cake, and my family and friends absolutely love it. —Lynne Bassler, Indiana, Pennsylvania
  • Total Time
    Prep: 35 min. Bake: 25 min. + chilling
  • Makes
    16 servings


  • 5 large eggs, separated, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2-1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 11 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 4-1/3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons coconut extract
  • 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut, toasted


  • Place egg whites in a large bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 325°. In another large bowl, beat sugar, butter and oil until well blended. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition. Stir in coconut and extracts..
  • Add cream of tartar to egg whites; with clean beaters, beat on medium until stiff peaks form. Fold a fourth of the egg whites into batter, then fold in remaining whites.
  • Transfer to 3 greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  • For frosting, in a small bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add confectioners’ sugar and extract; beat until smooth.
  • Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate; spread with 1/2 cup frosting and sprinkle with 1/3 cup coconut. Repeat. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake; sprinkle with remaining coconut. Refrigerate for 2 hours before cutting. Store in the refrigerator.

Test Kitchen Tips
  • A coconut tree can live up to 70 years and produce thousands of coconuts.
  • Canola oil is high in monounsaturated fat, a type that helps to decrease blood cholesterol levels, and low in saturated fat, which can increase blood cholesterol. Olive oil would also taste great in this recipe and has the same healthy-fat properties.
  • Kickstart summer with some of our favorite seasonal cakes.
  • Nutrition Facts
    1 slice: 689 calories, 37g fat (21g saturated fat), 123mg cholesterol, 353mg sodium, 85g carbohydrate (64g sugars, 1g fiber), 6g protein.


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    Average Rating:
    • goodfellows
      Oct 14, 2020

      If I don't want all those layers can you make this in a tube pan and just frost the outside???

    • Laura
      Jul 16, 2020

      Made this and the marshmallow frosting. It is amazing. I am saving this recipe.

    • Amy
      Jul 11, 2020

      Light and fluffy. Utterly delicious.

    • haftm
      May 17, 2020

      No comment left

    • Grace
      May 5, 2020

      A great cake. Soft layers. Mine was very yellow on the inside though. I made a buttercream icing using 4 T. Of coconut cream (unsweetened) I also made a syrup to use as filling by using remainder of can of coconut cream, 1/4 cup sugar, a 6 oz bag of frozen, unsweetened coconut and a tsp of coconut extract. I brought this to a boil in small pan, simmered it, stirring constantly till it was like a thin pudding. I let it cool a little, spread between layers, then covered with the buttercream. Lady said it was by far the best coconut cake she'd ever had in her life. A must try!!

    • bschuck
      Apr 21, 2020

      I followed this recipe

    • Kate
      Apr 14, 2020

      I make this cake every year for my mom's birthday. It's her favorite. I follow the recipe as written but substitute coconut oil for the vegetable oil and it turns out great. To the reviewers below who are confused about the wording, if you watch the video it is clear that the step requires stirring in the actual flaked coconut as well as the coconut extract, vanilla extract, and almond extract.

    • Sally2007
      Jan 19, 2020

      Great recipe I made cupcakes and they turned out good.

    • DJ
      Jan 2, 2020

      I think one of the earlier reviewers and me as well, were confused by the wording in this recipe. You say to Stir in coconut and extracts. This does not mean to stir in the actual flaked coconut. I would recommend to change to Stir in extracts.

    • Maddy
      Dec 20, 2019

      Do you need to refrigerate this cake?