Coconut Cake with Coconut Pastry Cream Filling and Vanilla Buttercream

Coconut Cake with a delicious Coconut Pastry Cream Filling and a fluffy Vanilla Buttercream. This is going to be your new go-to cake that tastes just as good as it looks! Three pillow-y soft, perfectly sweet, moist and extra coconut-y cake layers. Each layered with a homemade coconut pastry cream to give this cake that extra little bit of coconut flavor, and then generously frosted with the most delicious homemade vanilla buttercream. Trust me, this cake is the perfect treat for any coconut lover! Decorate with extra shredded coconut, dainty flowers for Spring and Summer, or a sprig of rosemary (or two!) for Christmas time, or whatever you want and whenever you want! You’ll always have a beautiful coconut cake that’s not only delicious, but more special than any other coconut cake. SO. GOOD!

coconut cake with two slices behind, roses on top, and a bowl of coconut shreds

→ This post is also available as a Web Story: Coconut Cake

About The Recipe

Happy Wednesday everybody!

Can you believe it’s the end of September already? I know I can’t! My 21st birthday was exactly two weeks ago and this cake, even though it’s two weeks late, is my celebration! I really wanted a coconut cake to celebrate the day, but my mom and I took a trip to Disney World instead! So, this cake kinda got put on hold until we got back from our trip.

Though, I wouldn’t change a thing! We had so much fun while we were at Disney. It was so nice to just take a little vacation and have some fun.

But after our vacay at the most magical place on earth was over, we were exhausted! It’s a two day drive and, let me tell you, getting in the kitchen and working really was just about appealing as doing all the laundry from the trip. We desperately needed a few days rest!

Which, don’t worry, we did get. So, this week we’ve been putting up Halloween decorations, making apple cider and, of course, recipe testing this cake!

The first test bake worked beautifully! I mean, it needed a little tweaking but…it was really the frosting that was an absolute mess. We tried to make a divinity style frosting and it just looked like melted marshmallow once we got it on the cake. It just didn’t work! So, we started again.

The second bake was everything was everything we could hope for! We also changed the frosting to a simple fluffy vanilla buttercream frosting. It all worked so amazing that we just had to share it with all of you!

slice of coconut cake on white plate

Oh, and that coconut pastry cream… It’s luscious, smooth, perfectly sweet, and extra coconut-y. If you are or know a coconut lover, this is the cake you need to bake this week!

Equipment Needed

  • Mixing Bowls
  • Whisk
  • 8-Inch Cake Pans
    Cake Tester
  • Small Pot
  • Sieve
  • Mixer
  • Piping Bags
  • Offset Spatula

Ingredients

For The Cake:

  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Sugar
  • Baking Powder
  • Salt
  • Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
  • Cream of Coconut
  • Whole Milk
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla Extract
flour, milk, egg yolks, sugar, salt, cream of coconut, egg whites, vegetable oil, vanilla, baking powder, and shredded coconut on marble counter

For The Coconut Pastry Cream:

  • Egg Yolks
  • Cornstarch
  • Sugar
  • Whole Milk
  • Salted Butter
  • Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
  • Vanilla Extract
egg yolks, milk, butter, sugar, corn starch, and shredded coconut on marble counter

For The Buttercream Frosting:

  • Salted Butter
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Heavy Cream
  • Sweetened Shredded Coconut
powdered sugar, vanilla, salt, milk, and butter on marble counter

Instructions

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and shredded coconut.

Whisk together the cream of coconut, milk, vanilla, egg yolks, and vegetable oil.

In a small bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer to medium peaks. Set aside.

Pour the wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Gently fold in egg whites.

Divide the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Bake for 25 minutes, or until cake tests done. Let cool slightly in the pans before turning out. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the egg yolks, corn starch, and sugar for the pastry cream. Stir very gently with a wooden spoon until the mixture is a smooth consistency. Do NOT beat! Set aside.

