From-scratch coconut cream cake that’s fluffy as a cloud with an airy coconut frosting and coated with grated coconut! Perfect for any occasion!

Watch me make this coconut cream cake from start to finish!


At gatherings on my husband’s side of the family, it’s practically tradition to have a coconut cream cake made by the local “coconut cake lady.”

At first, I was skeptical – I grew up with traditional coconut cake made with a marshmallowy 7-minute frosting.

Honestly, I didn’t think this cake would become one of my favorites, but Shut The Front Door!!! Oh, how I was wrong!

This heavenly coconut cream cake is light as a cloud, and its whipped frosting is simply irresistible. For some reason, it just reminds me of Spring, and that’s usually when I start craving it. It really is the perfect ending to Spring/Summer meal.

I HAD to get this cake on my blog asap, so I enlisted the help of my mother-in-law. She managed to obtain a cake from the coconut cake lady, and for several glorious days, I immersed myself in recreating the best coconut cream cake ever!

best coconut cream cake

Guess what happened? *toot goes my horn* I think I more than nailed it!

This homemade coconut cream cake is soooooo good!!! No need to whip out the boxed cake mixes; this homemade version is so easy, and the flavor payoff is worth it.

Let’s get into it!

homemade coconut cream cake

What is coconut cream cake?

If you’ve been out of the loop with coconut cream cake like I was, let me hip you to the game! Picture pillowy-soft vanilla coconut cake layers smothered in airy whipped coconut frosting and covered in tender coconut shavings.

Yes, it’s like blessing your mouth with a coconut cloud!

easy coconut cream cake

The Best Coconut for Coconut Cream Cake Recipe

If you manage to score some fresh coconuts, that’s fantastic; use it!!

But, for those searching for the next best thing, grated frozen fresh coconut is a game changer! Just give it a good thaw, press it dry, and voila – it’s ready to go!

Sweetened or unsweetened, either way, it is delicious.

You could also try the pantry-ready shredded flakes, but honestly, once you’ve discovered the wonders of frozen fresh coconut, there’s no turning back. It’s the undisputed King Daddy!

southern coconut cream cake

The Whipped Coconut Cream Frosting

OMG I love this frosting yall! Remember how obsessed I was with this Real Cream Cheese Frosting?

Well, this fluffy frosting has taken its place. Imagine the perfect blend of cream cheese frosting and whipped cream frosting. The texture and flavor are so dadgum perfect!

I could devour it by the spoonful!

How to make coconut cream cake

INGREDIENTS

For The Cake

  • All-purpose flour
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • salt
  • unsalted butter
  • vegetable oil
  • granulated
  • egg whites
  • vanilla extract
  • coconut extract
  • sour cream
  • whole milk

For The Frosting

  • heavy whipping cream
  • cream cheese
  • powdered sugar
  • vanilla extract
  • coconut extract
how to make coconut cream cake

DIRECTIONS

Let’s make the frosting!

  1. Add heavy whipping cream, vanilla extract, and coconut extract in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  2. Mix until it becomes fluffy and can hold stiff peaks (about 2-3 minutes). Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream the cream cheese until smooth.
  4. Mix in powdered sugar gradually until combined.
  5. Add the whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture by hand or with a mixer on low speed. (Be careful not to overmix, or the whipped cream will deflate)
  6. Cover and chill until ready to use.

Let’s make the cake!

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease the inside of 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with shortening and lightly dust with flour. Set aside. 
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together butter, oil, and sugar.
  4. Mix in egg yolks one at a time.
  5. Mix in vanilla extract, coconut extract, and sour cream.
  6. Mix dry ingredients with wet ingredients, alternating with the milk until all ingredients are combined.
  7. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans (roughly 2 cups per pan)
  8. Bake on the middle rack for 25 minutes.
  9. Let cakes cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Carefully remove the cakes from the pan (I like to run a knife lightly along the edges)and place them on a wire rack to cool completely. 
  10. Once the cakes are completely cooled, frost and stack the layers. (You’ll probably have remaining frosting left)
  11. Cover the top and sides with coconut.
  12. Store in an airtight cake container in the fridge.
coconut cream cake

How to decorate a coconut cream cake.

I love cakes that are covered in coconut because it’s like an instant, super easy decoration that looks amazing.

