Cakes/ Classic Desserts/ Dessert/ easy/ Holiday/ quick

Coconut Cake

June 11, 2015

This moist, fluffy, delicate coconut cake makes the perfect side to tea. With a slight crunch and subtle coconut flavor, it pairs amazingly well with flavors such as citrus and rum.

Perfect Coconut Tea Cake |

Along with chocolate chips and peanut butter cups, I used to keep toasted coconut flakes in a secret spot in the kitchen. Much like all of us, Erez has some of his own weaknesses, and crunchy coconut happens to be one of them. I say ‘used to keep’ because apparently that spot is no longer hidden. When I went to look for the coconut flakes, they were nowhere to be found. This is also why I’m posting this recipe today instead of last week as promised. Erez sends his deepest apologies (but doesn’t seem to regret it one bit).

Perfect Coconut Tea Cake |

Come to think of it, there’s not a single recipe with coconut yet on the blog, which is quite surprising considering my love for anything coconut. The cake I’m sharing today is the kind of cake that if you pass by it, you just have to grab a piece. It’s light and carries a subtle flavor that you simply won’t be able to get enough of.

Perfect Coconut Tea Cake |

This cake is versatile, and I know how much you guys love that! Since the coconut flavor isn’t overwhelming, it gives plenty of room to play around with other ingredients that compliment it.

Perfect Coconut Tea Cake |

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Add zest of one lime or lemon (tossed with the sugar) and 2 tablespoons of juice (adding it along with the coconut cream).
  • Replace half of the coconut cream with orange juice.
  • Add the zest of one orange.
  • Add 1/2 cup raisins that have been soaked in 1/4 cup dark rum (folding it into the batter).
  • For the glaze, instead of using just coconut cream, replace part of it with lime juice, lemon juice, or rum. I LOVE dark rum, but it’s not what you think, I promise. Start with just a little unless you want a strong flavor—I usually use 1 teaspoon.

While the glaze is optional, I love that it adds more coconut flavor and some crunch to contrast with the tender cake.

Perfect Coconut Tea Cake |

5.0 from 4 reviews
Coconut Cake
Yields: 1 loaf cake (See notes for other pan sizes)
  • 1½ cups (210 g/7.5 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick/113 g) butter, softened
  • 1¼ cups (250 g/8.8 oz) granulated sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon or lime
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum (optional)
  • 1 cup (240 ml) coconut cream (unsweetened)*
  • 1 cup (100 g/3.5 oz) shredded (sweetened or unsweetened) or desiccated coconut
  • ¾ cup (85 g/3 oz) powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons coconut cream, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon dark rum (optional)
  • ½ cup flaked or shredded coconut, for topping
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350F/180C. Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter, sugar, and lemon/lime zest on medium speed for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Occasionally scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla extract and rum. On low speed, beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the coconut cream in 2 additions, starting and ending with the flour. Do not overmix. Fold in the shredded coconut.
  4. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 45-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. If the top is browning too fast while baking, cover pan loosely with aluminum foil.
  5. For the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, coconut cream, and rum until smooth. Add more coconut cream as necessary until you reach a thick yet pourable consistency. Pour over top of cake and let drizzle down the sides. Sprinkle flaked coconut on top. Allow glaze to set, 15-30 minutes.
  6. Store cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3-4 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Cake can be frozen without glaze for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge.
- You can substitute coconut cream with coconut milk.
- I find that the cake improves, both in taste and texture, a day after it’s made.
- This cake can also be baked in an 8x8-inch square or a 9-inch round cake pan, although the baking time will decrease to 35-40 minutes.


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  • Reply
    Kennedy Cole@KCole's Creative Corner
    June 11, 2015 at 8:12 pm

    I love the addition of lemon and lime zest to this cake! Citrus pairs so well with coconut. And I’m sure the coconut cream makes this cake so moist and decadent. This recipe is definitely a keeper! And I love the toasted coconut shaving added on top. That makes for a nice presentational. Only a fellow food blogger would appreciate that! 🙂
    I recently made a cooking and baking blog, too.
    I would greatly appreciate it if you would check it out!
    Thanks so much!

  • Reply
    June 11, 2015 at 9:02 pm

    I m drooling by just looking at it 🙂
    shredded coconut refers to freshly grated coconut that comes with the milk? if yes, should I squeeze out the milk before adding into the batter ?
    btw. at which stage shall I add this shredded coconut into the batter ?
    RUM – any substitution? I dun have any

    • Reply
      June 13, 2015 at 6:01 am

      Hi Lynn! 🙂 Shredded coconut is a dry mixture that is a bit moister than desiccated coconut and the shreds are longer. You can Google it to see how it looks like. If it’s not available in your area (it’s a common ingredient in the US), use desiccated coconut instead. Fold it into the batter before pouring it into the pan. You don’t have to use the rum, just leave it out.

  • Reply
    Thalia @ butter and brioche
    June 11, 2015 at 11:24 pm

    YUM. This coconut cake looks so moist and delicious.. I definitely can see myself making the recipe and trying out a few additions – rum and raisin?

    • Reply
      June 13, 2015 at 6:02 am

      My favorite! Go for it 🙂

  • Reply
    Cedar @Hospitality
    June 12, 2015 at 1:25 am

    Hey Shiran, Your coconut cake is great looking yummy and delicious…Thanks for sharing it with us.

