Coconut Cake


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If you want a show-stopper of a cake, look no more! This three-layer rave review coconut cake is a taste of the tropics. Jam-packed with coconut and pecans you’ll be making this cake for years to come.

Can’t make this coconut cake now, pin it for later!

Coconut cake on a cake stand

I’m sharing one of my all-time favorite cakes, and probably the oldest recipe in my collection. My Mom got this recipe a very long time ago. It kind of sounds funny to say that but it was about 50 or more years ago.

It quickly became a family favorite as my Mom made it many, many times throughout the years. I have made it more times than I can count for everything from Christmas to Easter because it’s a beautiful cake for any occasion.

Slice of 3 layer coconut cake on a blue plate.

Being a 3 layer cake, it’s a show stopper and always WOW’s guests. My Mom had the brilliant idea because she thought that sometimes 3 layers was too much (silly Mom), she would frost 2 layers for her gathering and then give a single layer to a neighbor.

Me…I’m a bit more selfish…I want it all for myself. This cake is that good. I will share, but secretly, I want it all to myself.

Toasted coconut in a skillet.

Although this cake starts with a mix, there are a few steps. First you must toast the coconut. I do this in a pan in melted butter over LOW heat. Don’t rush this process or you will burn the coconut. Trust me on this one. My coconut pineapple bread has an alternate method for toasting but this is how I always do it.

Coconut cake layer on cooling rack

The layers are delicate so use care when removing from the pans. When topping the cake with additional toasted coconut, gently press into the frosting.

Twitter image for coconut cake.

Coconut Cake

If you want a show-stopper of a cake, look no more! This three-layer rave review coconut cake is a taste of the tropics. Jam-packed with coconut and pecans you'll be making this cake for years to come.
4.93 from 28 votes
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Course: Desserts and Sweets
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 – 14 servings


  • 1 package yellow cake mix regular size
  • 1 package 3-1/2 ounces instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1-1/3 cups water
  • 4 eggs room temperature
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


  • 4 tablespoons butter divided
  • 2 cups coconut
  • 1 package 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 teaspoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar


  • In a large bowl, blend cake mix with pudding, water, eggs and oil. Beat at medium speed for 3 minutes. Stir in coconut and nuts. Pour into three greased and floured 8-in. round baking pans. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until cake springs back when touched in center. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove to rack to complete cooling.
  • For frosting, melt 2 tablespoons butter in skillet; add coconut and stir constantly over low heat until golden brown. Spread coconut on absorbent paper towel to cool. Cream remaining 2 tablespoons butter with cream cheese, milk and vanilla. Add sugar, beating well to blend. Stir in 1-1/2 cups toasted coconut; spread on top and sides of cake. Sprinkle remaining coconut over cake.

Pinterest image for coconut cake.

Tropical Flavors

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Top view of coconut cake

This was first published as Rave Review Coconut Cake on November 13, 2016.

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  1. 5 stars
    My husband and I stopped at The Boiling Point restaurant in Sulfur Springs, Louisiana in April – which is a small place with wonderful Cajun cooking. We were on a road trip to New Orleans, so when we saw little packages of individually-wrapped desserts by the cash register, we picked up one labeled: “Race Review Coconut Cake”. We took one bite if it when we got into the car, because it didn’t look that great jumbled up in the cellophane. We were thunderstruck!! It was the best cake we’d ever tasted in our lives! I googled “Rave Review Coconut Cake and lo and behold your website popped up with this recipe. I tried it, and IT IS THE EXACT SAME CAKE! Hallelujah! (My nephew ate almost an entire cake single-handedly, licking his plate clean after each serving What a treat – thank you so much for posting this!

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  6. It’s recipes like this that make me wish I wasn’t the only coconut lover in the house! I WILL think of an excuse to bake up this beauty!!!

4.93 from 28 votes (27 ratings without comment)

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