A rich and soft old-fashioned southern coconut cake cooked with coconut milk and topped with sour cream buttercream.
The coconut taste is subtle, and the addition of coconut milk makes this cake one of the moistest you’ll ever eat. Spread shredded coconut over the outside of the cake to make THE ideal coconut cake.
It’s ideal for spring, Easter, or any other occasion when you want coconut cake.
I’m a sucker for a delicious coconut cake. One with a mild coconut taste, but not so strong that it overpowers you.
This classic southern coconut cake is simply thata traditional southern coconut cake with no overpowering taste.
The sour cream buttercream lends a mild tanginess that complements the cake perfectly.
Hello there! Before you browse, there’s a lot of vital information in this article! includes the FAQ section, which may help you with any queries you have regarding this recipe. Enjoy!
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- Ingredient Notes:
- How to Make this Cake:
- Tips & FAQs:
- Supplies Used:
- Old Fashioned Southern Coconut Cake Recipe with Frosting
- Other posts you might like:
- Is coconut cake a southern thing?
- What is the history of Southern coconut cake?
- Can I add coconut to store bought frosting?
- How do you get coconut to stick to cake?
- What is traditional coconut cake?
- Where does Tom Cruise order the coconut cake from?
- Why is it called placenta cake?
- What are Elvis cakes?
- Why is it called Dream cake?
- What do you add to store-bought frosting to make it better?
Let’s speak a little bit about the components in this cake and icing. (All ingredients are listed in the recipe card below.)
Unsalted butter: Since this is a butter cake, the end result is not extremely white, but the butter gives it a richer, deeper taste. Unsalted butter is preferable since it has no added salt.
Cake flour: Instead of all-purpose flour, this cake recipe asks for cake flour, which makes it considerably more delicate. This cake is best when made using cake flour, but if you don’t have any on hand, check the FAQ section below for replacements.
This cake’s secret ingredient is coconut milk. I would not recommend replacing anything else. This cake will be very moist thanks to the use of coconut milk.
For this cake, I used Thai Kitchen Organic Coconut Milk, which can be found in most grocery stores.
Vanilla bean paste and almond emulsion: You’ll need some vanilla flavor, and I always like to add a little almond emulsion. If you can’t take almond, simply leave it out, and you can easily substitute vanilla essence for the vanilla bean paste.
Coconut emulsion: This is the star of the show since it is what gives the cake its coconut taste. You don’t want to miss out on this one.
For the buttercream, combine the following ingredients: butter, confectioners’ sugar, and sour cream: This cake’s frosting is created with butter, confectioners’ sugar, and sour cream. It has a tiny tanginess to it that complements the sweetness of the confectioners sugar.
You should refrigerate the cake if you use this buttercream since it is soft.
How to Make this Cake:
Let us now discuss how to make this cake. (Exact directions are included in the recipe card below.)
Preheat the oven to 350°F and butter and flour two 8-inch round cake pans. Next, mix together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Next, one at a time, add the eggs, mixing after each addition. Add the dry ingredients to a separate bowl.
In a separate dish, mix together the coconut milk, emulsions (or extracts), and oil. (Do not throw away the milk fat on top of the coconut milk can. Add everything, including the liquid.)
Finally, add the shredded coconut to the sugar mixture. Next, alternately add the dry and wet components to the butter.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pans and bake for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees F. Place the cakes on a rack to cool for approximately 10 minutes.
Next, remove the cakes from the pans and place them immediately on the racks to cool entirely before making the buttercream.
Top the cake with buttercream and then with crushed coconut before serving.
Be care to keep this cake in the fridge.
Tips & FAQs:
It is ideal to use cake flour since it helps to create the cake extremely soft and flexible. If you can’t find it, you can substitute it, but you’ll have to make some adjustments since it can’t be replaced cup for cup.
To use all-purpose flour instead of cake flour, use the following substitution: For every 1 cup of cake flour called for in the recipe, use 1 cup of all-purpose flour, subtract 2 tablespoons, and replace with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.
Be cautious not to overfill the measuring cup with flour. Pour the flour into the cup rather than scooping it.
Let the butter to come to room temperature on its own before beginning.
