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Fluffy Coconut Cake

by Nick Makrides
A top down shot of a coconut cake with slices taken out of it

This soft and fluffy Coconut cake is a real crowd pleaser! It’s one of those recipes you come back to time and time again. Each layer is made of a soft and fluffy coconut vanilla cake sandwiched between fluffy cream cheese frosting and coated in shredded coconut. It’s not an overly sweet cake, it’s all about flavour.

Close up of sliced up coconut cake

My favourite thing about this Fluffy Coconut Cake

I love how soft and moist this cake is. And it’s the perfect make ahead of time cake because it’s even better the next day! The cream cheese frosting is nothing to sneeze at either. It’s so creamy and that’s because of my secret ingredient, milk powder!

a slice of coconut cake coming out of an entire cake.

What does it taste like?

The star of the show here is coconut! It’s in the cake as coconut milk and on the outside of the cake too. The cream cheese frosting is not overly sweet, it’s creamy and fluffy!

A slice of coconut cake on a cake spatula

The ingredients you’ll need to make this Coconut Cake are simple!

Ingredients image for Coconut Cake

Cake flour – this is a low gluten flour and when used in cakes, results in a soft delicate cake. To make your own cake flour, simply take out 2 tbsp of all-purpose flour from each cup of flour and replace with 2 tbsp of corn flour, also known as corn starch. Sift together twice to aerate the flour mixture.

Salt – I used fine salt.

Baking powder – helps your cake sponge rise.

Butter – I used unsalted butter for the cake and frosting. Make sure it is softened for both.

Caster sugar – also known as superfine sugar.

Vanilla ExtractAlways use good quality vanilla extract when baking, it makes a huge difference. I have a great recipe here for it if you’d like to try your own!

Caned coconut milk – this will make your cake really moist and add loads of coconut flavor. If you don’t have it, you can use any type of plant-based carton milk with 1 tsp coconut extract.

Vegetable oil – or sunflower oil.

Eggs – you want to separate your eggs. Make sure you don’t get any yolks in your whites.

Cream of tartar – This will help stabilize your egg whites and help them fluff up better. If you don’t have cream of tartar, you can use 1/4 tsp fresh lemon juice or white vinegar.

Shredded coconut – desiccated coconut will also work.

Cream cheese – make sure your cream cheese is chilled. And no, low-fat cream cheese will not work!

Milk powder – you can use skim or full fat milk powder. The milk powder does two things in the frosting. It makes it super creamy and stabilizes it so it can support the weight of the cake.

Powdered sugar – also known as icing sugar.

Let’s go through each step.

Instructional image for Fluffy Coconut Cake 01

  1. Preheat your oven to 175C / 350F. Spray the bottom of three 8-inch cake tins with oil spray and line with baking paper. Set aside. To a large bowl, add the cake flour, salt and baking powder. Use a whisk to combine. Set aside.
  2. To a separate bowl, add the butter, sugar and vanilla extract. Use an electric hand mixer to whip until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Instructional image for Fluffy Coconut Cake 02

  1. Add the coconut milk and vegetable oil, and mix on low speed to begin with then up to medium high speed until well combined.
  2. Add the dry ingredients and mix until a batter forms.

Instructional image for Fluffy Coconut Cake 03

  1. To a separate large mixing bowl add the egg whites and use clean beaters to whip for 10 seconds until frothy.
  2. Add the cream of tartar and whip until soft peaks form.

Instructional image for Fluffy Coconut Cake 04

  1. While the mixer is on high speed, add the sugar a little at a time. Once all the sugar is In there, continue whipping for 2 minute
  2. Until stiff glossy peaks form.

Instructional image for Fluffy Coconut Cake 05

  1. Add the egg yolks and use a spatula to fold through.
  2. Next, add half the egg mixture to the batter and fold through until well combined. Add the remaining egg mixture and repeat.

