This recipe for Coconut Cream Cake is so tender, and it is deliciously covered in Coconut Swiss Meringue Buttercream and beautifully toasted coconut.

You can make this cake for about $12.09. It makes sixteen servings which cost just $0.76 per serving.

For more Springtime cakes, I recommend this Cheesecake Factory Carrot Cake Cheesecake Copycat, this Strawberry Shortcake Roll Up Cake, and this Lemon Pistachio Bundt Cake

A slice taken out of the Coconut Cream Cake.

This Coconut Cream Cake is the best coconut layer cake you will ever taste! For real. The cake itself is so tender and rich, and the coconut buttercream isn’t overly sweet.

What really makes this Coconut Cream Cake the best is the coconut flavor. It’s not too overwhelming, and it’s not fake-tasting at all. This is all thanks to a combination of 3 coconut products: cream of coconut, coconut extract, and toasted coconut shreds.

I love placing this cake on a table near the dining room so my guests can see that something completely splendid is coming. Every time I make this cake I find myself writing out the recipe for folks. It could very well be my all-time favorite cake. It’s perfect for holidays like Easter, or Spring and Summer entertaining.

Is cream of coconut the same as coconut milk?

No, the two are not the same and should not be substituted in this recipe. Coconut cream is thicker than coconut milk. Coconut milk is similar to cow’s milk in regards to the liquid consistency. Cream of coconut is sweetened coconut cream.

What can you use instead of coconut cream?

If you do not have access to coconut cream, you can combine one cup of light cream with ¼ teaspoon of coconut extract.

What can you do with leftover coconut cream?

A few of my favorite ways to use leftover cream include first whipping it into a delicious whipped topping for a bowl of fruit. You can also add it to your favorite smoothie. Or you can make these Coconut Cupcakes!A fork digging into a piece of Coconut Cream Cake.

How to Make Coconut Cream Cake: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and spray two 9-inch round pans with cooking spray.
  2. Next, using a stand mixer, whip together the cake ingredients.
  3. Pour the batter evenly between the two pans. Bake for about 30 minutes.
  4. While the cakes are cooling, toast the shredded coconut on a baking sheet.
  5. Next, make the coconut buttercream in a stand mixer. Whisk the ingredients together.
  6. Finally, assemble the cake by frosting between the layers, on top, and on the sides. Sprinkle coconut flakes on top and lightly press them into the cake’s sides before slicing to serve. 

Make sure you check out the recipe video in the recipe card below!

Jump to Video

How Long is this Cake Good For:

SERVE: You can leave the Coconut Cream Cake at room temperature for about two hours before it needs to be refrigerated.

STORE: Leftover cake can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Bring the cake to room temperature before eating.

FREEZE: Wrap the cake or slices in two layers of plastic wrap and 1 layer of foil. Freeze for up to two months. Defrost at room temperature before serving.

Cook’s Tools:

  • 9-inch cake pans
  • cooling racks
  • baking sheet
  • small offset spatula
  • large offset spatula
  • Cake plate or cake stand (I have this one and it’s my favorite!)
  • Cake knife and server set

Ingredients and Cost:

Recipe cost: $12.09

Per Serving Cost: $0.76

NOTE: The recipe prices are calculated by using grocery store websites. The actual cost of the recipe will vary depending on what ingredients you already have.

  • 1 large egg – $0.10
  • 9 large egg whites – $0.45
  • 1 cup cream of coconut – $1.76
  • ¼ cup water – $0.00
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract – $1.36
  • 2 teaspoons coconut extract – $0.58
  • 5 ½ sticks butter (44 Tablespoons) – $4.40
  • 2 ¼ cups cake flour – $0.92
  • 2 cups granulated sugar – $0.46
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder – $0.45
  • ¾ teaspoon salt – $0.01
  • 2 cups shredded coconut – $1.60
All of the ingredients needed to make this Coconut Cream Cake recipe.

More Coconut Recipes:

These Coconut Cupcakes are basically the same recipe as this cake, but made in cupcake form! No Christmas or Easter is complete without these Coconut Macaroons! Paradise Cookies are packed with coconut, macadamia nuts, white chocolate, and lime zest. They basically taste like you’re on vacation! Coconut Rice is a delicious addition to barbecued meats and Asian main dishes.

A slice taken out of the Coconut Cream Cake.

