Coconut sheet cake is a moist, sweet and easy dessert for any occasion. This semi homemade treat gets finished off with fluffy coconut cream cheese icing to make a decadent coconut dessert that everyone will love.

piece of Coconut Sheet Cake on a plate

If you love coconut cake as much as I do then you’re going to love this easy recipe. If you don’t consider yourself a coconut cake fan I promise you after you try this cake you’ll change your mind.

This recipe is adapted from our Coconut Layer Cake which is one of the most popular recipes on the blog. The doctored cake mix recipe lends itself well to being made into a sheet cake that you can more easily make and serve at get togethers and parties. 

Or, if you prefer, you can make this Coconut Cupcake recipe. It’s another great way to serve and enjoy the unique flavor of coconut whenever you want.

This sheet cake is moist and feels very light. You can deck it out with candles for a birthday cake, pipe on the icing for a fancy design, or just serve as is to the coconut lovers in your life.

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ingredients for Coconut Sheet Cake

Ingredients You’ll Need

Here’s what you need for the cake:

  • White cake mix – You can use your preferred brand for this.
  • Sour cream – We use regular sour cream since it works best for adding moisture to the cake.
  • Vegetable oil – Another light oil would also work.
  • Eggs – Make sure they are at room temperature.
  • Cream of coconut – You need to use cream of coconut, not coconut cream. It is often found in the mixed drinks section. Our favorite brand is Coco López. Use the leftovers to make these awesome Pina Colada Cake Bites or Pina Colada Tropical Fruit Salad.

For the frosting, you’ll need:

  • Cream cheese – This makes the base of the frosting and should be brought up to room temperature.
  • Powdered sugar – Provides the sweetness to the frosting. Do not use granulated sugar.
  • Coconut extract – This gives the frosting a coconut flavor. If you can’t find it at your local store, you can get it here.
  • Milk – We recommend whole milk for the recipe.
  • Fresh frozen coconut or sweetened shredded coconut – You can find these in the frozen food and baking aisles respectively. In my opinion the special thing about this recipe is the use of fresh (frozen) coconut but I know it isn’t always easy to find. Sweetened shredded coconut works as well and gives it a delicious coconut flavor but changes the texture since the dried coconut is chewier.
frosting Coconut Sheet Cake

Instructions

Follow these steps for best results.

Step 1 – Mix the batter. To start, heat the oven to 350 degrees. 

As it heats, use your mixer to combine the cake mix, sour cream, vegetable oil, eggs, and cream of coconut. You can use either a stand or hand mixer.

Step 2 – Prep the pan and bake. Prepare a 9 x 13 inch metal baking pan (this one is my personal favorite!) by greasing with a bit of butter and lining the bottom with parchment paper. Next, pour the cake batter into the pan.

Place the pan in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes at 350°F or until you can put a toothpick in the center and it comes out clean.

Finally, remove from the oven and let cool completely.

Step 3 – Prep the frosting. As the cake cools, you can make the cream cheese frosting. Clean the bowl of your mixer and then whisk the softened cream cheese and the powdered sugar on low speed. You should use the whisk attachment for your mixer for this.

After it is combined, add the coconut extract and continue mixing. Finally, if the frosting still feels a little stiff you can add the milk. Note: This may not be necessary! You’ll need to make a judgement call on the consistency of your frosting. you want it to be easily spreadable but not runny. If you add the milk do it 1 teaspoon at a time, mixing well in between each teaspoon, until you reach a smooth, spreadable consistency.

Step 4 – Frost the cake. When the cake has completely cooled, use a spatula or knife to frost the cake. Sprinkle the top with the coconut flakes. Serve and enjoy!

Coconut Sheet Cake cooling on rack with slices on plates

Cream of Coconut vs. Coconut Cream

Cream of coconut and coconut cream are not interchangeable!

Cream of coconut is coconut cream that has been sweetened, similar to sweetened condensed milk. It is most often used in cocktails and has a super intense and sweet coconut flavor. 