Instructional image for Fluffy Coconut Cake 06

  1. Split the batter between the three cake tins and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean Once baked, allow to cool in the cake tins

Cream cheese frosting

Instructional image for Fluffy Coconut Cake 07

  1. Add the softened butter and cream cheese to a large mixing bowl and use an electric hand mixer to whip on high medium speed until well combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
  2. Add the milk powder, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Turn the beater to low speed and mix until no dry ingredients are showing. Then turn up to high speed and continue beating until frosting is fluffy and pale, about 5 minutes.

To Assemble

Instructional image for Fluffy Coconut Cake 08

  1. Carefully run a knife around each cake tin to loosen the cakes of needed.
  2. Place your serving plate on a cake turntable if you have one. Add a dab of frosting on your serving plate. Add the first layer of cake.

Instructional image for Fluffy Coconut Cake 09

  1. Next, add 1/4 of the frosting on top of the cake and use a spatula to smoothen out flat.
  2. Add the next layer of cake and repeat until you put on the third layer of cake.

Instructional image for Fluffy Coconut Cake 10

  1. Pipe frosting around the sides of the cake and smoothen out.
  2. Add a baking tray underneath the cake turntable.

Instructional image for Fluffy Coconut Cake 11

  1. Use your hands to stick the shredded coconut on the top and sides of the cake.
  2. Slice and serve.

A slice of coconut cake that is fluffy with forkfull taken out

My Top Tips!

Storage

This cake can be stored in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to three days.

To make your own cake flour

Cake flour gives cake a nice light and fluffy texture and is lower in gluten. To make your own cake flour, simply take out 2 tbsp of all-purpose flour from each cup of flour and replace with 2 tbsp of corn flour, also known as corn starch. Sift together twice to aerate the flour mixture.

Canned coconut milk

This will make your cake really moist and add loads of coconut flavor. If you don’t have it, you can use any type of plant-based carton milk with 1 tsp coconut extract.

Cream of tartar

This will help stabilize your egg whites and help them fluff up better. If you don’t have cream of tartar, you can use 1/4 tsp fresh lemon juice or white vinegar.

Frosting

When making the frosting, make sure the cream cheese is cold, straight out of the fridge and the butter is softened. The butter needs to be softened so that it can be aerate and making the frosting fluffy, and if the cream cheese is too soft, the frosting will not be able to hold it’s shape.

Make sure you whip the frosting on high speed. The only time you mix on low is right after the milk powder and powdered sugar in. Once there are no dry ingredients showing, whip that bad boy/girl up to high speed again!

When folding the batter

Make sure you fold through carefully and slowly otherwise you risk deflating your beautiful egg whites.

When adding the shredded coconut

Place a baking tray under your cake turntable to collect excess coconut.

Extreme close ups of a layered coconut cake

Other Recipes You Might Like!

Lamington Cake

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Following me on my social pipes is the best way to keep up to with my daily kitchen adventures!

Instagram

@thescranline – for my desserts

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Youtube

The Scran Line – for my full dessert videos with voice over instructions.

The Scran Line Everyday – for my savory recipes with full voice walk throughs!

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So much fun happening here and it’s a great community to be a part of!

Make sure you leave a comment down bellow if you try this recipe, or just say hello! I’d love to hear from you! I’ll see you all on the following recipe!

N x

Pinterest image for Fluffy Coconut Cake

A slice of coconut cake with gold fork on a white plate

Fluffy Coconut Cake

Serves 10

5 from 7 votes
Prep Time: 40 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 2 hrs
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Cake

  • 3 cups cake flour see notes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 2 cups caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups canned coconut milk see notes
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 5 eggs divided
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar see notes
  • 2 cups shredded coconut

Frosting

  • 2 cups unsalted butter softened
  • 2 cups cream cheese chilled
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk powder
  • 2 cups powdered sugar


