Small Coconut Layer Cake

Tonight I made a really great coconut cake. The full version of the recipe is located on Recipezaar, but as usual I made modifications. First off, who has self rising flour? Well, I do. But I figured not many other people would so I went ahead and made my own by adding baking powder and salt. Next, I halved the recipe and baked the cake in 2 8 – inch round pans instead of 3 9 – inch. The cake is a little shorter, but the halved version worked perfectly. Todd keeps saying what a great cake this is and since I make a lot of coconut cakes, that’s a big compliment.

Oh, one final note. For the 7 minute Icing, I made the full batch. I hate skimping on icing.

coconut layer cake


Small Coconut Layer Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
An 8 inch coconut layer cake
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (6.8 oz)** -- spoon and sweep
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk (not lite) (Taste of Thai or Thai Kitchen)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/3 cup flaked coconut
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk or cream
7 Minute Icing:
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/3 teaspoon cream of tartar or 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • Sweetened coconut flakes (1 cup) -- optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8 inch round metal cake pans.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together 2 or 3 times. Set aside.
  3. Beat butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl. When light and fluffy, beat in eggs, one at a time, beating 30 seconds after each egg. Beat in vanilla.
  4. Stir the flour mixture and coconut milk into the batter in three parts, alternating between flour and coconut milk. Do this with lowest speed of mixer or preferably, a mixing spoon.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans and bake for 22-24 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then flip onto a rack and cool completely.
  6. While cakes cook and cool, prepare filling. Mix together sugar, sour cream, coconut and milk. Keep chilled until ready to use.
  7. Make the 7-Minute Icing.
  8. Combine sugar, cream of tartar or corn syrup, salt, water, and egg whites in the top of a double boiler. Beat with a hand-held electric mixer for 1 minute. Place pan over boiling water, being sure that boiling water does not touch the bottom of the top pan. Beat constantly on high speed with electric mixer for 7 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Stir in the coconut if using.
If you have self-rising flour, omit the baking powder and salt and use self-rising

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  1. Sue says

    My husband loves coconut. I should try this sometime. I keep meaning to make him coconut cream pie, but I don’t seem to get it done.

  2. Carole R. says

    Do you think it would work in 1 13 x 9 x 2?

    My Food lovers companion says that a 8 x 2-inch round pan holds 6 cups of batter. So two pans would be 12 cups. A 13 x 9 x 2 inch pan holds 15 cups. So my c ake would not be too tall.

  3. KAnn says

    The cake looks wonderful! Coconut may just be my very favorite flavor-possibly ahead of chocolate-very close, at least! I do many coconut desserts and cookies but I have never done a coconut layer cake. Anna, is there an alternative to the 7 Minute Icing?

    btw, coconut fans, LaraBar will be introducing Coconut Cream Pie flavor next month and it tastes incredible, too, if you are fond of LaraBars.

  4. says

    What a great looking cake Anna. Opened coconut milk cans tend to call our names to be used, they get me everytime! Good thing you did the full amount of frosting, it looks perfect like that!

  5. says

    What a ko-winkidink!
    Bobby Flay on Food Network had a coconut cake throw down this weekend- your posting makes me REALLY want to make one too! I suppose the Food Network website has the recipes they used. The challenger sliced his layers so he ended up 9 layers and used a cream cheese-based frosting.
    It’s my birthday this weekend- maybe I’ll have to indulge myself? (My hips just screamed “NO!”)

  6. jodycakes says

    This is a beautiful little gem of a cake!!!
    I wish more people would order coconut cakes…I love to bake with the stuff!!!
    Keep all those beautiful creations a-coming…
    jodycakes (from where’s my damn answer)

  7. says

    I’ve been looking for a good coconut cake recipe to make for my boyfriend. This one looks perfect and your picture is just delectable!

