Toasted Coconut Cake with Coconut Buttercream

I love tropical fruit. Not durian. No! Not durian. But everything else.¬†Pineapple, mango, avacado, papaya……And my ultimate favourite is coconut just because its unique flavour and versatility. We drink and cook with coconut. The body lotion I use have coconut oil in it!

This cake is moist yet very fluffy thanks to the canola oil and vinegar. Yes! If baking with vinegar doesn’t sound foreign to you, put a little spoonful of it in the wet ingredient. Then mix in the dry ingredient, fold in the shredded coconut, it’s ready to bake.

This recipe is perfect for an 8-inch cake. Or if you love everything petite. Go bake a 5-inch cake and use the rest of the batter for these super cute mini cupcakes. Look at them. Aren’t they adorable?

Ingredients (one 8-inch 3-layer cake):
Coconut Cake
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup coconut milk
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
Coconut Buttercream
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease three 8-inch cake pans, and line bottoms with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a bowl of standing mixer with a paddle attachment, mix coconut milk, egg, oil, vanilla and vinegar on medium speed until well combined.
Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated.
Gently fold in the shredded coconut.
Evenly distribute the batter into the prepared cake pans and spread evenly.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for about 10 minutes before inverting on rack. Let cool completely before frosting.
To prepare buttercream, beat butter for a few minutes in a standing mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Add powdered sugar and turn your mixer on low, beat until the sugar incorporates with the butter. Add vanilla and coconut milk, beat on medium speed for another 3 minutes, or until buttercream becomes light and fluffy.
To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on your serving plate and spread with 1/3 cup frosting. Place another cake layer on top, and gently press down a little bit. Spread with another 1/3 cup frosting. Place the last layer of cake on top, smear a thin layer of frosting on the top and sides of the cake. Cover the cake with toasted coconut.
Cover and refrigerate the cake. Leave out in room temperature for at least an hour prior to serving.


  1. I am thinking of substituting the canola oil with coconut oil. Think that’ll be ok? And can I use regular vinegar instead of white wine? What about red wine vinegar? I have that.

    1. Yes! In fact coconut oil is such a great idea! I wouldn’t use red wine vinegar. But regular one should work fine. :)

  2. Agree with other comment about 1/2 cup milk being too much for the frosting. It was very runny. Like canned frosting, not like normal buttercream at all. It put it in the fridge to set a few hours and that helped some. If I make this again I’ll definitely cut the milk in the frosting.

  3. Hi, I was wondering if coconut milk from a carton would work here? The kind I bought says it’s unsweetened with no unnatural additives or anything. Should I go ahead and use it in this recipe?

    1. Hi Laura, I just googled the difference between canned (which I used) and boxed coconut milk, and it should be fine to use one in place of the other. Hope you enjoy the recipe. :)

    1. Hi Sarah, you can tightly plastic wrap the unfrosted cake layers and keep them in freezer for weeks. Frosted cake can be stores in the refrigerator for a few days in an air-tight container. :)

  4. How many eggs are there in this cake?
    There are no eggs mentioned in the ingredients list.

    1. Love love the idea of pairing coconut with Nutella, Caitlin! Your cupcakes look scrumptious! I am so happy that you like the recipe. :)

  5. are you sure about that 1/2 cup coconut milk in the frosting? I just made it and it was too drippy. Most buttercream frostings only require a few tbs. of milk or heavy cream.

    1. I have a very similar recipe .. I use thick canned coconut milk as well .. I only use 1 stick of butter and 1/2 cup palm shortening (fantastic for a decorator and tastes great) and then I add 1 additional cup of sugar it turns out fabulous and stiff enough to pipe onto cupcakes

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