Instructions

Cake

  • Preheat your oven to 175C / 350F. Spray the bottom of three 8-inch cake tins with oil spray and line with baking paper. Set aside.
  • To a large bowl, add the cake flour, salt and baking powder. Use a whisk to combine. Set aside.
  • To a separate bowl, add the butter, 1 1/3 cups of the caster sugar and vanilla extract. Use an electric hand mixer to whip until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the coconut milk and vegetable oil, and mix on low speed to begin with then up to medium high speed until well combined.
  • Add the dry ingredients and mix until a batter forms.
  • To a separate large mixing bowl add the egg whites and use clean beaters to whip for 10 seconds until frothy. Add the cream of tartar and whip until soft peaks form. While the mixer is on high speed, add the remaining 2/3 cup of caster sugar a little at a time. Once all the sugar is In there, continue whipping for 2 minutes until stiff glossy peaks form.
  • Add the egg yolks and use a spatula to fold through.
  • Add half the egg mixture to the batter and fold through until well combined. Add the remaining egg mixture and repeat.
  • Split the batter between the three cake tins and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean Once baked, allow to cool in the cake tins

Cream cheese frosting

  • Add the softened butter and cream cheese to a large mixing bowl and use an electric hand mixer to whip on high medium speed until well combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
  • Add the milk powder, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Turn the beater to low speed and mix until no dry ingredients are showing. Then turn up to high speed and continue beating until frosting is fluffy and pale, about 5 minutes.

To Assemble

  • Carefully run a knife around each cake tin to loosen the cakes of needed. Place your serving plate on a cake turntable if you have one. Add a dab of frosting on your serving plate and add the first layer of cake. Add 1/4 of the frosting on top of the cake and use a spatula to smoothen out flat. Add the next layer of cake and repeat until you put on the third layer of cake.
  • Pipe frosting around the sides of the cake and smoothen out.
  • Add a baking tray underneath the cake turntable. Use your hands to stick the shredded coconut on the top and sides of the cake. Slice and serve.

Notes

Storage
This cake can be stored in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to three days.
To make your own cake flour
Cake flour gives cake a nice light and fluffy texture and is lower in gluten. To make your own cake flour, simply take out 2 tbsp of all-purpose flour from each cup of flour and replace with 2 tbsp of corn flour, also known as corn starch. Sift together twice to aerate the flour mixture.
Canned coconut milk
This will make your cake really moist and add loads of coconut flavor. If you don’t have it, you can use any type of plant-based carton milk with 1 tsp coconut extract.
Cream of tartar
This will help stabilize your egg whites and help them fluff up better. If you don’t have cream of tartar, you can use 1/4 tsp fresh lemon juice or white vinegar.

Nutrition

Calories : 154kcal
Carbonhydrates: 6g
Protein: 3g
Fat: 2g
Saturated Fat: 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g
Monounsaturated Fat : 1g
Trans Fat : 1g
Cholesterol: 82mg
Sodium: 395mg
Potassium : 106mg
Fiber: 1g
Sugar : 5g
Vitamin A: 119IU
Calcium: 88mg
Iron: 1mg
Nutrition Disclosure

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7 comments

Nick Makrides February 12, 2022 - 9:24 pm

5 stars
Hope you guys love this recipe! N x

Reply
Bianca April 16, 2022 - 10:36 pm

5 stars
I’ve made this cake twice and the family loves it! Super easy with great pay off.

Reply
Nick Makrides April 26, 2022 - 12:35 pm

That’s so lovely to hear Bianca! N x

Reply
Tisha April 22, 2022 - 7:13 am

Hey Nick, wanted to know the size of the cake tins.

Reply
Nick Makrides April 26, 2022 - 12:32 pm

Hi Tisha! It’s 8-inch cake tins 🙂 N x

Reply
Sheri April 22, 2022 - 3:26 pm

I think it’s lovely cake I needs the exactly the weight not a cup and if I don’t have a cream cheese??
Thanks for you time

Sheri

Reply
Nick Makrides April 26, 2022 - 12:31 pm

Hi Sheri! Theres a little button at the bottom of the recipe ingredients that says metric. Click on that and it will show you the metric measurements 🙂 You coming now use buttercream frosting with coconut favouring instead of cream cheese frosting if you like 🙂 N x

Reply

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