This is hands down the BEST Coconut Cake recipe you’ll ever make. This classic coconut cake recipe uses fresh coconut and a secret ingredient to make the cake extra moist!
I love this coconut cake. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that it is the BEST Coconut Cake You’ll Ever Make! This coconut cake recipe has been making an appearance as a holiday dessert recipe since I was a little girl. My grandma used to make it for Easter dessert, Thanksgiving dessert, and if I asked extra nice, Christmas dessert. Everyone in my family loves it, even the ones who aren’t a big fan of coconut cake. The secret ingredient is fresh coconut. It is sooo much better than that dried, sweetened coconut you find in the baking aisle!
Coconut cake is a southern tradition and I love my grandma’s version. When I was grown and on my own this was one of the first recipes I called her up and asked for along with her broccoli casserole recipe…yum! Grandma J. wasn’t a from scratch baker (that was my other grandma) and this cake starts with a box mix but you doctor it up by skipping the instructions and ingredients on the back of the box and instead adding eggs, oil, sour cream and cream of coconut. They make the cake so moist!
A lot of people use a seven minute frosting on their coconut cakes but this one calls for a cream cheese frosting and I love it. The thing that I think makes it so much better than a lot of store bought coconut cakes is that it is coated in fresh coconut. None of that shredded coconut you find on the shelves. Fresh coconut is usually shaved and can be found in the freezer section at the grocery store.
Another thing that I love about this cake is that you should make it at least a day ahead of time and put it in the freezer. I’m not 100% sure why, but it is what my grandma always did, it is even in her recipe! It’s pretty great because for the holidays you can make it ahead of time and then pull it out a few hours before your party and have an amazing dessert.
If you want to get extra fancy you can put a fruit curd like this amazing mango curd, between the cake layers. It adds a whole new pop of flavor! I love the mango curd with the fresh coconut but if you don’t want to make your own you can also find lemon curd at many grocery stores. Either way it’s a nice little surprise inside of a beautiful coconut cake.
- 2 15.25 oz boxes White cake mix
- 16 oz Sour cream
- 1/2 c Vegetable oil
- 6 Eggs
- 15 oz Cream of coconut (such as Coco López)
- 16 oz Cream cheese
- 4 tbsp Milk
- 2 lbs Powdered sugar
- 2 tsp Vanilla extract
- 4 bags Fresh frozen coconut (about 24 oz)
Heat oven to 350°F
Mix cake mix, sour cream, vegetable oil, eggs, and cream of coconut in a large bowl.
Divide cake batter into evenly between 3 9” pans that have been greased and floured.
Bake approximately 30 minutes at 350°F or until you can put a toothpick in the center and it comes out clean.
Mix all ingredients in a mixer except fresh coconut.
Press coconut into sides and onto top of cake.
Once cake is frosted wrap it in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil and place in the freezer. Take it out to thaw at least 4 hours before you are ready to serve.
NOTE: The original recipe only made 2 layers but I always doubled it to make a beautiful three layer cake. I have adjusted the recipe for 3 layers. Just wanted to let you guys know in case you have printed this recipe previously and it looks different now!
This cake is a really special memory for me. Grandma doesn’t get to cook for us during the holidays anymore but I know she’d be happy to hear that I’m baking her cake! I hope you try it and if you do I hope you love it as much as I do.
If you are looking for more Easter Dessert Ideas check these out!