Coconut cream is not sweetened and comes from the cream that rises to the top of coconut milk. You can make your own by simmering four parts shredded coconut in one part water. Since it is not sweetened, it will not work in this recipe.

This recipe calls for cream of coconut. You can find cream of coconut with the other drink mixers at the grocery store. The most common brand is Coco Lopez.

Types of Coconut You Can Use 

You can use different types of fresh coconut. You can typically find it in the freezer section near the frozen fruit at the grocery store. Or you can find sweetened shredded coconut or coconut flakes in the baking aisle. 

For added flavor, you can toast the shredded or flaked coconut by spreading it on a sheet pan and toasting at 350 degrees in your oven until lightly browned. You’ll need to check it every 1 to 2 minutes to ensure it doesn’t burn! Let the toasted coconut cool completely before adding it to the cake. 

cut Coconut Sheet Cake on cooling rack

How to Store It 

Safe to store at room temperature for 3 to 5 days. It is safe to store because the amount of milk to sugar ratio is so high, so it does not need to be refrigerated. We recommend placing in an airtight container if you have one.

Freeze cake by assembling the cake, frosting it, and adding the coconut on the outside. Once fully covered, wrap it with two layers of plastic wrap to seal in the freshness. Cover it with a layer or two of aluminum foil to insulate the cake and keep it from getting freezer burn. Finally place the cake in the freezer until you are ready to use.

Remove the cake at least 4 hours before you are ready to serve to give it time to thaw.

piece of Coconut Sheet Cake on a plate with a fork

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Servings: 16
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Cooling Time:: 1 hr
Total Time: 2 hrs

Coconut Sheet Cake

Coconut sheet cake is a moist, sweet and easy dessert for any occasion. This semi homemade treat gets finished off with fluffy coconut cream cheese icing to make a decadent coconut dessert that everyone will love.

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 15.25 ounces box White cake mix
  • 8 ounces Sour cream
  • 1/4 cup Vegetable oil
  • 3 large Eggs
  • 7.5 ounces Cream of coconut such as Coco López
  • 1 tablespoon Coconut extract

Frosting:

  • 8 ounces Cream cheese, room temperature
  • 16 ounces Powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Coconut extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons Milk
  • 2 cups Fresh frozen coconut or sweetened shredded coconut

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In the bowl of your mixer combine the cake mix, sour cream, vegetable oil, eggs, and cream of coconut.
  • Mix ingredients together with the paddle attachment on medium speed until completely combined and smooth.
  • Prepare a 9×13 inch metal baking pan by greasing with a bit of butter and lining the bottom with parchment paper.
  • Pour the cake batter into the 9×13 inch pan.
  • Place in the oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes at 350°F or until you can put a toothpick in the center and it comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
  • While the cake cools make the cream cheese frosting. In the clean bowl of your mixer add the softened cream cheese and the powdered sugar. Using the whisk attachment mix together on low speed until well combined.
  • Add the coconut extract and continue mixing.
  • If needed, add the milk 1 teaspoon at a time, mixing well in between each teaspoon, until you reach a smooth, spreadable consistency. See note below.
  • Once the cake is completely cooked use a knife or a spatula to frost the cake and then top with the shredded coconut.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Notes

Note: This may not be necessary! You’ll need to make a judgement call on the consistency of your frosting. you want it to be easily spreadable but not runny.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice, Calories: 455kcal, Carbohydrates: 66g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 21g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 58mg, Sodium: 314mg, Potassium: 95mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 54g, Vitamin A: 330IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 38mg, Iron: 1mg
Nutrition Disclaimer: We are not certified nutritionists. Nutrition facts are an estimate and are provided as a courtesy. They are generated by an online API which recognizes ingredient names and amounts and makes calculations based on the serving size. Results may vary.
Author: Kat Jeter & Melinda Caldwell
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: coconut cake, sheet cake