Fresh Coconut Cake

July 21, 2015
4 Ratings
  • Serves 12
Author Notes

This is a very old recipe handed down to me by my mother. There being no such thing as fresh-frozen coconut in my early years, she always got the whole coconuts to make this cake for holidays -- always Easter and Christmas, and sometimes for birthdays. My job as a child was to crank the sausage grinder which was used to grind up the coconut. Making this cake was always a major production, and it was invariably served with ambrosia, a fruit salad of pineapple tidbits, mandarin orange segments, and coconut. —Kayb

What You'll Need
  • Basic white cake
  • 2 cups all-purpose white flour
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 egg whites from large eggs (or 4 eggs)
  • 1 cup coconut milk, divided
  • Frosting
  • 2 cups grated fresh coconut or fresh-frozen coconut, divided
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped
  1. Basic white cake
  2. Preheat oven to 375F.
  3. Sift together dry ingredients into mixing bowl. Mix softened butter into dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  4. Whisk together 3/4 cup coconut milk, eggs and vanilla. Add slowly to bowl while mixer is running. Beat until combined, then beat for another 2 minutes at medium speed. Reserve remaining 1/4 cup coconut milk.
  5. Pour into three greased and floured cake pans. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown. Cool on baking racks.
  1. Frosting
  2. Stir together 1 1/2 cups of the coconut with the sour cream and sugar.
  3. Use 2/3 of the mixture to frost between bottom and second layer of cake. Top with unfrosted third layer.
  4. Whip cream stiffly with remaining 3 tbsp. of sugar.
  5. Fold remaining filling mixture in to stiffly whipped cream. Frost sides of cake. Using a skewer, pierce cake from the top a dozen or so times. Pour remaining 1/4 cup coconut milk slowly on top of cake. Frost top of cake.
  6. Sprinkle frosting with reserved 1/2 cup of coconut.
  7. Refrigerate cake until serving. For best results, make two days in advance and refrigerate to give it time for moisture to spread evenly throughout. Cake may also be frozen.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • mrslarkin
  • Kayb
  • Andy Shaw
    Andy Shaw
I'm a business professional who learned to cook early on, and have expanded my tastes and my skills as I've traveled and been exposed to new cuisines and new dishes. I love fresh vegetables, any kind of protein on the grill, and breakfasts that involve fried eggs with runny yolks. My recipes tend toward the simple and the Southern, with bits of Asia or the Mediterranean or Mexico thrown in here and there. And a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a float in the lake, as pictured, is a pretty fine lunch!

3 Reviews

Andy S. November 2, 2015
what size are the cake pans? This sounds delicious!!!
mrslarkin July 21, 2015
This sounds so delicious, Kayb!! (Is the sugar missing in the cake ingredients?)
Kayb July 21, 2015
EEEK! Thank you! Fixed it.