Coconut Cake with Fluffy Coconut Icing

Coconut and lime cake
Henry Sparrow and Kirsten Fowle / Getty Images
  • 60 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins,
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: 1 large cake (14 servings)
Ratings (14)

This coconut cake is made with coconut milk and shredded coconut for the ultimate coconutty taste! In Thailand, all the top hotels make their coconut cake with freshly-squeezed coconut milk from the local market. Here I've replicated the idea using coconut milk and shredded coconut. It has literally taken me years of trial and error to get this recipe right. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as we do.

What You'll Need

  • For the Cake:
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk (good-quality, not 'lite')
  • 7 Tbsp. sweetened shredded coconut (baking type)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup butter (or coconut oil, melted)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • For the Fluffy Coconut Icing:
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • pinch salt
  • Optional: 2 tsp. coconut extract (or 1 Tbsp. Coconut Rum)
  • 1/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut

How to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9-inch cake pans.
  2. Stir the shredded coconut into the coconut milk. Set aside to let soak.
  3. Separate egg whites from yolks. Place the egg whites in a small to medium mixing bowl. Set yolks in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Beat egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff (like whipped cream). Set aside.
  5. To the yolks, add the sugar, salt, and melted butter or coconut oil. Beat to a smooth consistency (1 minute).
  1. Stir the baking powder into the flour, then add this to the yolk mixture. Also, add the coconut milk with the shredded coconut. Beat 1-2 minutes, or until well combined.
  2. Fold the beaten egg whites into the batter, OR use your electric mixer on the low-speed beat - just enough to combine (20 seconds). Pour batter into prepared pans and bake 30-40 minutes, or until an inserted fork comes out clean. Cool before icing.

To Make the Fluffy Coconut Icing:

  1. Toast the coconut by placing it in a dry frying pan over medium-high heat. Stir continuously until most of the coconut is lightly browned. Immediately transfer to a bowl to cool.
  2. Have ready two pots that can serve as a double-boiler (or use a stainless-steel bowl set over a pot). In the top pot, combine egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, and salt. Stir well and set aside.
  3. Add 1-inch water to the lower pot and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to low (water should be steaming but not boiling). Now set the pot with the egg mixture tightly over it. Using an electric mixer, beat the mixture starting at low speed. Gradually increase speed to 5 minutes, ending at high speed. Add the flavoring (if using) when you switch to high speed. Beat until icing is stiff and easily holds its shape. Remove from heat.
  4. To put the cake together: place the first layer on your serving plate and cover the top with a generous amount of icing. Sprinkle over some of the toasted coconuts. Now add the second layer and again cover the top with icing. Finish by icing the sides of the cake. Sprinkle toasted coconut all over the top, then gently press some onto the sides. ENJOY!

A Note About the Icing: I don't know how many times I tried making fluffy white icing and had to throw it out because it simply wouldn't thicken or set. All the methods I tried were the 'quick and easy' type (which don't involve a double-boiler) - what a waste! As I found out, sometimes the slow way is best. And in the end, it wasn't slow at all. The above method was actually the easiest and quickest to make (it took only 10 minutes!).