More Spring Desserts:

A close up picture of Coconut Cream Cake.
5 from 11 votes

Best Ever Coconut Cream Cake

Author from America’s Test Kitchen
Recipe Cost $ $12.09
Serving Cost $ $0.76
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes
16 people
This Coconut Cream Cake is so tender and deliciously covered in Coconut Swiss Meringue Buttercream and beautifully toasted coconut.


  • 9-inch cake pans
  • cooling racks
  • baking sheet
  • small offset spatula
  • large offset spatula
  • cake plate OR cake stand
  • Cake knife and server set



  • 1 large egg
  • 5 large egg whites
  • ¾ cup cream of coconut
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 2 ¼ cups cake flour sifted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into 12 pieces, softened, but still cool
  • 2 cups packed sweetened shredded coconut about 8 ounces


  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • pinch table salt
  • 1 pound unsalted butter 4 sticks, each stick cut into 6 pieces, softened, but still cool
  • ¼ cup cream of coconut
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract



  • Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a large measuring cup add egg whites, whole egg, cream of coconut, water, vanilla, and coconut extract and beat with a fork until combined.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt for 30 seconds on the lowest setting. With mixer still running, add butter 1 piece at a time, and beat until mixture looks like coarse meal (butter pieces should be no bigger than small peas), about 2 minutes.
  • Keep mixer running and add 1 cup of liquid. Increase mixer speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and slowly pour in remaining 1 cup liquid. Turn off mixer and scrape down sides of the bowl, then beat on medium-high speed to combine, about 20-30 seconds. The batter will be deliciously thick.
  • Pour equal amounts of batter into prepared cake pans and level off with an offset spatula. Bake until deep golden brown, cake pulls away from sides of pans, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Do not turn off oven.
  • Move pans to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes in pans, then loosen cakes from pan, invert cakes onto cooling racks, then re-invert; cool to room temperature.
  • While cakes cool, spread shredded coconut onto a rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven until shreds are a mix of white and golden brown, about 15-20 minutes, stirring 2-3 times. Cool completely.


  • In a bowl of a stand mixer set over a saucepan with 2 inches of barely simmering water, whisk egg whites, sugar, and salt. Whisk constantly until mixture is opaque and warm to the touch and an instant-read thermometer registers 120 degrees, about 2 minutes.
  • Move the bowl to mixer and beat with the whisk attachment on high until whites are barely warm and they look glossy and sticky about 7 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-high and beat in butter 1 piece at a time. Stop mixer and scrape down sides of the bowl. Turn mixer to medium speed and beat in cream of coconut and coconut and vanilla extracts. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until well-combined, about 1 minute.


  • Place a dab of buttercream on cake plate or cake stand. Put 1 cake round on center of cake plate and place about 1 ½ cups of frosting on top. Spread buttercream in even layer using a large offset spatula. Place second cake round on top and frost sides and top of the cake. Sprinkle top of cake with coconut, then press coconut into the sides of cake moving from bottom to top of the cake. Let excess coconut fall back onto baking sheet.
  • Slice and serve!



  • You can find the cream of coconut near the drink mixes like Piña Colada or here on Amazon.
  • This recipe calls for cake flour. You can save some money by making your own. It’s super simple and you can found out in my post for Cake Flour!


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 594kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 26g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 189mg | Potassium: 176mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 43g | Vitamin A: 990IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 0.5mg

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Recipe Rating


  1. Mark, Compass & Fork says:

    Great looking coconut cream cake. I love your idea of placing in plain sight so guests can get all excited about what is coming.

    1. It’s one of my favorite things to do when entertaining. 🙂

  2. I’m hungry just reading this! It looks and sounds absolutely delicious — can’t wait to try some. 🙂

  3. | Krystallia Giamouridou says:

    I am a big fan of coconut, and your cake is ideal for our Easter lunch menu. Maybe I will add some chocolate eggs on top to make it more festive… I can tell by the images that your recipe is so delicious, fluffy and light! Thank you Jillian for sharing this recipe

    1. Adding the chocolate eggs would be perfect!

  4. Amanda | Chew Town says:

    I’m loving the use of cream of coconut, coconut extract, and toasted coconut. I was skeptical at first reading “best ever” but with those three natural and delicious ingredients – with no artificial coconut flavourings – you might just be right!

    1. I think you’ll love this cake!

  5. I’ve made a coconut cream pie before, but never a coconut cream cake! This sounds amazingly delicious and I can’t wait to try out this recipe – thanks for sharing!!

