Coconut cake recipe

(3889 ratings)

Our coconut cake takes 30 minutes to cook and only has nine ingredients.

Coconut cake recipe
(Image credit: Alamy TTNE19)
Preparation Time25 mins
Cooking Time30 mins
Total Time55 mins
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories506 Kcal25%
Sugar20 g22%
Fat39 g56%
Protein6 g12%
Carbohydrates33 g13%

This coconut cake serves up to 10 people and is a great option for birthday parties or other big family gatherings. 

We’ve included coconut in the sponge and icing for this tasty cake but an easy way to add even more flavour is to toast the desiccated coconut in a pan before using it. We bake the cake in two 20cm round tins and then cut each sponge in half so there’s four layers of cake. If you want to cut down the steps, just layer the sponges as they are and you’ll end up with a cake that has thicker layers of sponge. 


  • 175g unsalted butter, softened
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 50g desiccated coconut
  • 3tbsp milk

For the coconut cream frosting:

  • 50ml coconut cream
  • 400ml double cream
  • 4tbsp shredded or desiccated coconut
  • Glace cherry, to decorate (optional) 




  1. Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan, Gas 4). Grease 2 x 20cm round sandwich tins and line the bases with baking paper.
  2. Put the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat together with an electric whisk or with a wooden spoon until pale and creamy. Gradually beat in the eggs, adding a spoonful of the flour if the mixture begins to curdle.
  3. Sift over the flour and fold in gently, using a metal spoon. Fold in the coconut and milk, if needed, to give a soft dropping consistency. Divide the mixture between the prepared tins and gently level the surface using the back of a spoon.
  4. Bake for 25-30 mins until risen, golden and springy to the touch. Cool in the tins for 5 mins then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
  5. To make the coconut cream frosting, put the double and coconut cream in a large bowl and whisk together with an electric whisk until thick. The mixture should form a trail once you remove the whisk from the bowl.
  6. To assemble the cake, slice each sponge in half horizontally and sandwich all the layers back together with one-quarter of the coconut cream. Make sure the cakes are completely cool before adding any frosting or filling as warm cake will make the frosting melt and curdle. Spread two-thirds of the remaining cream over the top and sides of the cake.
  7. To finish the cake, add any remaining cream to the top of the cake and then gently press the coconut onto the sides and top of the cake. You can also opt to pipe the remaining cream in rosettes on top to decorate. Decorate with glacé cherries, if using, and serve.

Top tips for making this coconut cake

The coconut sponge cake can be made a day in advance but it’s best to assemble the cake on the day of serving to make sure the coconut cream frosting and the cherries stay as fresh as possible.

How can I add more flavour to my coconut cake?

Swap desiccated coconut for coconut flakes instead which will add a different look to your finished cake. For another kick of coconut flavour, swap the milk in this recipe for coconut milk instead.

Can I use this coconut cake recipe to make a loaf cake or cupcakes?

If you want to make a coconut loaf cake or coconut cupcakes instead you'll be glad to know that you can easily adapt this recipe to suit. Use all of the same ingredient quantities and follow the method up until step 3, when you divide the mixture. Instead of dividing, pour into a greased and lined loaf tin or spoon into cupcake cases.

This recipe will make around 16-18 cupcakes and will fill a 900g loaf tin. Cooking times will vary, however. For a loaf; bake for 30-40 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Cupcakes will take 15-20 minutes.

Profile picture of Jessica Ransom
Jessica Ransom

“I love the flavour of coconut and mango so if I were making this cake, I would sandwich the layers together with some mango curd. Feel free to make a classic buttercream recipe and mix in some desiccated coconut if you’d prefer an icing that will happily sit at room temperature.” 

If you want to level the top of your sponge cakes or cut them perfectly in half, food writer Jessica Ransom recommends using a cake wire or slicer.

KitchenCraft Sweetly Does It Cake Slicer, Leveller - View at Amazon

KitchenCraft Sweetly Does It Cake Slicer, Leveller - View at Amazon

Ideal if you’re making multi-layered cakes, this leveller is sturdy and easy to use. You can also use it to trim the top of a sponge cake it achieve a perfectly flat top. This can make it easier to sit any decorations on top. 

We have lots of easy coconut recipes which are savoury or sweet including this coconut macaroon recipe and our easy coconut milk panna cotta. 

With contributions from