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Favorite Coconut Cake

When I need an impressive dessert for a special occasion, this is the recipe I turn to. My guests are glad I do! —Edna Hoffman, Hebron, Indiana
  • Total Time
    Prep: 45 min. Bake: 15 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    16 servings


  • 4 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-3/4 cups cake flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1-2/3 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-1/2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
  • Colored sprinkles, optional


  • Place 4 egg whites in a large bowl; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Line bottoms of 3 greased 9-in. round baking pans with parchment; grease parchment. Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Cream butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes; beat in extracts. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk.
  • With clean beaters, beat the 4 egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high after each addition until sugar is dissolved. Continue beating until stiff glossy peaks form. Fold into batter.
  • Transfer to prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 13-17 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to wire racks; remove paper. Cool completely.
  • For frosting, in a large heatproof bowl, whisk 5 egg whites, sugar, water and cream of tartar until blended. Place over simmering water in a large saucepan over medium heat; whisking constantly, heat mixture until a thermometer reads 160°, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat; add vanilla. Beat on high speed until stiff glossy peaks form, about 7 minutes.
  • Spread between layers and over top and sides of cake. Cover with coconut. If desired, decorate with sprinkles. Store, uncovered, in refrigerator.
Editor's Note
Look for unsweetened coconut in the baking or health food section.
Nutrition Facts
1 slice: 400 calories, 16g fat (11g saturated fat), 24mg cholesterol, 341mg sodium, 62g carbohydrate (41g sugars, 2g fiber), 5g protein.

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Average Rating:
  • Pamela
    Nov 25, 2017

    Seriously this cake was to die for!!!!! I added one yolk to the batter after I beat my egg whites separately. The other thing I did was mix my coconut half sweet and half unsweetened. I just really love the flavor of white cake with sweet coconut! Thank you for sharing this incredible cake which is now my all time favorite!! #RulatheRed

  • _nlfPA
    Aug 16, 2017

    This is a very good cake. I put lemon curd between the layers and make a microwave Boiled Frosting instead of the standard 7 Minute Frosting. This is a very popular cake when I take it to potlucks or reunions..

  • manga
    Sep 15, 2013

    I thought the cake was just okay. it crumbled as I cut it. I did add 3/4 of coconut in the batter. I would not make this again .

  • silly girl
    Feb 27, 2013

    I made a coconut cake like 3 years ago..does anyone know if this cake was in the actual magazine?? I thought I saved it but I can't find it..

  • Griahne
    Jan 31, 2013

    Seriously, the best coconut cake and one of the best cakes I've ever made. I get requests for it all the time.

  • Yoder6
    Feb 3, 2012

    This was the best cake that I have ever eaten!

  • IzzyM
    Apr 23, 2011

    The cake itself was lovely. I had slight difficulty getting the frosting to "thicken", so I added half a container of store-bought coconut frosting. I reveived many compliments with this recipe, it's a keeper.

  • kathykjk
    Apr 3, 2011

    Coconut cake should have something coconut IN the cake! I substituted coconut milk for the milk. Wonderful!

  • shellwiz
    Apr 2, 2011

    Heavenly! The best cake I've ever made.