  6. Your cake looks amazing and I am excited to try it! Just double checking-it really does take a whole pound of butter in the frosting?

    1. Hi Jeannie,

      Yes, this cake really does take a whole pound of butter in the frosting! It’s super decadent, but oh so good! Eat nothing but carrots the day you serve this and the calories should all balance out. 😉

  7. HELP!! Am just about to make this for Easter dessert tomorrow. The ingredients list calls for 1 T Baking POWDER, but in the instructions it says to mix in Baking SODA. Can you confirm which one I should be using? It looks like a super receipt, and I don’t want it to fail. Thanks!

    1. Hi Helen!
      You use baking POWDER for this recipe, and 1 tablespoon is the correct amount. Thank you SO much for catching my mistake, and enjoy the cake! 🙂

  8. HELP, I am making this cake but the icing is not combining together after the additions of butter. It really looks curdy, I don’t know how to save it.

    1. Hi Susan,
      Swiss Meringue Buttercream is a little tricky sometimes. Sometimes it comes together quickly, and sometimes I have to beat it for longer than 7 minutes. Without knowing everything, my gut is saying you need to beat it for longer.
      To help troubleshoot, did you heat the egg whites, sugar and salt to 120 degrees?
      Also, was your butter softened but still cool? Did you add the butter in 1 piece at a time?

  9. I made this and the cake came out great, but the frosting was a fail. I followed the recipe to a T and even attempted a second time after my first batch turned into a clumpy, curdy mess. I ended up making my own butter cream icing and added some coconut milk to thin it out a bit. Turned out pretty good.

    1. Hi Emily, I’m sorry to hear about your frosting debacle. Swiss meringue buttercream can be a little temperamental. When making this icing it’s crucial that your butter is softened, but still cool. If it’s room temperature you’ll end up with a soupy mess.

  10. Heather Olsen says:

    I looked at two stores for Coconut Extract. Is there anything I could substitute? I am making this tomorrow, and not sure how it will turn out now!

    1. Hi Heather,
      Coconut extract is crucial to the flavor of this cake. While you do get some coconut flavor from the cream of coconut, it alone doesn’t provide enough of a coconut punch. Have you tried looking for coconut extract at Walmart? They usually have a good selection of extracts.

  11. Ashley F. says:

    I just made this recipe but in cupcake form. They turned out great and tasted amazing!! My husband couldn’t get enough. I’ll be bringing these to Easter lunch. Can’t wait to see what’s the rest of my family think. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

    1. Yay, I’m so glad you liked it! It’s literally my favorite cake ever. Thanks for stopping by to let me know, and happy Easter!

  12. Hi Jillian!

    Planning on making this cake this weekend. May be a stupid question but how long do you allow the butter to soften yet still remain cool? I want to make sure I’m following all of the steps correctly for the frosting.


    1. Hi Lauren,

      Great question! I literally just made this cake for Easter dinner and had your question in mind while making it. My kitchen was 75-76 degrees F and it took 40 minutes for the butter to be soften but still cool. Keep this in mind when you prep the rest of the buttercream, because you bring water to a simmer on the stove top, whisk the egg whites for 2 minutes, and then whip the egg whites in a stand mixer for 7 minutes before adding the butter. I hope this helps!
      Happy baking and happy Easter! 🙂

  13. This recipe made WAY too much frosting! I feel like I’ve wasted half a pound of butter. I will make a half recipe next time!

  14. I don’t have stand mixer will a hand mixer work

    1. Yes! A hand mixer will work, too. Just make sure you scrape down the bowl lots when you are making the cake batter.

  15. Rhoda Phillips says:

    I have tried several other recipes for coconut Cake, but I have to say: by far this is the best ever recipe. It was the top layer to a 50th anniversary cake for 125 people. Only complaint was, the other layers weren’t your Best Ever Coconut Cream Cake! A perfect balance of flavor. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Rhonda, this comment completely made my day! I’m so glad that this cake was a bit! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  16. Bintu | Budget Delicious says:

    Coconut is one of my favourite flavours so this sounds like my dream cake! It looks so delicious and indulgent.

  17. This cake looks so fluffy! I love coconut so I can’t wait to try this out for our next family member’s birthday!

  18. What a lovely cake. Coconut is one of my favorites. Thank you for the great recipe!

  19. This is really good!! I love the creaminess of coconut! So yummy!

  20. I Made this cake for my Favorite Physician. He said it was Delicious!!

    1. Dayna Jankowski says:

      Thank you for sharing!