Coconut Cake with Coconut Buttercream Frosting

This soft, fluffy Coconut Cake filled and frosted with whipped Coconut Buttercream Frosting will make a true coconut believer out of you.

Coconut Cake with whipped Coconut Buttercream Frosting | Sweet Baked Life

Truth be told, I am not a huge coconut fan. Gasp! However, I feel if you use the sweet stuff in moderation, it can really enhance your baked treats.

This Coconut Cake with Coconut Buttercream frosting is no exception! Turns out, coconut cake is my husband’s favorite type of cake and I do enjoy making things for him that he likes. That being said, he is very picky and even though he may like a certain type of treat, it may not always meet his high standards (oh well!). You see, it was my husband’s birthday a few weeks ago and I always do a little party for him. Small, but meaningful.

That morning, not only did I have to clean the house, decide on the menu, do the grocery shopping, take my son to the gym, get in a quick work out myself, but also had to prepare the meal and make dessert. After a full week at work, and helping my son with his many honors projects and the like, I am pretty tired by the time the weekend comes around.

Coconut Cake with whipped Coconut Buttercream Frosting | Sweet Baked Life

But since this was my guys birthday day, I mustered up the energy to create a special event for him. I told him my plans and we decided on the menu: cheese, nut and fruit tray followed by a chopped salad, citrus marinated chicken and roasted red potatoes. And then I announced the all important dessert I had in mind, Coconut Cake. He thought it was a great idea, but stated that since I was already doing so much, why didn’t I just buy the cake at our local grocery store.

What? Me, buy a cake? Me the baker and blogger…why in the heck would I buy a cake? My hubs sometimes just does not get it. I LOVE TO BAKE! Especially when it’s for a special occasion. And doing this for him, I WANTED to bake him a cake and make it something wonderful that we would rave about!

OK, he was right, it would be a lot easier for me just to put that, who knows how old, overly sweet, too much lard-y frosted cake in my shopping cart. But, I really, really wanted to make this cake, even if it did take some time out of my day. And so, that is exactly what I did!

Coconut Cake with whipped Coconut Buttercream Frosting | Sweet Baked Life

You see, I think I get this baking obsession from my mom. She always baked extraordinarily unique homemade cakes for birthdays and every other occasion you can think of when I was growing up. It was not until I got older, and for that matter when she got older, did she start buying cakes. But, she really only buys cakes from exquisite bakeries, not from a grocery store. I’m with her, however I would still rather bake my cake. I’m not saying that grocery store cakes are bad, some are actually OK, but they are not really my thing.

The secret for this cake is using canned unsweetened coconut milk in place of regular milk and adding this same coconut milk into the frosting. Also, to achieve the light and fluffy frosting, be sure that you beat the butter on high-speed for at least 5 minutes and then another 5 minutes after you add the remaining ingredients. It really makes a huge difference and the results are outstanding!

My very picky husband said this Coconut Cake with Coconut Buttercream Frosting was the BEST cake he ever tasted. He oogled over it as he devoured it! Not too sweet, not too coco-nutty! Just right!!!! He even mentioned the other night, when he was craving something sweet, that he wished we still had this cake as nothing around our area (that can be purchased) compares! Such a huge complement coming from him!

Coconut Cake with whipped Coconut Buttercream Frosting | Sweet Baked Life

Coconut Cake with Coconut Buttercream Frosting

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Coconut Cake with whipped Coconut Buttercream Frosting | Sweet Baked Life

By: Sheila | Sweet Baked Life


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
Pinch kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 egg whites
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk*
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract (optional)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 pound (about 4 cups) confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk*
¼ teaspoon coconut extract (optional)
Large sweetened flake coconut, for top garnish


Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together four, baking powder and salt and set aside.

In a large bowl of a stand-mixer with the paddle attachment, add the butter and sugar and beat on medium-speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Add egg whites and beat until well incorporated. Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour mixture until fully incorporated. Then add the coconut milk and vanilla and mix until combined.

Divide batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with an offset spatula. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, until golden brown and when gently touched the top springs back. Be careful not to over bake.

Cool the cake in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then gently turn the cakes onto the rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting while the cake is cooling: In a large bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, whip the butter on high-speed for about 5 minutes – until light and fluffy. Occasionally scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula. Then, with the mixer on low-speed, add the confectioners sugar, vanilla extract, coconut milk and coconut extract (optional). Turn up the speed to medium-high and beat until fluffy, about 5 minutes.

To assemble the cake: place one cake onto a cake plate or cake stand. Add 1/3 of the frosting to the top and spread to an even layer with an offset spatula. Put the second cake on the top. Add the next 1/3 of frosting to the top of the cake and spread evenly. Then using the remaining 1/3 of frosting, frost the sides of the cake with an offset spatula and here use a thin layer scraping with the spatula. Any reaming frosting can go on the top and smooth out to your liking. Sprinkle the top of the cake with the flake coconut. Slice and serve!

*For the coconut milk, use the type from a can, such as Thai Kitchen coconut milk

Coconut Cake with whipped Coconut Buttercream Frosting | Sweet Baked Life

This beautiful Coconut Cake with Coconut Buttercream Frosting is the perfect dessert to top off a special occasion or, because it’s so easy to make, it’s great anytime you are craving a delicious cake!



{cake adapted from Martha Stewart frosting from here}


6 thoughts on “Coconut Cake with Coconut Buttercream Frosting

  1. Coconut cake isn’t my favorite either, but when I saw this cake I IMMEDIATELY wanted a slice. It looks that good. Great job Sheila, Happy Belated to your husband 🙂

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