Tasty Tuesday: National Coconut Day


In celebration of National Coconut Day on June 26th, let’s make some delicious coconut cake! At my age, I’m learning I have a lot of memories. A favorite memory was every Christmas holiday season my Great Aunt in Houston, Texas would make and send her sisters (my Great Aunt and my Grandmother) in Wichita, Kansas a fresh made coconut cake. We would take a picture of them with the cake to send back and then the family would enjoy eating the coconut cake for days!

Coconut cake can be time consuming when making it from scratch. However, some might find baking enjoyable or even therapeutic. There are also wonderful box cake mixes that are cheap to make, take much less time and taste great – with a few additions I’ll include below.

The frosting can still be a 7-minute frosting which is traditional. Or, you can make a cream cheese frosting and add coconut on the outside. You can make it into cupcakes, still frosting and coconut on the outside or make it in a 9×13” cake pan. You should at least try it once – make it a favorite for special occasions.


9×13” cake pan-single layer
Layer Cake



Approximately 3 cups cake flour (if you do not have cake flour, use all-purpose flour, remove 2 Tablespoons flour from each cup and add 2 Tablespoons cornstarch – so here 3 cups AP flour, remove 6 T flour add 6 T cornstarch)

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup butter

½ cup coconut oil

2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup sweet cream of coconut

1 teaspoon coconut extract

1 Tablespoon vanilla

4 eggs

1 cup buttermilk



3 large egg whites

1 ¾ cups granulated sugar

1/3 cup cold water

½ teaspoon cream of tartar

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon coconut extract

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

At least 10 ounces shredded sweet coconut



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Lightly prepare 2 9” cake pans – oil or grease and flour or use a baking spray. Line each with parchment if you have some. Then prepare the parchment the same way. This helps cakes to come out of the pan nicely.
  3. Place the dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt in a bowl and whisk gently to combine evenly.
  4. Place butter and coconut oil in bowl of a stand mixer if using. Using the paddle attachment cream the butter on medium speed until fluffy – approximately 1 minute.
  5. Decrease the speed to low and gradually add the sugar slowly over 2 minutes time. Once combined well, stop mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. (We want all of the ingredients in the cake mixed.)
  6. Turn mixer on to medium and cream until mixture is light in texture – you can tell this by looking. It will increase slightly in volume. Approximately 3 minutes. Stir in the extracts.
  7. Combine the milks with the eggs. Mix to combine completely but do not beat. (You may use only egg whites if you prefer a very white cake – just save the yolks for an omelet later – or another dish – but I’m ok using whole eggs.  If using only egg whites beat them until they are semi-stiff and add as the last ingredient to the cake mix batter.)
  8. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk mixture to the butter and sugar mixture in 3 batches ending with the milk mixture. Do NOT overmix.
  9. Divide the cake mix evenly between the two pans. Tap gently on the counter to settle the batter and eliminate air pockets in the baked cake.
  10. Place the cake pans on the middle rack of your oven and bake for approximately 40 minutes or until cake is light golden and reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees F. I generally lightly touch the top and if it does NOT indent it is done.
  11. Cool the cake 10 minutes in the pans before inverting to a cooling rack. If you bake in 2-layer pans I like to slice each layer in half at the “equator” to make 4 layers. 
  12. Prepare frosting while cooling. If you want, place some coconut water in a spray bottle and spray (or lightly brush on) the layers lightly to keep them extra moist while frosting.



This is a cooked frosting. 

  1. Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan over high heat.
  2. Decrease heat to medium to maintain a steady simmer.
  3. Place egg whites, sugar, water, cream of tartar and salt in a medium size mixing bowl.
  4. Place over simmering water and immediately begin beating with an electric hand mixer set to low speed. Beat 1 minute then increase speed to high and continue beating 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and beat in the coconut and vanilla extracts for 1 minute.
  6. All to sit for 5 minutes before using.
  7. Place approximately ¾ cup of the frosting on first layer, sprinkle with ½ cup coconut top with next layer and so forth until all 4 layers then frost top and sides of the cake and sprinkle with more coconut.
  8. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before serving.


USE A BOX OF WHITE CAKE MIX FOR THE CAKE – and add a little extra oil, coconut and vanilla extracts.  Bake as directed on box.

OR use a can of a white soda – or cream soda and no oil or eggs. Add the flavorings. Bake as directed. 

Proceed as above for 4 layers.


This is a very delicious cake. I love coconut and, of course, my childhood memories that go with it.

I just think you’d enjoy this cake very much – either way.  AND you can make the cake without the coconut extract or coconut milks – use whole milk instead – maybe add almond extract and/or lemon extract.  And do not add any coconut on the frosting. Just frost.  If you add almond extract maybe top the sides of the cake with sliced almonds – maybe lightly toasted? – great option!

Bon Appetite’

With love,

Granni K

To download this recipe, click here.