Heat milk until it just starts to bubble around the edges.

milk in a small pot

Slowly pour the heated milk into egg yolk mixture, stirring constantly.

Return the mixture to the pot and cook over medium low heat until it starts to thicken, about 2 minutes.

Whisk in butter a few Tablespoons at a time.

Strain the pastry cream through a fine meshed sieve.

Stir in the shredded coconut and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until needed.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy. About 2-3 minutes.

Gradually beat in powdered sugar.

Stir in vanilla and heavy cream. Set aside.

Level the cooled cake layers.

two cake layers with the tops cut off on a white cutting board with a serrated knife

Place a cake layer on a cake plate and pipe a ring of buttercream frosting around the edge. Spoon half of the coconut pastry cream in the center and spread evenly. Add another cake layer on top. Repeat topping.

Spread frosting around the cake and press sweetened shredded coconut on the top and sides.

How To Perfectly Frost and Decorate This Cake

  1. Let the cake layers cool completely! This is the most important. If the cake is even a tiny bit warm, the frosting may slide straight off.
  2. If your cakes have a bit of a dome on top, don’t worry! Use a serrated knife to level them. This helps build a studier cake!
  3. Place the bottom layer on a cake stand. Using a piping bag, pipe an even ring around the edge of the layer. Fill with half of the coconut pastry cream and use an offset spatula to ensure the custard is completely level with the ring of frosting.
  4. Place the 2nd layer top-side-down on top on top of the other cake layer. Be sure double check that the cake layers align!
  5. Repeat the toppings, just as you did with the first layer.
  6. Place the last layer top-side-up on top.
  7. Spoon a small amount of frosting on the top of the cake and spread evenly. Dollop the remaining frosting all around the sides of the cake, then using your spatula, smooth it into an even layer.
  8. Press coconut on the top and around the sides. Wipe any excess of the cake plate and serve!
coconut cake with flowers on a cake plate with a cake knife and more flowers behind

How To Store

This cake definitely needs to be refrigerated once it’s assembled! It should last about 3-5 days in the fridge, but you could also freeze this cake to make it last longer! To freeze, just place the whole cake in the freezer until solid, a couple of hours (or more). Once it’s solid enough to handle, you can wrap it in plastic wrap and place on a freezer safe tray and store it. You could also freeze individual slices, wrap those in plastic wrap, and keep store them in a freezer-safe bag.

You can also bake the cake layers in advance and store them in the freezer until you need them!

Other Recipes You May Like

coconut cake with slice behind, roses on top and behind the cake, a bowl of shredded coconut in front, and a cake knife

Expert Tips

  • While whipping the egg whites, be sure to not over whip! You don’t want to dry them out. You can use the whisk attachment (or even a rubber spatula) to stir the egg whites around to see if they’re properly whipped.
  • When folding the egg whites into the cake batter, be very careful not to deflate them! The whipped egg whites are what make the cake so light and airy.
  • Leveling these cakes can be a little tough because of the coconut inside the cake. So, make sure you have a sharp serrated knife and you can get on eye-level with the cake layer to make sure you’ve cut them straight. Always try to be gentle with it. Begin by cutting at the base of the dome. If it’s level after cutting that, you’re good to go! But, if it’s not, just cut small amounts until it is. Don’t be afraid of trimming it!
  • When making the pastry cream, make sure the egg yolk, corn starch, and sugar mixture is smooth and liquid-y consistency. You don’t want it lumpy!
  • Make sure you whisk in the butter while the mixture is still hot! The butter needs to melt and be mixed in thoroughly.
  • Don’t skip straining the pastry cream! You don’t want to bite into a little bit of cooked egg.
  • When making the buttercream, the butter needs to be room temperature.
  • Make sure you sift the powdered sugar!

