Coconut Cake Recipe

This coconut cake recipe yields a deliciously moist and aromatic coconut filled cake.  A simple lemon glaze topping makes this cake a perfect treat anytime of the day!

Simple & Moist Coconut Cake Recipe

This coconut cake was my third attempt at making a coconut filled cake. It all started with me coming across shredded coconut during one of my baking supplies shopping trip. 

That was the first time I actually came across shredded coconut. I live in Malaysia and we have coconuts in abundance here. In fact, they are so common here that we have so many delicacies that are made using coconut. Most of time, these local delicacies use the coconut milk. Other than the milk, we also use the white coconut flesh however, it is always available in a much finely grated form i.e the desiccated coconut. So in all my life, that was the first time I actually saw coconut flesh in a shredded form and was so excited that I bought it without actually knowing what I would do with it.

I have seen many cakes on the internet that use shredded coconut to decorate them and have always felt that they looked really good. So when I decided to buy the shredded coconut, it did cross my mind that a coconut cake would be a good idea to use the shredded coconut for.

I have baked coconut cookies and coconut macaroons and made coconut candy before but never a cake. So I set on baking one.

I wanted to bake a coconut cake that has coconut flesh in it and not a cake that only uses the coconut milk and uses the coconut flesh to decorate them.  I have seen many recipes for coconut cake that use the coconut milk and coconut extract to flavor the cake, but hardly any that actually add coconut flesh into the cake batter.

So, after 4 attempts, I finally managed to nail down the perfect coconut cake recipe with both the coconut milk and coconut flesh added to the batter. The results - a truly aromatic, coconut filled cake that lets one feel not just the taste of coconut but the actual coconut flesh too!

The cake was pretty easy to make. I baked mine in a loaf pan and gave it a light drizzle of lemon glaze icing.

Here are a few notes about the coconut used in the recipe:

  • Coconut milk - This is the white substance that is squeezed out of the coconut flesh and not the clear water that is present in the coconuts. Coconut milk can be readily purchased from grocery stores. Sometimes, the milk tend to separate, so if that happens, shake your container well.
  • Shredded coconut - coconut in this form is slightly more coarse than the desiccated form. I used the unsweetened version and the sweetened ones will end up making the cake too sweet. I have not tried making this cake with desiccated coconut, but if you wish to try, use the fresh desiccated coconut instead of the dry one.
  • The proportion of flour in the cake to the sugar is almost half and that is because part of it is replaced by the coconut. And so, it is important that the coconut used is the unsweetened version instead of the sweetened one.
  • Baking time plays an important factor is the success of this cake. Because of the shredded coconut in the batter, this cake will have soft crumbs. However, its moist textures keeps the cake together. Over baking can result in the cake become too crumbly and so when checking for doneness, remove the cake from the oven as soon as a skewer inserted in the center comes out with a a few soft crumbs attached too it. Waiting for a stage where the skewer comes out totally clean may be a little too late for a moist coconut cake. 
  • Also because of the shredded coconut in the cake, cutting the cake requires one to use a really sharp knife that would cut through the coconut shreds. A not so sharp knife will not be able to cut through the shreds resulting in rather crumbly cake slices.

The making process is similar to most other butter cakes. It starts with the creaming of  the butter, followed by the addition of castor sugar and beating both to the point they become light and fluffy. Because the proportion of sugar to butter in this recipe is almost double, to ease the creaming process, I add half of the coconut milk in the recipe to the butter and sugar mixture and beat them all until they become all fluffy. For the measurement given in the recipe below, this process should take about 2 minutes.

Next, the eggs go in, one at a time. Make sure they are well beaten after each addition.

And then the flour goes in, alternately with the remaining coconut milk. If your butter or eggs are not at room temperature, the batter tend to cuddle at this stage and that is fine.

Next, add the vanilla essence followed by the shredded coconut. Mix well.

Pour the batter into a prepared tin. Make sure it is greased and lined with parchment for easy release of the cake.

Make sure the cake tin is line with parchment. I did not line mine with parchment and had a bit of trouble getting the cake out of the tin.

Bake the cake for about 35 to 40 minutes and do the skewer test to check if the cake is done. Remove from oven and let it rest in the tin for about 10 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

The cake can be served plain or drizzled with lemon glaze icing. Use a sharp knife to slice the cake.

Coconut Cake Recipe

Here is the full printable version of my coconut cake recipe. 

Coconut Cake Recipe

By , Sep 25, 2019

Coconut Cake with Lemon Glaze

This coconut cake recipe yields a deliciously moist and aromatic coconut filled cake. A simple lemon glaze topping makes this cake a perfect treat anytime of the day!


Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 40 Minutes
Yield: 8 inches by 4.5 inches loaf cake
Keyword: Coconut Cake Recipe
Category: Dessert


  • 115 g butter
  • 200 g castor sugar
  • 120 g plain flour
  • 115 g shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  • 150 ml coconut milk
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Cake Glaze
  • 40 g icing sugar (sifted)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp warm water


  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Grease and line an 8 inches by 4 inches loaf pan with parchment paper.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, cream butter until soft. Add castor sugar and half of the coconut milk and beat until the mixture turns light and fluffy for about 2 minutes.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time and beat well after each addition.
  5. Fold in the sifted dry ingredients alternately with the remaining coconut milk and mix until the flour is well incorporated. Add vanilla essence and mix briefly.
  6. Next, fold in the shredded coconut. Pour batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes until the cake is done.
  7. Remove the cake from oven and let it cool in tin for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. To prepare the glaze icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl. Add lemon juice and water and mix until it reaches a runny consistency.
  9. Fill the icing into a piping bag and drizzle on the cake as desired.

Happy Baking :)

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