I’ve been on a coconut kick lately. I’m hooked on coconut water and obsessed with coconut jam. Naturally, I love coconut cake. This recipe is an adapted version of Ina Garten’s coconut cake recipe, which of course is amazing. I’ve made it many times and it’s always a hit. As much as I love coconut, I actually don’t really like the texture of sweetened shredded coconut so I’ve omitted it from the batter and instead brushed the layers of cake with a reduced coconut glaze. And lastly, this recipe calls for a cream cheese frosting, which is my absolute favorite.

coconut cake

Ingredients (cake):

  • 3 sticks (3/4 pound) of unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pans
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 5 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of pure almond extract
  • 3 cups of all purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pans
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1 cup of milk

Coconut glaze

  • 1 1/2 cups of coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup of sugar


  • 1 pound of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 sticks (1/2 pound) of butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pure almond extract
  • 2 cups of confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 1/2 cups of coconut flakes

coconut cake 2

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with the rack positioned in the middle. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans with butter and dust lightly with flour. I used non-stick pans, but if you’re using regular pans, line with parchment paper. In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 3-5 minutes, until light yellow and fluffy. Crack eggs into a small bowl and with mixer on medium speed, add eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl once during mixing.  Add vanilla and almond extracts and mix well. The mixture might look curdled, don’t be concerned.

coconut cake 3

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk to the batter in three parts, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.  Mix until just combined.

coconut cake 4

Pour batter evenly into two greased pans and smooth the top with a knife. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until tops are browned and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on baking rack for 30 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a baking rack to finish cooling.

coconut cake 5

For the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and almond extract on low speed. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until just smooth.

coconut cake 8

To make the glaze, heat the coconut milk and sugar over high heat until it begins to boil stirring occasionally. Lower heat and continue to simmer until it has reduced to about half or for about 10 minutes. When ready to assemble, trim the top of one layer of cake so it is even and flat (and consume scraps!).  Lay the bottom layer cut side down and pierce several times with a knife and brush with coconut glaze several times.

coconut cake 6

Spread the bottom layer with frosting. Place the second layer on top, top side up, and pierce the surface with a knife and brush with the coconut glaze. Frost the top and sides.

coconut cake 9

To decorate the cake, sprinkle the top with coconut shreds and serve at room temperature.

coconut cake

Top with adorable DIY bunting . . .

DIY Bunting Cake Topper
I’ve been collecting colorful washi tape for awhile, never with a specific project in mind but simply because it’s just so delightfully pretty. So when I decided to make a cake (and pancake stack) topper […]


And treat yourself to a slice!


 (all images by HonestlyYUM and recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa)