Fresh Coconut Cake

  • Yield 20 servings

Fresh Coconut Cake is perhaps the most beloved of all Southern cakes.

Lark Crafts, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co.

Cracking and grating fresh coconut is labor-intensive and time-consuming, but the rich, fresh, pure-white, raw coconut is worth every minute of hard work. Homemade Seven-Minute Icing adds a beautiful finish—it’s unparalleled in its light, fluffy sweetness.


2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Seven-Minute Icing:
2 egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/3 cup cold water
1 dash salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Fresh, grated meat of 1 coconut


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Prepare the pans: Spray the bottom and sides of three 9-inch round cake pans liberally with cooking spray. Place the pans on a sheet of parchment paper and trace three circles the same size as the bottoms of the pans. Cut the circles out and place in the bot­toms of the greased pans.
  3. Make the batter: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating the mixture well after each addition. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl, and beat again until the mixture is smooth, light, and creamy.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Add the vanilla. Beat the batter until smooth after each addition.
  6. Bake the cake: Gently scrape the batter into the pans, distributing all of the batter evenly among the three pans. Place in the preheated oven, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the sides of the cake have pulled away from the sides of the pan. Allow the cakes to cool in the pans, then remove from the pans and set aside until you are ready to ice them.
  7. Make the icing: Fill the bottom of a double boiler with water and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium to maintain a steady simmer. In the top of the double boiler, combine all of the ingredients except the vanilla and the fresh coconut, and beat with an electric handheld mixer (you can also whip the mixture by hand with a whisk) for 7 minutes or until the icing holds a stiff peak. Remove from the heat, add the vanilla, and then beat the icing to incorporate the vanilla.

Recipe by Mary Moon, Marietta, Ga.

Reprinted with permission from Cake Ladies: Celebrating a Southern Tradition © 2011 by Jodi Rhoden, Lark Crafts, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.



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