southern coconut cake made with toasted coconut and coconut cream cheese frosting

Southern Coconut Cake

A delicious southern-style toasted coconut cake with coconut cream cheese frosting. This recipe makes enough for two or three 8" cake layers.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cake, coconut, coconut cake
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 24 servings
Calories 407 kcal


Coconut Cake Ingredients

  • 11 oz AP flour (all purpose)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 oz unsalted butter room temperature
  • 14 oz granulated sugar
  • 4 oz canola oil
  • 5 large egg yolks room temperature
  • 5 large egg whites room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp coconut extract
  • 8 oz buttermilk room temperature
  • 6 oz sweetened flaked coconut toasted until lightly browned

Southern Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese full fat and softened
  • 4 oz unsalted butter softened
  • 3 Tbsp coconut milk or regular milk
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 16 oz powdered sugar sifted
  • 6 oz sweetened flaked coconut Toasted until lightly browned
US Customary - Metric


Coconut Cake Instructions

  1. NOTE: It is SUPER IMPORTANT that all the room temperature ingredients listed above are room temperature and not cold so that the ingredients mix and incorporate correctly. 

  2. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 350ºF/176ºC.

  3. Grease three 8" cake pans with cake goop or pan preparation of choice

  4. Place egg whites in a mixing bowl with the whip attachment. Whip on med-high. Add in cream of tartar. Whip until firm but moist peaks form. Set aside

  5. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside. 

  6. Add butter to stand mixer with the paddle attachment and beat at medium-high speed until smooth and shiny, about 30 seconds. Gradually sprinkle in the sugar and add the oil, beat until mixture is fluffy and almost white, about 3-5 minutes.

  7. Add egg yolks, one at a time to the mixture, beating well after each until combined.

  8. Add the coconut and vanilla extracts to your milk

  9. With the mixer at the lowest speed, add about a third of the dry ingredients to the batter, followed immediately by about a third of the milk, mix until ingredients are almost incorporated into the batter. Repeat the process 2 more times. When the batter appears blended, stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Fold in the toasted coconut.

  10. Fold in your whipped egg whites gently.

  11. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Smooth the tops with a rubber spatula. Bake cakes until they feel firm in the center and a toothpick comes out clean or with just a few crumbs on it, about 25-30 minutes.

  12. Transfer pans to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto the rack and pop cakes out of pans. Cool completely before frosting.

Southern coconut cream cheese frosting

  1. Beat cream cheese with hand mixer or whisk attachment on stand mixer until smooth. Add in butter and continue whisking until smooth and combined.

  2. Add in milk and extracts and whisk to combine

  3. Gradually add in powdered sugar one cup at a time until smooth and creamy.

  4. Frost cooled cake with frosting and coat the outside with toasted coconut.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Watch this video on how to make the yummiest toasted coconut cake ever!

Nutrition Facts
Southern Coconut Cake
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 407 Calories from Fat 198
% Daily Value*
Fat 22g34%
Saturated Fat 13g65%
Cholesterol 69mg23%
Sodium 162mg7%
Potassium 143mg4%
Carbohydrates 50g17%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 38g42%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 415IU8%
Vitamin C 0.1mg0%
Calcium 31mg3%
Iron 1.3mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.