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Slice of coconut cake being cut from a three layer coconut cake

The Best Coconut Cake You'll Ever Make

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 coconut cake extra moist!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword best coconut cake recipe, coconut cake recipe, coconut cake with cake mix, how to make coconut cake
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 20
Calories 566kcal
Author Kat Jeter & Melinda Caldwell



  • 2 boxes White cake mix 15.25 oz each
  • 16 ounces Sour cream
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable oil
  • 6 large Eggs
  • 15 ounces Cream of coconut such as Coco López or Real Coco
  • 2 tablespoons Coconut extract optional


  • 16 ounces Cream cheese use a block NOT whipped
  • 4 tablespoons Milk See note 1 below
  • 2 pounds Powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla extract or coconut extract
  • 4 bags Fresh frozen coconut (about 24 oz)



  • Heat oven to 350°F
  • Prepare three 9 inch cake pans by lightly greasing and then dusting with flour. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of each pan.
  • Mix cake mix, sour cream, vegetable oil, eggs, and cream of coconut in a large bowl. For a little extra boost of coconut flavor you can add 2 tablespoons of coconut extract (optional).
  • Divide cake batter evenly between the three prepared 9” pans. Each pan should be filled to slightly higher than 1/2 to ensure that the cake does not overflow as it bakes. You may have extra batter.
  • Place pans in the oven and bake approximately 30 minutes at 350°F or until you can put a toothpick in the center and it comes out clean.
  • Remove the pans from the oven and let the cakes cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes. Then remove the cakes from the pan and let them cool on a wire rack until room temperature.


  • Whisk powdered sugar and cream cheese together in the bowl of your mixer. 
  • Add vanilla or coconut extract and keep whisking.
  • Test the consistency. The frosting should be thick but spreadable. If it is too firm add a small amount of milk and whisk again. See note #1.

Assemble Cake

  • Remove the parchment paper from each layer of cake.
  • Place one cooled cake layer on a cake board (this will make it easier to move cake to the freezer. If you are not freezing it you can skip this step). Frost the top of the layer and place the second layer on top. Frost the top of that layer and place the third and final layer on top. 
  • Frost the top and sides of the cake.
  • Press coconut into sides and onto top of cake.
  • Once cake is frosted wrap it in a layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of aluminum foil and place in the freezer. Take it out to thaw at least 4 hours before you are ready to serve.



  1. You may not need to add any milk. Make your frosting without adding any milk and see what the consistency is like. You want it to be thick but easily spreadable. It should NOT be runny! If it is too thick add a small amount of milk and whisk again. Test the consistency before adding any more milk. 
2 Layer Cake Instructions: By Popular request I have included the ingredient amounts for the 2 layer version of this cake below. The instructions for making the cake are the same you'll just be using 2 9-inch round cake pans rather than 3. Enjoy!
15.25 ounces box White cake mix
8 ounces Sour cream
1/4 cup Vegetable oil
3 Eggs
7.5 ounces Cream of coconut such as Coco López
8 ounces Cream cheese
2 tablespoons Milk
1 pound Powdered sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
2 bags Fresh frozen coconut about 12 oz


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 566kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 503mg | Potassium: 96mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 38g | Vitamin A: 550IU | Calcium: 270mg | Iron: 0.9mg