Coconut Cake
A simple to make cake that looks as good as it tastes.
Classic Coconut Cake
Serves 8-10


  • Unsalted butter, for greasing pans
  • 2 ¼ cups ap flour
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 tsp. Baking powder
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsp. Coconut extract
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla extract

Coconut-Cream Frosting:

  • 3 ½ cups cold heavy cream
  • 7 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 3-4 cups coconut, either freshly grated, or sweetened shredded coconut


  1. Heat oven to 325°. Grease three 9″ cake pans with butter and line with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. Whisk flour, desiccated coconut, baking powder, and salt in a bowl; set aside.
  3. Place sugar and egg yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment; beat until aerated and light. Add oil, coconut milk, buttermilk, coconut and vanilla extracts; mix until combined. With the motor running, slowly add dry ingredients until batter forms; transfer batter to a bowl and set aside.
  4. Clean stand mixer bowl and add egg whites; replace paddle with whisk attachment. Whip whites until soft peaks form; fold into cake batter.
  5. Divide batter between prepared pans, smoothing tops with a rubber spatula; drop pans lightly on a counter to expel large air bubbles. Bake until a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cakes cool for 20 minutes in pans; invert onto wire racks and let cool.
  6. To make the frosting, in a large bowl, beat the cream with a mixer at high speed until it swells into thick clouds and holds a soft peak when you lift up the beaters. Sprinkle on the confectioners’ sugar, and continue beating, scraping the bowl often, until the cream is thick and very firm, but still velvety smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. Ice the cake at once, or cover the bowl and chill it until it’s time to complete the cake.
  7. Assemble the cake: place one cake layer on a cake stand and spread whipped cream over cake; sprinkle with ¼ cup coconut. Repeat with second layer. Place remaining layer on top; cover top and sides with remaining whipped cream and cover outside of cake with remaining coconut, pressing lightly to adhere. Chill cake 30 minutes to firm whipped cream; serve chilled or at room temperature.

Recipe by Dan Kohler, adapted from Thomas Keller 4/14/2021