Coconut Upside Down Cake

Today’s cute little coconut cake is the first the item I’ve tried  from The Cake Cook Book — the one I bought at Bonnie Slotnick’s shop in New York.

coconut upside down cake

It’s by some ladies who really know how to have fun.

The Cake Book

And the great thing is it’s still for sale on Amazon with prices ranging from 96 cents to 17 dollars.

The Cake Book

The cakes are all practical and tailored to a variety of different occasions, including weeknight desserts, which is the category I’d put this cake in. Of course in the book, it’s categorized under “Cakes That Top Themselves and Somersault”.  See? I told you the authors were all about good times.

Okay, moving on (before my coffee wears off).  This is a cake where the stuff you put on the bottom is flipped over to become the top. In this case, it’s a mixture of coconut, brown sugar and butter.

I updated the recipe a bit by lining the metal pan with nonstick foil just to ensure that the topping wouldn’t stick to the pan when flipped.  It did the trick.  Also, because the recipe had no salt, I added a little of that too.  And just so you know, the only real fat in the cake’s crumb comes from the egg and sour cream — there’s no butter, so make sure you use full-fat regular sour cream rather than the light stuff.

It’s a nifty little cake, and perfect for serving with the season’s fresh berries. I garnished the plate with some caramel syrup, which turned out be a really good idea. Whipped cream is also an excellent addition (when is it not?), but I didn’t want to block out the topping so I didn’t put any whipped cream in the photo.

4.0 from 1 reviews
Sybil Hancock's Upside Down Coconut Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
An old fashioned cake that is flipped, so that the bottom become the topping.
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup room temperature sour cream, not light
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked or shredded coconut
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8 inch metal cake pan with nonstick foil.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the brown sugar and egg.
  3. Dissolve the baking soda in the sour cream, then add that to the egg mixture. Beat with a hand-held mixer until well mixed. Beat in the salt and vanilla.
  4. Sift together the flour and baking powder, then add to the batter in three parts, stirring until incorporated.
  5. In a separate bowl, stir together the butter and brown sugar until thoroughly mixed, then add the coconut and stir until evenly incorporated. Spread the coconut mixture over the bottom of the pan.
  6. Pour the batter over the coconut, spreading gently to the edges. Bake at 325F for 40 minutes or until cake is brown, set, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cake cool completely, then carefully invert onto a serving tray. Peel away the foil. Serve with berries and whipped cream.
I used angel flake type coconut.

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  1. says

    Wow, I was looking for something coconutty to make this weekend…. and this might be it. My dad is a pretty big coconut fan, so it might be perfect… unless of course he wants lemon meringue…. again :).

  2. says

    I know, I’m a little late to the welcome home from NY party, but better late than never. 😉
    And what a fun cook book. I love it! And this cake looks great. I love that–cakes that top themselves and somersault.

  3. says

    My husband and I both love coconut cake and really coconut anything!!! I love old cookbooks. I have a set of old ones that are called Home Economics Cookbooks and they are a set of several categories. The cake one has tons of different cakes in it. Old cookbooks are so much fun!

  4. KAnn says

    I can remember making a coconut upside down cake back in high school (the late 70’s!) and remember it being delicious! I haven’t made another one but given that I adore coconut and it was so easy, I really should. I still remember that the recipe was from a NY Times cookbook….

  5. says

    so can you use low-fat sour cream? [sorry, couldn’t resist]

    thanks so much for including their bios. i like how they said that Ruth Voss is living with her BACHELOR son. they felt that was worth noting

  6. Patty H. says

    I need to try to find this book, since I live 10 miles from Ark City(Arkansas City), Love this post and the cake.

  7. Diane Turley says

    That looks good, I like that it doesn’t have all that much fat in it. Will try it!!

  8. Jennifer says

    That looks delicious. I love coconut. Sadly, my family does not, so I would be forced to consume the WHOLE cake all by myself.

  9. says

    This looks really interesting. I love coconut and have been wanting to try and upside down cake made with something other than pineapple. Thanks for sharing it!

  10. Robin says

    i just finished eating a piece of this cake and all I can say is wow! The cake has a wonderful chewy texture and the topping adds a nice crunch! Thank you for sharing. Btw my husband and I think every recipe you have on here looks incredible and I’m looking forward to trying more! Thanks again!

  11. says

    Thanks Robin! If you are a coconut lover, you have to try the White Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie, too. It’s from Lora Brody and it is fabulous.

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