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Murielle Banackissa

Coconut Lovers’ Cake

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1 hour 45 mins Prep: 1 hour 15 mins Cook: 30 mins
Serves 10

A light and moist sponge topped with a rich and creamy coconut whipped cream make this delightfully coconutty cake a wonderful dessert to enjoy in the warm summer months or any time of the year if you are a coconut lover.


Coconut Cake

  • Cooking spray, melted butter, or melted coconut oil , for greasing the pan
  • 1 ½ cups cake flour
  • ½ cup organic cane sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ½ cup + 1 tbsp light coconut milk from a well-shaken can or a carton), divided
  • ½ cup filtered water
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 ½ tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp coconut extract , optional
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup


  • 2 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 14oz can full fat coconut milk , refrigerated overnight
  • 3 tbsp powdered sugar , or more to taste

Prepare the cake:

  1. Step 1

    Heat oven to 350ºF and grease an 8-inch cake or springform pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom with a round of parchment paper (no need to grease the paper).

  2. Step 2

    Sift cake flour into a large bowl. Mix in sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

  3. Step 3

    Add 1/2 cup of the light coconut milk, water, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, vanilla extract, and coconut extract, if using, to the dry ingredients. Whisk to incorporate, but be careful not to overmix.

  4. Step 4

    Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.

  5. Step 5

    While the cake is baking, in a small bowl, mix together the remaining 1 tablespoon of coconut milk along with 1 tablespoon of maple syrup.

  6. Step 6

    Remove cake from the oven and poke the surface of the cake with a toothpick. Brush the coconut milk-maple syrup mixture onto the cake.

  7. Step 7

    Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then remove from the pan and let cool completely on a rack. If using a standard cake pan, once you take it out of its pan, flip it over so that the poked side is facing up, and let cool on a rack.

Prepare the Topping:

  1. Step 1

    Toast the unsweetened shredded coconut in a dry skillet over medium heat until light brown in color, keeping a very close eye on it and stirring regularly so it doesn’t burn.

  2. Step 2

    Remove from the pan and transfer the coconut to a bowl to cool completely.

  3. Step 3

    Make the coconut whipped cream: Scoop out the solidified coconut cream from the top of the can into a medium bowl. Save the liquid coconut water to use in other recipes like smoothies.

  4. Step 4

    Whip the coconut cream using an electric hand mixer until fluffy. Stir in powdered sugar, adding more to taste.

  5. Step 5

    Spread the coconut whipped cream onto the cooled cake and sprinkle with toasted coconut.

Common Questions & Swaps

  • Can I use another flour? I have made this cake with all-purpose flour and the results were good, but not optimal. If that is all you have on hand, you can definitely use it, but know that the cake flour cake really make a big difference in the texture of the cake. If you are gluten free, an alternative would be Bob’s Red Mills 1-to-1 Baking Flour.
  • I do not have light coconut milk on hand; can I use something else? You can replace it with 1/4 cup of water + 1/4 cup of full fat coconut milk and use 1 tablespoon of full fat coconut milk in the soaking mixture. You can replace it with coconut beverage (from a carton). You can also replace it with your favorite plant based milk and add another 1/2 teaspoon of coconut extract to the batter

  • Can I use another oil? Yes, definitely, I wanted coconut to be everywhere in this recipe so I used melted coconut oil, but feel free to use melted butter, canola oil or avocado oil.

  • Can I swap the apple cider vinegar with another vinegar? Probably. I have not tried it personally, but I feel like white vinegar should be ok.

Coconut Cake on a sand surrounded by fresh coconuts and dried toasted coconut
Coconut whipped cream being spread onto the coconut cake.
Toasted shredded coconut being sprinkled onto the coconut whipped cream on the cake.
Close up of a slice of coconut cake on a spatula.

Believe it or not, I have dreamt of this cake for a long time before actually making it come to life. It started off with a memory: on of the most glorious, light, sweet Tres Leche Cake I had in Pucallpa, Peru years ago.

I wanted to replicate a similar flavor combination, without the very milky aspect to it and — quite frankly — without needing to buy or make vegan sweetened condensed milk. So I went on a mission: making the fluffiest coconut loaded cake ever!

This recipe took quite a few tries to get just right, mostly because the sponge was never reaching the level of lightness I was hoping for. Once I figured out the key combination, it became quite clear to me that there are few key things that make this cake a success:

  • Use cake flour — cake flour is much lighter than all-purpose flour and will result in a sponge that is wonderfully airy.
  • You need baking powder, baking soda and vinegar to help this cake rise to its maximum potential.
  • Light coconut milk is crucial to prevent the cake from being too heavy and not rising.

The glorious light sponge is then topped with a pillowy, rich and creamy whipped topping. I know what you might think — Murielle, it is so hard to find a coconut milk that actually separates completely and that whips up beautifully.

Do not despair, I am here to help! Here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting your full fat coconut milk for this recipe:

  • Opt for a higher quality coconut milk that contains only two ingredients: coconut and water. Nothing more.
  • If you are in Canada, my absolute favorite and most reliable product for the best whipped topping is Cha’s Organics Coconut Whipping Cream.
  • If you cannot find this product, another product that has worked wonderfully to produce a light and airy whipped cream is Native Forest’s Organic Coconut Milk.

Well, that is it you guys, I am so glad that I finally get to share with you this recipe on my blog. It is one I have been dreaming on for a while and one that is a total crowd pleaser.

If you are a coconut fan and are looking to treat yourself for your birthday or just on a random weekend, be sure to try this cake, I really think you will love it! On that note, if you do end up making this recipe, be sure to share it on Instagram and tag me (@muriellebanackissa).

Have a wonderful week my friends!

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