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Easy Coconut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

The best coconut cake ever, made in a 9x13, 2 round cake pans or a bundt pan! This versatile cake is perfect for birthdays, anniversaries, baby showers or Sunday dinner.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cake, coconut, coconut cake, dessert
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
cool time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings 12

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour* (270 grams) see recipe notes for humid conditions
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder(6 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (6 grams)* *baking soda weighs a bit more than baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (2.7 grams)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (226 grams) room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar (300 grams)
  • 3 eggs plus one white room temperature* see notes for humid conditions
  • 1 teaspoon coconut or vanilla extract (4.66 grams)
  • 1 cup unsweetened plain Greek yogurt (227 grams)
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut for cake batter (85 grams) I use Baker's sweetened coconut *see recipe notes
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut for sprinkling on top of frosted cake if desired. I preferred: 1 ½ cups large natural coconut shavings, toasted (127.5 grams)

frosting:

  • 4 oz cream cheese full fat (113 grams) not reduced calorie or light room temperature
  • 1/4 cup 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (113 grams) room temperrature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (4.66 grams)
  • pinch sea salt
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar (397.25 grams)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven.

  2. Grease and flour a 9x13 pan, a bundt pan, or two-9 inch round cake pans or line with parchment paper.

  3. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together and set aside.

  4. Crack 3 eggs plus one white into a bowl, discard extra egg yolk. Set aside.

  5. Beat butter and sugar with a mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy for 2-3 minutes.

  6. Add the room-temperature eggs, and additional egg white one at a time, allowing each egg yolk to blend into the butter mixture before adding the next. Mix in extract.

  7. Spoon in the unsweetened Greek yogurt, mixing until just incorporated.

  8. Add all dry ingredients to bowl including 1 cup of sweetened coconut, mixing just enough to evenly combine.

  9. Pour batter into the prepared pan(s).

  10. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C)

    35 minutes for a 9x13 pan, about 40-45 for a bundt pan, and approx 18-22 mintues for 9-inch round cake pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached or the top springs back when touched lightly. Let cool completely before frosting.

Toasting coconut:

  1. Place the coconut on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 350 degrees until golden. Let cool and place on top of cake immediatley after frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1. Mix cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add salt and powdered sugar a cup at a time until smooth. Beat for about 1 minute until frosting is smooth and fluffy. Use a spoon to mix frosting after beaten to remove any air bubbles before frosting cake. Folding a few times should remove air bubbles!

Recipe Notes

  • In humid environments (above 50% humidity) add 2 tablespoons flour and omit the extra egg white.
  • In Spain, I follow the high humidity instructions. I use 1 cup "Reposteria" flour in this recipe, and 1 1/4 cups Harina De Trigo (self rising flour) in Spain. You may use all Harina de Trigo as well. 
  • In the US, use 1 cup of traditional sweetened coconut (such as Baker's or a store brand). In Spain, they do not sell this type of coconut, so I use a dry coconut that is called "Coco Relado" which has the consistency of crumbs. 
  • For the coconut on top of the cake, I like to use a natural larger flake coconut.  This is found most often in the natural food section of the grocery store, or sometimes in the bulk food section. Trader Joe's also carries large flake unsweetened coconut. If you don't want to purchase an additional coconut for topping the cake use the same type used in the batter, toasted or right out of the bag. I do not recommend the larger natural flake coconut for the cake batter. It is too dry for the cake. 
  • Unsweetened coconut is not recommended for the cake batter. It tends to dry out when baked.
  • To frost the bundt as photographed, place the frosting in a pastry bag with a large round tip. Start in the center of the cake and pipe strips of frosting toward the outside of the bundt. Top with coconut immediately after frosting cake. 
  • This frosting contains cream cheese and should be refrigerated if storing overnight. 
  • When toasting the coconut, watch carefully, the coconut will toast in a few minutes and goes from golden to dark brown quickly!