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Best Ever Coconut Layer Cake

This Coconut Layer Cake is the best! Supremely soft and moist with amazing coconut flavor in a light and tender cake. You're going to love this show-stopping and easy cake!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Cake, Cakes/Cupcakes, Dessert
Cuisine: American, Dessert


For the Coconut Cake:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • cups granulated white sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tsp coconut extract start with 1 tsp and increase if desired
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • cups buttermilk, at room temperature

For the Coconut Buttercream Frosting:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • tsp coconut extract
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 5 cups confectioners' sugar
  • cups lightly toasted coconut see Note for toasting instructions


  • Preheat oven to 350° degrees F. Lightly grease the bottom of two 9" round light metal cake pans. Place a parchment paper round in the bottom and regrease the bottom and sides of the pans. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, oil, and granulated sugar together with the paddle attachment until creamy and fluffy, about 1 minute. Gradually add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed, followed by the vanilla and coconut extracts. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually add in part of the flour, mixing well, followed by some of the buttermilk, mixing well. Alternate adding in the flour and buttermilk, mixing after each addition, until a soft batter comes together.
  • Divide the batter evenly among the baking pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with moist, but not wet, crumbs. Cool completely in the pans.
  • For the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and extracts together with a paddle attachment until fluffy, about 30 seconds. Gradually add in the confectioners' sugar, about one cup at a time, alternating with a little of the heavy cream until frosting is light and fluffy.
  • Frost your cakes with the buttercream and immediately press the lightly toasted coconut into the still tacky buttercream frosting before the frosting sets. For best results, store the cake airtight at room temperature or in the fridge.
  • Note: For a 9x13 rectangular baking pan, bake approximately 30-35 minutes. For cupcakes, bake for approximately 15-18 minutes. For three 9" round cake pans, bake for approximately 18-20 minutes.


To lightly toast your coconut, place sweetened shredded coconut into a large dry skillet over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until light golden brown in spots. Do NOT step away from the skillet as it turns brown very quickly. Allow to cool completely before garnishing the cake.