In this recipe, I would not recommend it. The liquid and fat from the coconut are required, and normal milk will not give as much fat, resulting in a drier and more thick cake.
Be careful to include the whole can, including the fat on top.
Yeah, you may leave it out, albeit the little quantity called for in the recipe just improves the taste of the cake and does not give it an almond flavor.
Indeed, if you want the cake to taste like coconut, you must add it. When coconut milk does not provide enough coconut flavor, you must supplement with coconut emulsion or extract.
It is often available on Amazon or at local craft shops that provide cake decorating items. Here’s an Amazon link to it: Emulsion of coconut
Be cautious not to over-mix the batter. Scratch cakes should not be combined for more than a few minutes at a time since they will become thick. After all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined, stop mixing.
No, you may leave it out of the batter and on the outside if you choose. You will still receive a coconut flavor if you use the coconut emulsion.
When a toothpick put into the middle of each layer comes out with a few moist crumbs or clean, but no raw batter, the cake is done.
You certainly can. In this cake, cream cheese buttercream is also wonderful.
Since this buttercream is soft, place it in the refrigerator for approximately 10-15 minutes before frosting the cake. Since the icing may get incredibly soft again, you may need to cool the cake intermittently while frosting it. If you want to transport this cake, use a thicker frosting, such as cream cheese buttercream or vanilla buttercream.
If desired, this cake may be prepared ahead of time and frozen. Let the cooked cake to cool fully before wrapping it in plastic wrap, then foil, and freezing it for up to a month. Place the covered cake on the counter at room temperature to defrost thoroughly before removing the wrapper. Add icing after the cake has been defrosted.
This cake should be kept in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 5-6 days.
This cake is ideal for springtime or as an Easter treat.
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- blending bowls
- Cake tins
- Hand held or stand mixer?
- Refrigeration racks
***I write recipes in volume (cup) measures since that is what people in the United States are accustomed to seeing and using. Click the metric button beneath the ingredients in the recipe card to get weight in metric measures. The weights are converted by a software, not by me, and the results are an educated approximation. Please keep in mind that while I prepare recipes in cups, I cannot guarantee that weighing the components will provide the same results.
Old Fashioned Southern Coconut Cake Recipe with Frosting
***I publish recipes in volume (cup) measures since that is what people are accustomed to seeing and using in the United States. Click the metric button beneath the ingredients in the recipe card to convert weight to metric measures. The weights are converted by a software rather than by me, and it is an educated assumption. Please keep in mind that while I create my recipes in cups, I cannot guarantee that weighing the components will provide the same results.
***I write recipes in volume (cups) measures since that is what people in the United States are accustomed to seeing and using. Click the metric button beneath the ingredients in the recipe card for weight in metric units. The weights are converted by a software, not by me, and it is a best approximation. Please keep in mind that while I prepare recipes in cups, I cannot guarantee that weighing the components will provide the same results.
For the cake:
- 1 cup room temperature unsalted butter
- granulated sugar 2 cups
- 3 cups of cake flour (different than all-purpose flour, see FAQs in the post)
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 quart coconut milk (from a 13 oz can) (I used Thai Kitchen Organic Coconut Milk; do not discard the solid milk fat on top of the can. Combine it with the coconut milk.)
- 1 teaspoon almond extract or emulsion (optional)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
- 1 teaspoon coconut extract or emulsion (I use LorAnn Oils coconut emulsion)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
For the buttercream:
- 2 cups room temperature unsalted butter
- 1 pinch salt
- a cup of sour cream
- 8 CUP CONFETTI SUGARS (the sour cream makes this icing soft, therefor it does need the extra confectioners sugar to thicken it.)
- 2 tbsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)
- optional crushed coconut for coating the iced cake
For the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Set aside two 8-inch circular pans that have been greased and floured.
- Cream the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until it is creamy.
- Mix in the sugar on medium until well combined, then on medium-high until fluffy—about a minute and a half to two minutes.
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing on low between each until barely incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the basin and mix for 5 to 10 seconds more.
- In a medium mixing basin, combine the cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In a separate medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the coconut milk, emulsions (or extracts), and oil. Whisk until well combined. (Do not throw away the milk fat on top of the coconut milk can. Add everything, including the liquid.)
