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Coconut Cake Done!

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  • 1 (Medium to Large) Fresh Coconut
  • 1 Box White Cake Mix
  • 9 (3 for Cake, 6 for Frosting) Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 1/2 Cups Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Light Corn Syrup
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Coconut Cake

A beautiful cake that's fun to make and even better to eat!

1 hour, 30 minutes

Serves: 10-12


The flavor of coconut really stands out in this cake that looks amazing when it's served and is a delight to eat!

This coconut cake is an absolute dream! I was trying to figure out a cake to make for my husband, Scott’s, birthday and asked my mom. She said, “What about the coconut cake that Grandma used to make?” So, after a quick call to Granda and her explaining the recipe to me over the phone, I was ready to give it a try. Grandma came up with this cake when she had to make a birthday cake for my Great Grandma Hintz (Grandma’s Mom) who didn’t like chocolate. (How is that possible?!)

The idea of this coconut cake is basically to make a white cake mix but substitute the water in the cake mix, with water from a fresh coconut. This is absolutely vital and can’t be substituted. When you’re shopping for the coconut, be sure to shake it and choose one that sounds and feels like it has a lot of water inside. There are quite a few ways to get the water out of the coconut and to separate the meat to grate it. I’ve included instructions on how I did it, but feel to research other ways as well. I’m not 100% sure mine is the best.

This is a great cake to make for any occasion. The end result though is so classic and impressive that it’s great for birthday or any other special occasion. It’s also a great project to introduce you to working with fresh coconut!

Please try making my Grandma’s Coconut Cake and let me know how it goes! Or share a picture with me on Instagram (@bdhbakes).



  • Preheat Oven to 350º 
  • Drain the Coconut 

    Wrap a kitchen towel around the bottom of your coconut and settle it into a large bowl. Take a big nail (or something similar) and hammer it into two of the three indentations at the top of the coconut. Turn the coconut over and let is sit atop a bowl or large measuring cup to drain completely.

    Coconut Cake Nail Into Indentation
  • Prep Your Pans 

    Get your pans ready for baking by lining the bottom of each with parchment and then spray well with baking spray.

  • Mix the Cake Batter 

    Mix the cake batter according to the package directions EXCEPT substitute the water with the coconut water you drained from the coconut. Also, even if the cake mix box calls for egg whites, use the whole egg. Mix all ingredients together until well incorporated. I recommend doing it by hand with a whisk and mixing just until everything has been moistened. Over mixing cakes can quickly make them tough and dry.

    Coconut Cake Ingredients
    Coconut Cake Batter
  • Pour Into Baking Tins & Bake 

    Pour the batter in to your baking dish. I use a small kitchen scale to make sure they're about even in each of the two baking dishes. Bake them in your preheated over for about 25-30 minutes (or according to the package directions).

    Coconut Cake Pour Batter
    Coconut Cake Baked
  • Allow the Cakes to Cool 

    When the cakes are ready and a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean, take them out of the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 10 mintues. After 10 minutes, take a butter knife and run it around the edges of each cake and gently flips the cakes over onto the wire wracks. Allow them to rest on the wire racked (inverted) until completely cool. About two hours.

  • Shred the Coconut 

    While the cakes are baking and cooling, now is the time to grate the coconut. You'll want to hammer the coconut shell to break it up into smaller chunks. If it doesn't break apart easily, you can pop it into the oven for a few minutes to help the shell dry out and crack. About 10 minutes should work. Put a towel over the coconut while you hammer so you don't have chunks flying everywhere. Once you've broken it apart, you'll want to separate the white part from the shell. This may require using a paring knife to cut it away. Then, there will still be a harder, brown outside skin on the coconut meat. Remove that with a knife or vegetable peeler. (I found a knife was a bit easier). Next, take your coconut chunks and great them by hand or in a food processor with the grating attachment. Be sure to sneak a few pieces to nibble on while you're grating. Baker's treat!

    Coconut Cake Hammer Coconut
    Coconut Cake Coconut Pieces
    Coconut Cake Grating
    Coconut Cake Grated Coconut
  • Make the Frosting 

    Grandma always frosted the cake with Seven-Minute Frosting. Here's Martha Stewarts recipe for that which is nearly identical to what Grandma always did:

  • Assemble and Decorate the Cake 

    Once the cake pieces have cooled completely, it's time to decorate. Put your first cake on your serving dish and keep it inverted. This way the top is flat. Spread about 3/4 cup or more of the frosting over this layer and sprinkle a good handful of shredded coconut. Next, top the cake with the remaining layer, again inverted. Frost the entire cake with the remaining frosting and then cover it with as much of the shredded coconut as you possibly can. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before eating and keep any leftovers refrigerated as well.

    Coconut Cake First Layer
    Coconut Cake Frosted First Layer
    Coconut Cake Second Layer
    Coconut Cake Done!



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