Coconut Cake is a homemade coconut cake made with coconut milk. It’s brushed with coconut syrup for extra moisture and topped off with vanilla bean buttercream frosting. Our contributor Tessa has created a new layer cake recipe.

It seems that spring is filled with little milestones leading to summer. Day Light Savings, St. Patrick’s Day and Pi(e), Day have just passed. Now we are getting ready for Easter and Mother’s Day. Maybe spring has all these holidays to get us through the rainy weather and dull days. Although I don’t know the answer, I can make any occasion, big or small, to celebrate and bake cake, especially coconut cakes.

Easter brings to mind fluffy white bunnies and brightly colored floral prints. This Coconut Cake with Vanilla Bean Buttercream definitely fits the bill. This year, I wanted to make a beautiful Easter cake that represented renewal, love and hope. This simple, yet delicious cake was decorated with buttons, white nonpareils, and a spiral of rosettes. It features a beautiful palette of spring colors: pink, peach and green.
What goes well together with coconut? More coconut! Many coconut cakes can be paired with lemon or other vibrant tropical flavors. This cake was not overly sweetened or tart. I wanted the coconut to be the star of the show. Layers of cake are made from creamy coconut cream and then brushed with coconut syrup. Coconut simple syrup gives the cake layers a richer flavor without using coconut extract. It tastes divine! At first, I thought of using coconut cream cheese frosting. But, a simple vanilla bean buttercream was the best choice.

This particular cake was a little more generous than I would have liked with the buttercream frosting and filling. I knew that I wanted to use lots of it for the decorations. The subtle combination of the delicate rosettes and the semi-naked sides is what I love. You can also use buttercream to frost the sides of your cake without adding flowers.


Coconut Cake

  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 cup unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure Vanilla Extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 Cups coconut Milk Stirred

Coconut Simple Syrup

  • 1/4 cup coconut milk solids **
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup Shredded coconut

Vanilla Bean Buttercream

  • 4 large eggs whites
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 cups unsalted Butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out

The Decoration

  • 1M pipe tip
  • 4B Pipetting tip
  • soft gel paste food color
  • white nonpareils


Make the Coconut Cake

Pre-heat oven at 350 degrees. Set aside three 8-inch cake pans.

Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Use an electric mixer to beat the butter until it is smooth. Mix in the sugar until it is light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Turn the mixer to medium-low and add the eggs one at a while. Add the vanilla extract. Stop the mixer and scrape the bowl.

Mixer on low. Add half the dry ingredients. Slowly add the coconut milk. Mix in the rest of the dry ingredients. Mix the batter for 30 seconds on medium speed.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake the cakes for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of them comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes before removing them from the pans. The coconut simple syrup can be used to brush the cakes while they are still warm.

Coconut Simple Syrup

Start making your simple syrup while the cakes are baking. The syrup and the cakes should be warm. It is best to make the syrup as soon as the cakes are in the oven.

In a small saucepan, combine the coconut milk solids, water, sugar, and salt. The mixture oven heat on medium-high heat until all ingredients melt together and the syrup starts to simmer.

Turn down the heat and add the shredded coconut. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat.

After the cakes are taken out of their pans, you can strain the coconut and brush the warm syrup generously over the tops. Let the syrup sit for about 20 minutes before covering the cakes with plastic and chilling. For easier assembly, chill the cakes in the fridge.

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