American,  Cakes,  Desserts,  Recipes,  Type of Food

Coconut Cream Cake

Anyone that has been to a church potluck hopefully has encountered amazing dessert tables. I love a big gathering that shows off everyone’s culinary efforts. Even though you may encounter some disturbing ones, it’s still a really fun experience. On a personal note, my preference is to try foods from homes that I am familiar with. I have come across quite a few mamas and grandmas that get it right and know how to feed a crowd. They can create desserts and meals that are delicious masterpieces. 

I want to share with you a coconut cream cake recipe that is a play on our Simply Sells’ tres leches cake that we have shared already. This new recipe shows that with a few ingredient swap-outs this cake is a totally different taste experience. This coconut cream cake was actually a dessert that one of Kodi’s friends used to make in college.

The cake seems to have a sense of maturity – if a cake could be mature. In my world, its lightly toasted coconut garnish makes the cake seem very adult. We should share with our kids, but maybe we will keep it our little secret for a while longer. 

This coconut cream cake’s made-from-scratch-base is the same as our tres leches cake but the flavor is totally new. And, like the tres leches cake, the effort really is minimal. After you make the cake base and let it cool, poke the cake all over with a fork, and then pour the crema de coco (coconut cream) and sweetened condensed milk on top. Top it with homemade whipping cream, and then prepare the coconut garnishment.

Place unsweetened coconut flakes on a sheet pan and put it in the oven. Toast the flakes until they turn light golden brown, and be sure to immediately remove the pan from the oven as coconut can burn easily if left in too long. Sprinkle the top of the cake with the toasted coconut. You can even decorate the top with some toasted almonds or fresh fruit. We like to use strawberries, but it can be anything you desire! 

The moisture in this coconut cream cake fills your mouth with beautiful sweetness, and the toasted coconut is the cherry on top. This cake can really stand on its own at any occasion – party or potluck – but keep in mind that it may need refrigeration. I hope you try this delicious cake at your next gathering (small or large) and indulge in this sweet treat. Enjoy!


Coconut Cream Cake

  • Author: Sandra Sells
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cooling: 30-60 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25-30 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours


Units Scale

For the Cake:

  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour (King Arthur Flour)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (split 3/4 cup and 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 5 large eggs (separated, at room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Coconut Cream Filling:

For the Whipped Topping:

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 23 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Toasted Coconut:


For the Cake Base:

  1. Position the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350ºF.
  2. Prepare a 13×9 pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray. Set aside and have ready 3 mixing bowls.
  3. In a large bowl sift together the all purpose flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In two separate bowls separate the egg yolks and egg whites.
  5. In the bowl with egg yolks add 3/4 cup of the sugar and beat mixture until it becomes light, fluffy, and pale yellow in color (about 1-2 minutes). Add in the milk, softened butter, and pure vanilla extract. Mix until combined.
  6. In the bowl with egg whites add 1/4 cup of the sugar and beat on high until medium stiff peaks form (1-2 minutes). The mixture should be still slightly wet and not be dry.
  7. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture into the egg yolk mixture and combine gently with a spatula. Add 1/3 of the egg white mixture to the flour/egg yolk bowl and fold in gently. Repeat this step until all ingredients are combined into one bowl.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Spread mixture out evenly.
  9. Bake at 350ºF for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake.

For the Coconut Cream Filling:

  1. In a large mixing bowl or measuring cup add the crema de coco and sweetened condensed milk. Mix until combined.
  2. When the cake is fully cool pierce (stab) the cake surface all over with a fork. Slowly drizzle the cream mixture over the top of the cake.
  3. Set cake in the refrigerator for at least two hours to allow cream mixture to absorb entirely.

For the Whipped Topping:

  1. In a large mixing bowl pour in the heavy cream and sugar. Beat on high and add in pure vanilla extract. Keep beating on high until cream looks whipped, thick, and ready to spread (about 2 minutes).
  2. Spread the cream on top of the refrigerated cake.

Tip: Do not over beat cream as it can quickly turn to butter. If you start to see a yellowish color and clumping of cream you’ve gone too far!

For the Toasted Coconut:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350℉
  2. Spread the unsweetened shredded coconut on a large sheet pan in one even layer. Bake at 350℉ for 8-10 minutes stirring every 2 minutes until coconut turns brown.
  3. Remove from oven, transfer to a plate and allow to cool completely. 
  4. Decorate your cake with the toasted coconut, fresh berries, or tropical fruit of your choice. Slice and enjoy!


  • Serving Size: 1 medium slice
  • Calories: 370
  • Sugar: 35 grams
  • Sodium: 96 miligrams
  • Fat: 17 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 9.7 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 47 grams
  • Protein: 5.8 grams
  • Cholesterol: 38 grams
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