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Toasted Coconut Cake Recipe

Toasted coconut is one of my favorite flavors, and a fantastic way to make use of that is by completely covering an entire cake with it. This toasted coconut cake is flavored with coconut milk too, to really kick it up a bit. 

Toasted Coconut Cake

Toasted Coconut Cake Recipe

Up until about a year ago, I wouldn’t have cared if there was any coconut left on the planet. I just did not enjoy it. I’m not really sure why exactly, but I think it had something to do with the fact that I hadn’t had it toasted to a golden, crunchy perfection before. That’s where the good stuff is, it turns out.

I still can take it or leave it in its regular state (no Mounds or Almond Joy bars for me please!), but this cake? It is ALL take.

It was pretty easy to put together, in typical cake fashion. Not quite as easy as a boxed mix, but also not as temperamental as an angel food cake either.

This coconut cake is the best of all the worlds. Coconut flavor in the cake and the icing, and maintains all of the tender, moist crumb that you love in cake.

Get all of my easy dessert recipes here!

Homemade Toasted Coconut Cake-6

Toasted Coconut Cake Shopping List

Wondering if you have to hit the store? Here’s the list of items you’ll need to make this recipe. For specific amounts, please refer to the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  • salted butter
  • sugar
  • eggs
  • pure vanilla extract
  • all-purpose flour
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • coconut milk
  • sweetened shredded coconut
  • cream cheese
  • unsalted butter
  • vanilla extract
  • powdered sugar
  • sweetened shredded toasted coconut

Try our Coconut Shrimp too!

Moist, tender, made-from-scratch coconut cake.

How do you make the coconut stick to the sides of the cake?

I’d say the fussiest part about this was getting the coconut to stick to the sides of the cake when it was done! That was quite the mess. If anyone has any tricks for that, I’m all ears!

Take this to your next BBQ along with some Smoked Pulled Pork!

Moist, tender, made-from-scratch coconut cake.

Where can you bring a cake like this?

This is a great cake to bring to a potluck or party. I took it to my office with a note asking for ANY and ALL feedback, and got some pretty great remarks. One person even said that typically they aren’t a ‘fan’ of coconut, but quite enjoyed this particular cake.

Love Coconut? You’ll really love our Pina Colada!

Moist, tender, made-from-scratch coconut cake.

Can you make this a 4-layer cake instead of a 2-layer cake?

You can do a more traditional layering if you’d like by slicing the cakes in half and adding icing in-between those layers as well if you’d like. I tend to prefer thicker cake to frosting ratios, so generally leave my cakes whole.

Our Quadruple Chocolate Layer Cake is just as good!

Homemade Toasted Coconut Cake

Toasted Coconut Cake
Yield: 12 servings

Toasted Coconut Cake

Toasted Coconut Cake

Moist, tender cake packed with coconut flavor. This made-from-scratch cake is one of my favorite cakes to make in the spring and summer!

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes



  • 3 sticks salted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut


  • 1 pound cream cheese, softened
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pound powdered sugar, sifted
  • 6 ounces sweetened shredded toasted coconut *see notes



  1. Preheat your oven to 350. Prepare two 9-inch round cake pans by spraying liberally with baking spray, lining the bottom with a parchment round, and then lightly spraying the parchment round with baking spray as well. Set aside.
  2. Place the butter and sugar into a mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until lightened in color and creamed, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well between each addition. Add the vanilla and the shredded coconut and mix until combined. The mixture might appear curdled at this point. No worries! It is supposed to look like that.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Alternate adding in the flour mixture and the coconut milk until it is all added and combined. Don't over-mix!
  4. Pour into cake pans and place on the middle rack. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a tester comes out with moist crumbs. ALWAYS start checking any cake recipe about 10 minutes prior to the listed baking time. Oven temps vary!
  5. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes. Invert onto cooling racks.


  1. Beat together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Add in the sifted powdered sugar and beat until combined.
  2. Place a thick layer on top of the 1st cake, place 2nd cake on top.
  3. Put 1/2 of the remaining icing on top of the cake and spread evenly. Spread the remaining half on the sides of the cake.
  4. Press the coconut onto all sides of the cake, and serve!


I found it a get the coconut to stick to the cake. I kind of threw it at it, and when that didn't work, started using my hands and gently pressing it into the cake. Your mileage may vary, but the end result is worth the mess!

This coconut cake is adapted from the fabulous Ina Garten via The Food Network.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1039Total Fat: 64gSaturated Fat: 42gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 217mgSodium: 497mgCarbohydrates: 110gFiber: 3gSugar: 81gProtein: 10g

Nutrition data provided here is only an estimate. If you are tracking these things for medical purposes please consult an outside, trusted source. Thanks!

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Nicole Johnson

Nicole Johnson, a self-taught expert in grilling and outdoor cooking, launched Or Whatever You Do in 2010. Her blog, renowned for its comprehensive and creative outdoor cooking recipes, has garnered a vast audience of millions. Nicole's hands-on experience and passion for grilling shine through her work. Her husband, Jeremiah Johnson, also plays a pivotal role in recipe development, adding his culinary flair to the mix. Together, they form a dynamic duo, offering a rich and varied outdoor cooking experience to their followers.


Friday 17th of March 2023

I can’t remember the last time I baked, this recipe was easy and left the house smelling wonderful. The icing was simple and delicious this treat hit the spot. I will make it again.

Nicole Johnson

Friday 17th of March 2023

Thanks, Marc! I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

Melissa Barton

Wednesday 4th of January 2023

Ok this is a toasted coconut cake but nothing is said about how you toast the coconut. This is my delima on making this cake. I am wanting to make it for my momma who has been wanting an old fashion toasted coconut cake for years.

Nicole Johnson

Wednesday 4th of January 2023

That is a very good point, and one that I can't believe took so long to have pointed out. I'll add this to the post as well, but to toast the coconut, just put it in a dry non-stick pan over medium-low heat, and stir it frequently until it is golden brown. Super simple, but very important step to leave out! Thanks for bringing this to my attention!

Sonya G

Thursday 10th of November 2022

I was wondering if the coconut milk is the canned version or the liquid carton type. Thank you!

Nicole Johnson

Thursday 10th of November 2022

I used the canned type. Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday 29th of June 2019

The recipe lists shredded coconut in the frosting and cake but does not say anything about it in the cake instructions.


Sunday 16th of August 2020

@Nicole Johnson, I have the same confusion as Audra. It says you need 4 ounces for the cake and 6 ounces for the icing, but there are only instructions to add the coconut to the icing. Is this a typo? Is coconut supposed to go in the cake as well or just the icing? Your pics look so good, I want to try making this for my husband's birthday! :)

Nicole Johnson

Sunday 30th of June 2019

Hi Audra! It is pressed onto the side of the cake in the last step of the icing instructions: 4.Press the coconut onto all sides of the cake, and serve!

Hope that helps!


Thursday 14th of July 2016

What was the 'notes' after "6 ounces sweetened shredded toasted coconut *see notes"

Nicole Johnson

Thursday 14th of July 2016

Whoops! I updated the notes section. That got removed somehow. Thanks for catching that! It was basically just describing that getting the coconut on the cake is a bit of a pain in the butt. But worth it.

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