- sugar mixture. (Begin with a third of the dry ingredients and mix on medium until barely mixed. Mix in half of the liquid components on medium until mixed. Mix in another third of the dry mixture, then the remaining liquid ingredients. Finally, add the remaining dry ingredients. With each addition, just mix until barely mixed.)
To the butter, alternately add the dry and wet components.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then add the shredded coconut and mix on medium until combined. (Take care not to overmix.)
- Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees F. A toothpick placed into the middle of the cake will either come out moist or clean.
- Take the cake layers from the oven and place them on cooling racks for 10 minutes before turning them out of the pans and straight onto the racks to cool entirely.
- Add the buttercream to the cooled cake.
- (Optional: Sprinkle shredded coconut on top of the frosted cake. For a richer taste, roast the coconut before sprinkling it over the cake.)
For the buttercream:
- With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream together the butter and salt.
- Mix in the sour cream on medium speed until smooth.
- Mix in half of the confectioners’ sugar until incorporated, then on medium until smooth.
- Mix in the remaining half of the confectioners sugar, as well as the vanilla, on low until incorporated, then on medium until smooth.
- Since this buttercream is soft, place it in the refrigerator for approximately 10-15 minutes before frosting the cake. Since the icing may get incredibly soft again, you may need to cool the cake intermittently while frosting it. If you want to transport this cake, use a thicker frosting, such as cream cheese buttercream or vanilla buttercream.
Other posts you might like:
- Cake with Pineapple and Coconut
- Cake with Apples and Coconut
- Cake Filling Concepts
- Easter Rabbit Cake with Enormous Peeps
Don’t Forget to Pin It!
Is coconut cake a southern thing?
We frequently think of southern customs like coconut cake when we think of Spring. Coconut cakes have been a staple of southern cuisine for over a century.
What is the history of Southern coconut cake?
The coconut layer cake that we know today as a Southern Christmas favorite initially appeared in “The Blue Grass Cookbook,” by Minnie Fox and John Fox, Jr., which was published in Kentucky in 1904 and attributes a number of the recipes to African American chefs.
Can I add coconut to store bought frosting?
Mix in shredded coconut: Shredded coconut may add texture and taste to vanilla frosting. Mix in 12 cup to 1 cup.
How do you get coconut to stick to cake?
To apply the toasted coconut, sprinkle coconut flakes on a small part of the cake’s side, then carefully press the flakes into the icing with a piece of parchment paper. Continue in tiny pieces until the cake’s sides are covered. More coconut flakes should be sprinkled on top of the cake.
What is traditional coconut cake?
This creamy cake, traditionally associated with the American South, is made out of at least two thick sponges topped with a coconut-flavored pastry cream or a basic meringue. The whole cake is frosted with buttercream or cream cheese icing and topped with desiccated coconut.
Where does Tom Cruise order the coconut cake from?
According to aceshowbiz.com, the actor is well-known for adding individuals to his ever-growing list of beneficiaries of the $50 White Chocolate Coconut Bundt Cake from Doan’s Bakery in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, each December.
Why is it called placenta cake?
Etymology. The Latin term placenta comes from the Greek word plakous (Ancient Greek: o, gen. – plakountos, from – plakoeis, “flat”), which refers to thin or layered flat loaves. The mammalian placenta is called because the apparent similarity between its shape and that of a placenta cake.
What are Elvis cakes?
Elvis Presley cake is made with a basic yellow cake mix and pineapple chunks to create an incredibly moist cream cheese frosted cake with chopped pecans sprinkled on top. Beginning with a cake mix and progressing to pineapple, homemade cream cheese frosting, and pecans.
Why is it called Dream cake?
This cake is popular in Denmark, where it is known as drommekage. This literally translates as “dream cake” – possibly because it tastes so lovely! A light, creamy vanilla sponge cake is covered with a chewy layer of caramelized coconut.
What do you add to store-bought frosting to make it better?
Incorporate 8 ounces of room temperature plain or flavored cream cheese. This increases the richness while reducing the sweetness of store-bought frosting. The whipped cream. Make an equal mixture of freshly whipped cream and icing.