When you make this Coconut Cake with Coconut Pastry Cream Filling and Vanilla Buttercream, leave a comment down below! We love hearing from you and answering any questions you might have! Also, be sure to tag us on social media and hashtag it #BakersTable.

coconut cake with two slices behind, roses on top, and a bowl of coconut shreds

Coconut Cake with Coconut Pastry Cream Filling and Vanilla Buttercream

This Coconut Cake is moist, fluffy, perfectly sweet, seriously delicious, and extra coconut-y! There is no better cake to bake for any and all occasions. It's truly the perfect treat!
4.67 from 3 votes
Prep Time 45 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 1244 kcal

Ingredients
 

Coconut Cake

  • 2 ⅓ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 ⅓ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ cup cream of coconut
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

Coconut Pastry Cream

  • 6 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • ¼ cup salted butter
  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

American Buttercream Frosting

  • 2 ¼ cups salted butter, room temperature
  • 6 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons heavy cream

To Finish

  • 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

Instructions

Cake

  • Heat oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Spray 3 8-inch round cake pans with baking spray. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and coconut. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together cream of coconut, milk, vegetable oil, egg yolks, and vanilla. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, beat egg whites with an electric mixer to medium peaks. Set aside.
  • Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  • Fold in egg whites.
  • Divide evenly into prepared pans.
  • Bake for 25 minutes, or until cake tests done.

Pastry Cream

  • In a medium bowl, combine egg yolks, corn starch, and sugar.
  • Stir together gently with a wooden spoon. Do NOT beat.
  • Continue stirring until mixture smooths out. Set aside.
  • Heat milk until it just starts to bubble around the edges.
  • Slowly pour milk into egg yolk mixture, stirring constantly.
  • Return mixture to pot and cook over medium low heat until it starts to thicken, about 2 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and whisk in butter.
  • Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl.
  • Stir in coconut and vanilla.
  • Cover with a piece of plastic wrap touching the top of the custard.
  • Refrigerate until needed.

Frosting

  • Beat butter until light and fluffy.
  • Gradually beat in powdered sugar.
  • Stir in vanilla and heavy cream.

Putting It Together

  • Level cake layers.
  • Place one layer on cake plate.
  • Pipe a ring of frosting around the outside of the cake layer.
  • Spoon half of custard into the center and spread evenly on top within the ring of frosting.
  • Add another cake layer and repeat topping.
  • Add last cake layer and spread with remaining frosting.
  • Sprinkle coconut on top and press around sides of cake.

Notes

  • While whipping the egg whites, be sure to not over whip! You don’t want to dry them out. You can use the whisk attachment (or even a rubber spatula) to stir the egg whites around to see if they’re properly whipped.
  • When folding the egg whites into the cake batter, be very careful not to deflate them! The whipped egg whites are what make the cake so light and airy.
  • Leveling these cakes can be a little tough because of the coconut inside the cake. So, make sure you have a sharp serrated knife and you can get on eye-level with the cake layer to make sure you’ve cut them straight. Always try to be gentle with it. Begin by cutting at the base of the dome. If it’s level after cutting that, you’re good to go! But, if it’s not, just cut small amounts until it is. Don’t be afraid of trimming it!
  • When making the pastry cream, make sure the egg yolk, corn starch, and sugar mixture is smooth and liquid-y consistency. You don’t want it lumpy!
  • Make sure you whisk in the butter while the mixture is still hot! The butter needs to melt and be mixed in thoroughly.
  • Don’t skip straining the pastry cream! You don’t want to bite into a little bit of cooked egg.
  • When making the buttercream, the butter needs to be room temperature.
  • Make sure you sift the powdered sugar!

Nutrition

Serving: 1SliceCalories: 1244kcalCarbohydrates: 139gProtein: 10gFat: 75gSaturated Fat: 54gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 247mgSodium: 642mgPotassium: 313mgFiber: 5gSugar: 112gVitamin A: 1423IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 164mgIron: 3mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

When you make this recipe, remember to tag @abakers_table or hashtag it #BakersTable!

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