Coconut Cake

Our contributor, Tessa Huff, is back today with a lovely new cake recipe….

Coconut usually reminds us white-sand beaches and flavor combinations boosting pineapple and mango.  With such beautiful textures and versatile flavors, I vow not to limit coconut to only tropical palettes ever again.

Coconut Cake Recipe | by Tessa Huff for

Old-fashion coconut cake is a quintessential Southern treat.  There is something nostalgic about a big slice of velvety butter cake and rich cream cheese frosting.  The fluffy flakes and creamy flavors are like comfort food, but for dessert.  The rustic finish can be dressed-down for a weekday indulgent or dressed-up with fresh florals for a spring shower or Easter celebration.  This is the type of cake I can imagine being shared on a sunny patio with sweet tea and great friends.

Coconut Cake Recipe | by Tessa Huff for

For Spring, I wanted to create a whimsical yet classic coconut cake.  I developed a velvety butter cake made with rich coconut milk and paired with classic coconut cream cheese frosting.  The tangy red raspberry filling added just the right amount of sweetness and vibrance to the creamy cake.  I chose the largest flakes I could find and left them un-toasted for a light-as-a-feather look.  The two-tiers of heavenly flakes make for a gorgeous center piece for any dessert or brunch spread.

Coconut Cake Recipe | by Tessa Huff for

Coconut Cake Recipe | by Tessa Huff for

Coconut Cake Recipe | by Tessa Huff for

Coconut Cake Recipe | by Tessa Huff for

a recipe by Tessa Huff

For the Coconut Cake:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 cups sugar
3 whole eggs + 3 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon coconut extract
3 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup whole milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare 3 x 6 inch cake pans and an 8 inch square cake pan and set aside.
  2.  Sift together the dry ingredients and set aside.
  3.  Place the butter and coconut oil in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Beat until combined with a paddle attachment.
  4. Add sugar and mix on medium-high until light and fluffy.
  5.  Turn mixer to medium-low and add in the eggs, egg whites, vanilla bean paste, and coconut extract.
  6. Stop mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  7.  In alternating batches, add in the dry ingredients and milks – starting and ending with the dry ingredients.  Mix until just combined.
  8.  Pour batter into prepared pans.  Bake until done (about 22-24 minutes).


For the Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup cream cheese
3 1/2 – 4 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
2-4 tablespoons coconut milk or cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Mix butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until lightened.  Slowly add in the remaining ingredients.  Mix on medium speed until creamy.  Add more or less sugar and milk until desired consistency.


To Assemble Cake:

Coconut Cake
Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
Raspberry Fruit Preserves
Coconut Flakes

STEP 1 :  De-pan cakes from the 6 inch pans.  Trim to level.

STEP 2 :  Run a knife around the edges of the square cake pan and un-mold cake onto a cutting board.  Use a 3-4 inch cake ring to cut out three cake layers.

STEP 3 :  Place cream cheese frosting in a piping bag fitted with a plain, round piping tip.  Place a 6 inch round cake on a cake board or cake stand.  Pipe a frosting dam around the top edge of the cake.  Fill in with the raspberry preserves.  Top with second layer of cake and repeat.  Ice the 6 inch cake with cream cheese frosting.  Cover cake with coconut flakes.  NOTE: No need to worry about icing the cake perfectly since the sides will be covered with coconut flakes.

STEP 4 :  Repeat with the mini cake layers.  Ice and cover with coconut flakes before carefully transferring cake on to of the 6 inch round cake.  Decorate with fresh flowers.

NOTE :  To serve, remove the top tier with an off-set spatula before slicing.

Coconut Cake Recipe | by Tessa Huff for

Coconut Cake Recipe | by Tessa Huff for


My Raspberry Earl Grey Cake
My Lemon Meringue Cake
My Orange Creamsicle Cake
My Banana Choco Hazelnut Cake
My Rose Buttercream Cake


Tessa Huff is a professional cake designer and lover of all things art and design. She particularly enjoys creating edible decorations, sugar flowers, and unique flavor pairings with fresh, seasonal flavors. Read more about Tessa on her bio page.


  1. 4

    Christina says

    This sounds like my kind of cake. I buy roasted coconut as a snack, so I might just use it in place of the other.
    BTW, I love the plates.

  2. 6


    I made this over the weekend and it was TO DIE FOR. I used lemon curd instead of the raspberry filling, and it paired perfectly together. This recipe is definitely a go to from now on!

  3. 8

    Cin says

    Why does it ask for an 8inch square pan? Is the one in the picture a 9inch round under the 6inch?

    • 9


      The cake is slightly smaller than that. It’s a 6″ base with a 4″ round on top. Tessa has you bake off the cake for the top layer as an 8 inch square. Then in the assembly steps, you use a 4″ round cutter to cut out three layers for the tiny top tier.

      Hope that helps to clear things up!

  4. 11

    Nicole says

    Where can I find large coconut shaving like this instead of the small flakes sold at most stores?

  5. 12

    Staci says

    For the coconut milk you mean unsweetened from a can..right? I’m sure this is a silly question but I’m quite the novice.

  6. 13

    Jennifer says

    Hi. I’ve made this cake already. It’s delish. I couldn’t find large flakes. Can I ask where you found them? Also, would you suggest other favors of preserves like strawberry, pineapple? I guess anything that would compliment the coconut? Thank you for any help. Jen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>