Whether you’re from the south or you simply just love coconut, a coconut cake is the best way to incorporate luscious, moist white cake with plenty of crispy, crunchy coconut flakes. This southern coconut cake recipe just might be the best coconut cake recipe you’ve ever tried, much less made in your very own kitchen.
This cake has plenty of delightful textures and flavors to make this a great cake to make for a birthday, for a holiday gathering or just on a rainy afternoon when you’re craving something sweet.
Origin of Coconut Cake
Coconut cakes have been a stable within American homes since the colonial era, with a coconut cake recipe dating as far back as 1770. As coconut flakes or shreds are easy to store and last a long time, coconut along with sugar were two staples to find within any kitchen. While other ingredients may have been lacking or harder to find, the access to these types of ingredients were so abundant that the coconut cake became an easy dessert.
What Pairs Well with A Southern Coconut Cake Recipe?
You simply cannot go wrong with a tall glass of milk when it comes to any cake, and the same applied to this coconut cake. While this cake is great as a standalone, you can easily pair some fresh pineapple on the side of the cake with a drizzle of dark chocolate syrup to add some more intrigue to the plate, or you can also incorporate toasted almonds on top of the cake for better overall presentation and bite.
Can I Make This Recipe Gluten Free?
You can absolutely make this coconut cake recipe gluten free by using any type of gluten free flour. Keep in mind that gluten free flours are a bit different, so whether you choose almond flour, buckwheat flour, sorghum flour or even oat flour – make sure you are incorporating appropriate ingredients to get these flours to rise as you would with all purpose flour.
Alternatives to Coconut If You Have Allergies
A good swap to this cake if you are allergic to coconut is by using almond. You can easily switch out the coconut milk for almond milk, and instead of shredded coconut, you can caramelize, or sugar coat sliced almonds to decorate the cake on the outside and even incorporate on the inside. Almonds become delightfully sweet once they are roasted, and if you swirl some in a pan with some sugar, it will coat the almonds and you will be left with crunchy, perfectly toasted sweet almond slices.
How to Make the Best Southern Coconut Cake Recipe?
By finding these simple ingredients and following these steps, you will be on your way to making the best southern coconut cake recipe you can find. Invite your friends over because this cake is going to be a showstopper for sure. Unless you want it all to yourself – which you just might after you see how great it tastes.
- (1) 13 x 9 sheet pan or (2) 8-inch round pans
Ingredients for the Coconut Cake Recipe:
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 6 tbsp corn starch
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- ¾ cup unsalted room temperature butter (1.5 sticks)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
Ingredients to mix into your Cream Ingredients
- ½ cup sour cream
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp coconut extract (optional)
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 5 egg whites + ⅛ tsp cream of tartar
- 1 cup shredded coconut
Directions to prepare the Coconut Cake Recipe:
Step 1: The Prep Work
You can begin the prep work with preheating the oven to a nice 350 degrees F. The, take your cake pans, or muffin tins if you’re doing muffins, and give them a decent coat of non-stick cooking spray. This will make sure the batter does stick during baking.
Step 2: Sifting Dry Ingredients
Take your all-purpose flour, the corn starch, the baking poser, and then the salt from your list and sift them all together in a bowl. Then set that bowl aside for later in the recipe. Sifting dry ingredients ensures even distribution.
Step 3: Creaming
In a second bowl, cream together the rest of the ingredients. This includes the butter, sugar, and oil. With a spoon or spatula, work them all together until you get one, nice, creamy substance. Then add the sour cream, extracts of vanilla and coconut and blend those in as well.
Step 4: Add Your Sifted Ingredients
Take your first bowl of dry sifted ingredients and slowly add the contents to the wet bowl, stirring softly as you go, and alternating with the coconut milk. Once everything is added, make sure to mix it all really well to prevent lumps. Set aside.
Step 5: Creating Your Peaks
In a third bowl, preferably glass, whip up the egg white using a power mixer. You can do this step by hand, but we don’t recommend it. As soon as it becomes sort of foamy you can then add cream of tartar. But don’t stop, keep whipping everything on a high speed until you get lovely soft peaks forming. Once done, carefully fold the whipped mixture into your cake batter.
Tip: stick the glass bowl in the freezer for a few minutes. The frostiness helps form your peaks faster.
Step 6: Baking
Take your bowl of combined ingredients and pour it into round cake pans or muffin tins. Then bake in the oven no 350 degrees F for about 30-40 minutes. Less for muffins, just check frequently. To test if its baked thoroughly, just stick a toothpick or a clean knife into the middle. If the item comes out clean of batter, then is baked well. If there’s signs of batter, leave to bake for another 5-10 minutes. Checking every couple of minutes.
Step 7: Cooling
Once it’s all baked, remove the pan(s) from the oven and allow it to cool to about room temperature.
Step 8: Making Frosting
This frosting is so easy and delicious! Just toss your cream cheese in a bowl with a cup of sugar and then add your milk. Whip all three together with a whisk or a power mixer, whichever you prefer, and you have your luscious cream cheese frosting! Cover the cake and then top with toasted coconut to enjoy!