  8. says

    Coconut cake is one of my very favorite things. Quinn doesn’t like coconut at all, so I can’t remember the last time I made one. I’ve been tempted to scale a recipe way back and just make one for myself. Sad, huh? Oh, and I’m not an icing skimper either. The more, the better.

  9. says

    Looks really yummy! Too bad my kids and my husband don’t really like cake, especially frosting. (Yes, they’re crazy!) I shouldn’t eat any anyway.

  10. says

    Sue, this is a good one. It comes together surprisingly quickly, even with the 7 minute icing.

    Carole, I think a 9 inch square pan would work better. You might not use all of the batter, but you’d get a nice tall square cake.

    KAnn, I loved the 7 minute icing, but you could just make a double or triple batch of the filling and slop some of that over the top. Then you could cover the whole thing in whipped cream, I guess.

    Honey, I’m not a coconut lover and I liked the cake. You would love it.

    Rita, yes. I hate having coconut milk lying around. It doesn’t keep well. Whole Food sells it in 7 oz cans. I wish everyone would.

    Veggiegirl, thanks for the tip. I don’t have that book but I’ll look for it in the store.

    Susan, Mary, Cathy and Diggigirl. Since you all like coconut, you might want to experiment. I think the cream cheese icing is a good idea too and I also like the idea of somehow incorporating lemon curd. If you aren’t intimidated by slicing layers horizontally, you could make this a 4 layer cake and alternate lemon curd and the sweet coconut filling.

    Jennifer, you could halve this one again and do it in 1 8 inch pan. You’d have to split that one layer, but even if you mess up, you can glue it all back together with the filling. Scale one down for yourself.

    Jody, I’ll bet if people tried this one they’d like it. The coconut milk is kind of mild yet still flavorful. That is, you can tell it’s coconut, but it’s not in your face coconutty like coconut extract and whatnot.

    Katrina, I’ll bet one of your boys will outgrow the cake aversion…..and NONE TOO SOON.

  11. Chris says

    I just made coconut cupcakes over the weekend and posted a recipe for coconut frosting on my blog:

  12. says

    Oohh this looks so good!! I love coconut. I’d never have thought to make a filling using our cream, but both the filling and the icing look so insanely good!

  13. Debbie says

    Yum – your cake looks amazing!! Have you ever tried the Coconut Layer Cake recipe on Epicurious that is from the Shubox Cafe (Dec 1999 issue)? It is so delicious – everyone always asks for the recipe when I make it. I even used it to make my sister’s wedding cake! It uses Coco Lopez (cream of coconut) in the batter and a cream cheese frosting with coconut flakes. Without the frosting, you can barely tell the cake is coconut – it just tastes like a really moist delicious white cake. Definitely worth a try! 🙂

  14. says

    YUUUUM…I loooove anything with coconut in it, especially cake! this looks soooo good, ill be sure to try it sometime…thanks!

  15. says

    I have a coconut cake recipe that was given to me by an egullet member. Its going to be in the November issue of Southern Living. I’ll give it to you if you want it. Its long and involved.

  16. says

    So this is kind of funny, Anna. I’m getting ready to go shopping for ingredients to make this cake for my husband’s birthday. Then I remember I saved a Paula Deen coconut cake recipe from Good Housekeeping a few months ago. I thought it was the greatest thing at the time, so I found it to compare with yours and decide which to go with. They’re exactly the same, right down to the self-rising flour and 7-min. icing. Did the the person on recipezaar not give credit to Paula? Oh, well, it doesn’t matter to me…I don’t have to make a decision:) I’ll let you know how it turns out!

  17. says

    Julia, I think they did. The thing is, I’m not sure if it’s actually a Paula Deen original but rather an old Southern recipe. Then again, Paula does use a lot of self-rising flour in her earlier (pre-Food TV) recipes. It might be hers.

  18. says

    We both loved this cake! I’ve never made 7 minute icing before, and now it’s Mike’s favorite. I only have 9-inch pans, so I made one big cake and sliced it in half, which worked out fine.

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