Soft and fluffy homemade Coconut Cake made in a bundt pan and topped with coconut cream cheese frosting.
I made us a cake! Actually, I made us 8 cakes because, oof, it took me FOREVER to find the perfect Coconut Cake recipe. But, I found it, and here it is. A fluffy, tender Coconut Bundt Cake topped with sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting.
What makes this the perfect Coconut Cake? A light and fluffy texture. Real coconut flavor (no imitation coconut extract). Easier than a layer cake. Prettier than a sheet cake. Delicious to every last buttery crumb.
Why you’ll love this recipe
Butter: This is an all butter cake. The butter adds richness, flavor and creates a tender crumb. The butter gets beaten with sugar for a full 3 minutes at the start of this recipe to create a light and fluffy texture.
Coconut Milk: I have made this cake with canned light coconut milk, as well as unsweetened vanilla coconut milk from a carton. It worked both ways. I prefer using a 13-oz can of light coconut milk because it provides enough for both the cake and frosting, without having a lot leftover.
Sweetened Shredded Coconut: One cup of sweetened shredded coconut gets mixed into the batter. This adds those distinct coconut shreds all throughout the cake. Make sure your shredded coconut is moist and fresh. Adding stale/dry shredded coconut can dry out the cake.
Almond Extract: I absolutely love almond extract in a coconut cake. I think the almond flavor pairs wonderfully with coconut. There is almond extract in both the cake and the frosting in this recipe.
Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting: The perfect sweet and tangy topping for our cake; a mixture of cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, coconut milk, almond, and vanilla extracts. I make this frosting thinner than a traditional cream cheese frosting. This allows the frosting to slowly drip down the sides of the cake. Adjust the consistency by adding more powdered sugar (to thicken) or coconut milk (to thin).
Toasted Coconut Garnish: A few tablespoons of toasted coconut garnish the top of the cake. This adds another layer of coconut flavor, a bit of crunch, and it makes the cake extra pretty.
Does coconut cake need to be refrigerated?
This cake does not have to be refrigerated. You can store it in the fridge to keep the frosting firm (if your kitchen is warm), but bring it to room temperature before serving. The cake is extra fluffy and moist when it is at room temp. It can be eaten chilled (and it actually cuts much neater that way), but it will be more dense, like a pound cake, when it’s cold.
How to prevent bundt cake from sticking to the pan
- Grease the pan really well. Even if you have a nonstick pan, you have to grease it well. Make sure you get at it from all angles. I have the best luck using a non-stick spray with flour in it. Tip: I set the bundt pan in my kitchen sink while I grease it so any overspray is contained.
- Wait to grease it until right before you add the batter. This is super important! If you spray the pan when you begin the recipe, the oil will slowly drip off the sides as you’re preparing the batter. Grease it right before adding the batter.
- Let the cake rest in the pan for a bit. During the initial cool time of 15 minutes, the edges of the cake should start pulling away from the sides of the pan on their own. If desired, you can slide a sharp thin knife down the side of the pan (between the cake and pan) to help loosen it.
- If a few pieces of cake stick to the pan, worry not. Gently remove them from the pan and press them back on the cake. When you’re adding the frosting, strategically place frosting on that spot to cover it up.
LOVE COCONUT? TRY THESE:
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 ¼ cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 ⅓ cups canned light coconut milk, well shaken
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar, plus more, if needed
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon almond extract
- 2 tablespoons coconut milk, plus more, if needed
- 2 tablespoons toasted coconut, for garnish, optional
- Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in vanilla and almond extracts. Scrape down the bowl and beater as needed.
- Add the flour in three additions, alternating with the coconut milk (beginning and ending with flour), beating well between each addition, and scraping the bowl as needed. Stir in the shredded coconut.
- Thoroughly grease a 12-cup bundt pan (I have found that non-stick baking spray with flour tends to work best for this). Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth it into an even layer. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool cake in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then carefully invert it onto a serving plate and allow it to finish cooling (before frosting).
- Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar and beat to combine. Add extracts and beat to combine. Slowly add the coconut milk until you reach your desired consistency (I used a generous 2 tablespoons). You want the frosting to be thin enough to slowly run down the sides of the cake, but not so thin that it slides off the top. Adjust using the powdered sugar (to thicken) and coconut milk (to thin), as needed.
- Spoon the frosting over the top of the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides. Garnish with toasted coconut, if desired.
- See above for tips on preventing the cake from sticking to the pan.
- This cake is best served at room temperature (it is extra fluffy and moist). You can store it in the fridge, but I recommend bringing it to room temp before serving. It can be eaten chilled (and it actually cuts much neater that way), but it will be more dense, like a pound cake, when it’s cold.
Nutritional Information is an estimate based on third-party calculations and may vary based on products used and serving sizes.