  • Reply
    Beeta @ Mon Petit Four
    June 15, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    Just discovered your blog, Shiran, and it’s beautiful! This coconut cake looks so gorgeous. I love coconut, and this cake looks like a wonderful way to enjoy that flavor. The cake looks super moist, and I’m sure it’s a great contrast to the crunchy coconut topping. I also love your suggestions…I can imagine a citrusy element would be a lot of fun too in this cake! 🙂

    • Reply
      June 15, 2015 at 4:32 pm

      That’s so sweet of you Beeta, thank you so much! Your blog is beautiful as well! 🙂

  • Reply
    June 17, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    Hi Shiran! This coconut cake looks amazing! Can’t wait to try it. But I would like to find out if I am able to replace the butter with coconut oil?

    • Reply
      June 18, 2015 at 12:39 pm

      Thank you! 🙂 With coconut oil both the taste and texture would be different. I think that it would taste lovely, but it would be more like a texture of a quick bread than a cake, since you won’t be using the creaming method to cream the butter and sugar. If you want to try it, use melted coconut oil and just mix it with the other ingredients (place dry ingredients in one bowl, wet ingredients in another, and mix the two together, mixing as little as possible). If you can use butter as the recipe suggests, I highly recommend it as it would bring you the best results. Let me know if you like it!

  • Reply
    Myrtice Stevens
    June 22, 2015 at 8:20 am

    We could be soul mate. I’m a coconut lover too. More coconut inspired recipe please! Can we put some pineapple into the cake? Do you think it would be queer?

    • Reply
      June 22, 2015 at 12:13 pm

      Hi soulmate! How can it be queer? It’s the perfect combination. More recipes coming soon! 🙂

  • Reply
    August 15, 2015 at 12:27 am

    Hey hey, Shiran! I don’t know if this is ridiculous, but I was wondering if there was some way to amp up the coconut flavour (so it’s not subtle) and tone down the citrus (is it necessary to add the zest?) in this cake? I made this yesterday, and it’s quite lovely, the family adore it, I like it too… But my sister and I, we kinda just want morrrrrre coconuttyness.

    Ta 🙂

    • Reply
      August 16, 2015 at 8:51 am

      Hi Laila! The best way to add more coconut flavor is by using coconut extract, but this can usually be found only in specialty stores (craft stores usually sell imitation coconut extract, but personally, I don’t like to use those). You can also try adding more shredded coconut, but that would affect the texture. Also, next time omit the lemon zest, that way the coconut flavor would be more dominant. I hope you’ll enjoy it even more next time! 🙂

      • Reply
        August 16, 2015 at 7:29 pm

        Thank you ♥

  • Reply
    December 9, 2015 at 1:55 am

    Your coconut cake is great looking yummy and delicious…Thanks for sharing it with us.

  • Reply
    October 2, 2017 at 2:17 am

    I don’t comment on recipes often, but this one was just so good! I’ve baked it twice and both times it was a hit. The second time I replaced half the coconut cream with pineapple juice in both the cake and glaze – yum! I used a round tin and it still took a full hour.

    • Reply
      October 3, 2017 at 2:18 pm

      Thank you so much Alice!

  • Reply
    March 2, 2018 at 6:17 pm

    Hey Shiran,
    Can’t wait to try this recipe! Coconut + citrus : my fav combination. I just had a question, if I could replace the all purpose four with almond meal? Or may be a combination of almond meal and coconut flour? What would be the measurements in this case?

    PS: still drooling over the pictures of this cake!

    • Reply
      March 5, 2018 at 6:31 am

      Thank you, Prithvi! 🙂 I don’t recommend replacing all-purpose flour with almond meal, because it would change the entire flavor and texture of the cake. Almond cakes without any flour are usually crumbly and delicate.

  • Reply
    June 2, 2018 at 8:43 pm

    Coconut cream seems to have more fat content, but all I have in my pantry is coconut milk. Will using the milk instead reduce the moistness of this cake?

    • Reply
      June 5, 2018 at 3:47 am

      It will slightly change the texture, but it’s ok to use coconut milk instead.

  • Reply
    November 15, 2018 at 2:39 am

    I made this cake a couple of days ago to a family gathering and everyone absolutely loved it! I’m really glad how it turned out, I thought loaf cakes are so dry, but once I took the cake out of the oven; i was able to see the moisture from the cake. It is truly one of the best things I ever cooked, and I will definitely bake this again.. (However my glaze was too runny and i just eyeballed it, if i wanted to make it thicker should I just add more icing sugar?)

    • Reply
      November 17, 2018 at 1:51 pm

      Hi Ayesha! Yes, you need to use more powdered sugar to make the glaze thicker, or just add a little bit of liquid, until you like the consistency.

  • Reply
    March 16, 2019 at 2:15 pm

    I made this cake twice in the last week!! The first time I followed the recipe exactly and everyone found that there was a bit too much shredded coconut and it detracted from the beautiful texture of the crumb. The second time, doubled the recipe and made it in a large bundt pan (baking took 65 minutes rotating a quarter turn every 15 minutes) I subbed limoncello for the rum (in both the batter and the glaze) and skipped the shredded coconut, and added 1/2 tsp coconut extract to really heighten the coconut flavour. It was a huge hit, and I will definitely be making it again!! Delicious and beautiful cake!!

  • Reply
    July 3, 2019 at 7:12 am

    What size is a tablespoon? The same as a dessert spoon? I’m in the UK. Thanks.

    • Reply
      July 17, 2019 at 3:07 am

      1 tablespoon = 15 ml, 1 teaspoon = 5 ml.

  • Reply
    July 21, 2019 at 8:17 am

    I just made this but made a lemon and coconut buttercream for the icing.

    So good!

    Really moist, easy to make and impressed my family.

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