 Throw on lots of coconuts and call it a day.

Or at least that’s what my decorating-challenge self does. However, you can get fancy and add some sort of piping design or decorative fruit.

If there is a color theme, you can add food coloring to the coconut and frosting to match your theme.

coconut cream cake recipe

How to Store Coconut Cream Cake.

Indeed, coconut cakes are best the next day! If you have time, make this cake the day before you want to serve it. 

Store this coconut cream cake in an airtight cake container in the fridge. Server cold or let come to room temperature (about an hour). It’s also made and eaten the same day though, so no worries! Serve within 3-4 days.

coconut cream cake recipe

FAQs

Can I make this cake in a 9×13 pan? I don’t see why not. I’ve only made it in 3 (9-inch) round pans, though.

Can I use a boxed cake mix? This homemade version is much better, but if you must, I’d go with a white cake mix or yellow cake mix. And also, increase the egg, and add coconut extract and sour cream to the mix to give it a more homemade taste. 

Can I use toasted coconut? Since this is a coconut cream cake that is very light and airy, it tastes best without the texture of toasted coconut. But if you really love it, then sure.

What do I do with the leftover egg yolks? You can discard them (gasp) or cook them. Or make a few batches of these cheddar cheese biscuits!

Can I use Cool Whip as the frosting? Cool whip is probably too light to support the cake layers.

Does this coconut cream cake not have coconut cream or coconut milk? Surprisingly No, it does not. I tried lots of add-ins and swaps while testing out this recipe, like using buttermilk or coconut milk.  

Swapping out the sour cream for coconut yogurt and coconut cream. Using all butter or shortening.  In the end, I found that the posted recipe had the best texture and flavor.  

Want more coconut recipes? Try these!


coconut cream cake

Get the Recipe: Best Coconut Cream Cake

4.97 from 32 ratings
From-scratch coconut cream cake that's fluffy as a cloud with an airy coconut frosting and coated with grated coconut! Perfect for any occasion!
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 12 people

Ingredients
 

WHIPPED CREAM FROSTING

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • teaspoons coconut extract
  • 16 oz cream cheese (2 blocks, room temperature)
  • 3 cups Powdered sugar, sifted well
  • 24 oz frozen, grated coconut (thawed and pressed dry)

THE CAKE

  • cups All-purpose flour (spoon into the cup and level the top)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • teaspoons pure coconut extract
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup whole milk

Instructions
 

Let's make the frosting!

  • Add heavy whipping cream, vanilla extract, and coconut extract in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
    2 cups heavy whipping cream, cold, 2½ teaspoons coconut extract, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Mix until it becomes fluffy and can hold stiff peaks (about 2-3 minutes). Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream the cream cheese until smooth.
    16 oz cream cheese (2 blocks, room temperature)
  • Mix in powdered sugar gradually until combined.
    3 cups Powdered sugar, sifted well
  • Add the whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture by hand or with a mixer on low speed. (Be careful not to overmix, or the whipped cream will deflate)
  • Cover and chill until ready to use.

Let's make the cake!

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease the inside of 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with shortening and lightly dust with flour. Set aside.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
    2½ cups All-purpose flour (spoon into the cup and level the top), 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • In a large bowl, cream together butter, oil, and sugar.
    ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature, ½ cup vegetable oil, 2 cups granulated sugar
  • Mix in egg whites one at a time.
    4 egg whites
  • Mix in vanilla extract, coconut extract, almond extract, and sour cream.
    2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, 2½ teaspoons pure coconut extract, ¼ teaspoon almond extract, 1 cup sour cream
  • Mix dry ingredients with wet ingredients, alternating with the milk until all ingredients are combined.
    1 cup whole milk
  • Pour batter evenly into prepared pans (roughly 2 cups per pan)
  • Bake on the middle rack for 25 minutes. (may need a bit more or less time)
  • Let cakes cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Carefully remove the cakes from the pan (I like to run a knife lightly along the edges)and place them on a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Once the cakes are completely cooled, frost and stack the layers.
  • Cover the top and sides with coconut.
    24 oz frozen, grated coconut (thawed and pressed dry)
  • Store in an airtight cake container in the fridge.

Video

Cuisine: American, southern
Course: Dessert
Tried this recipe?Mention @divascancook on Instagram or tag #divascancook.