Coconut Cream Cake // Your New Favorite Holiday Dessert


My husband LOVES coconut cream pie for any occasion – birthdays, Christmas, 4th of July, Earth Day, Tuesday – you catch my drift. Furthermore, my Gram is the master of all things sweet, and coconut cream pie just happens to be one of her specialties. To make a long story short, my pie pales in comparison to her pie so I had to find my own dessert niche in our family. Hence, the coconut cream cake. This cake was actually a Godsend when I first saw it in Southern Living Magazine in 2015. The recipe below is adapted from said article originally featured in Southern Living. I personally guarantee it will kick your holiday celebration up a notch.

*Disclaimer* I am all about finding healthy alternatives to desserts and comfort foods, and I truly enjoy and appreciate real, natural, unprocessed ingredients. However, I also value balance and realize that we all need to live a little.

Coconut Cream Cake

Filling Ingredients

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon table salt
6 large egg yolks
1.5 cups half-and-half
1.5 cups coconut milk
1.5 cups sweetened flaked coconut
4.5 tablespoons butter
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1.5 cup heavy cream

Cake Ingredients

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
3 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
Coconut oil

Coconut Icing Ingredients

3 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
⅓ cup sugar

Optional: toasted coconut flakes

To prepare filling:

  1. Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a heavy saucepan and whisk until combined.
  2. Combine egg yolks, half and half, and coconut milk in a large bowl and whisk.
  3. Gradually add egg mixture into sugar mixture while whisking. Whisking constantly, cook over medium heat until the mixture starts to bubble (approximately 7 minutes). Continue whisking for 1 minute before removing from heat.
  4. Add flaked coconut, butter, vanilla extract, and coconut extract and whisk together.
  5. Pour mixture in a medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap (let it directly touch the filling to prevent a film from forming on the top). Let the mixture cool to room temperature before chilling in the refrigerator for 4-24 hours.

To prepare cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. “Grease” two 9-inch cake pans with coconut oil.
  2. Beat the butter at medium speed. Once creamy, gradually add the sugar until the mixture has a “whipped” consistency and looks fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat until just combined.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. In another medium bowl, combine the milk and coconut milk. Add these mixtures (alternating) to the sugar/butter mixture starting and ending with the flour.
  5. Add the vanilla extract and coconut extract and pour evenly into the two cake pans.
  6. Back for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick can be stuck into the center and come out clean. Once finished, remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature.

To prepare icing:

  1. Beat heavy cream, vanilla extract, and coconut extract at medium-high speed until foamy, approximately 2 minutes.
  2. Gradually add sugar until stiff peaks form.

Assembling the cake:

  1. Beat the 1.5 cups of heavy cream left in the filling ingredients list until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the filling mixture using a sturdy stirring utensil like a wooden spoon.
  2. Cut both cakes in half horizontally with a serrated knife. To finish assembling, place one of the cake layers (cut side facing up) on a serving platter. Alternate the cake layers with approximately 2 cups of filling. End with the last layer of cake (cut side facing down).
  3. Ice the entire cake with the coconut frosting.
  4. Garnish with toasted coconut flakes.
  5. Indulge and enjoy!

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