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Six-Layer Coconut Cake

Rated as 4.55 out of 5 Stars

"'I found this recipe when going through my grandmother's old files,' explains Angela Leinenbach of Mechanicsville, Virginia. 'It is simply the best.'"
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1 h 35 m servings
Original recipe yields 12 servings


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  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk. In another large mixing bowl and with clean beaters, beat egg whites on high speed until stiff peaks form; gently fold into batter.
  2. Pour into three greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; Remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  3. In a saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Gradually stir in orange juice until smooth. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat. Stir a small amount of hot filling into eggs; return all to pan, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat. Gently stir in the butter, orange peel and extract. Cool to room temperature without stirring. Cover and refrigerate.
  4. For frosting, in a large heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, egg whites, water, salt and cream of tartar over low heat or double boiler over simmering water. With a portable mixer, beat on low speed for 1 minute. Continue beating on low over low heat until frosting reaches 160 degrees F, about 12 minutes. Pour into a large mixing bowl; add vanilla. Beat on high until frosting forms stiff peaks, about 7 minutes.
  5. Split each cake into two horizontal layers. Place bottom layer on a serving plate; top with spread with 1/3 cup filling. Repeat four more times. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread frosting over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle with coconut. Store in the refrigerator.


  • We recommend that you test your candy thermometer before each use by bringing water to a boil; the thermometer should read 212 degrees F. Adjust your recipe temperature up or down based on your test.
  • A stand mixer is recommended for beating the frosting after it reaches 160*.


Read all reviews 18
  1. 22 Ratings

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    Rated as 1 out of 5 Stars
Most helpful positive review

The cake layers and filling were straightforward to make but I had trouble with the frosting. It actually turned out nicely (formed stiff peaks as described in the recipe) but then I let it sit...

Most helpful critical review

I prefer to think of this cake as A custard-meringue-cornbread with coconut sprinkles. The whole thing was complicated and labor intensive. The flavors of the parts were great alone but in c...

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Most positive
Least positive

The cake layers and filling were straightforward to make but I had trouble with the frosting. It actually turned out nicely (formed stiff peaks as described in the recipe) but then I let it sit...

What can I say? This recipe is fantastic. The only alteration that I made was adding a few tablespoons of canola oil when creaming the butter and sugar together. It proved to be one of the mo...

OMG, this cake was to die for. Be forewarned, it takes a lot of time to prepare but it is VERY much worth the effort. I made it on Christmas Eve for Christmas dinner and it was fabulous. Even my...

This is a very lovely cake. The only thing I changed was that I added a package of frozen coconut to the cake batter because I wanted that super prominent coconut flavor - otherwise everything w...

Hmmm I wrote a review and then posted a photo and the photo posting seems to have deleted the review. Anyway, I made exactly as written except I tinted the frosting and the coconut orange (at m...

This cake earned me rave reviews! I followed the recipe exactly. It is certainly time intensive. The cake itself was very light and moist. I was worried that the frosting was too sweet but i...

This cake was so good! I will definitely make it again. The only change I made was to use lemon juice and lemon extract in the filling instead of orange juice and orange extract. It was perf...

I made the recipe as-is with the exception of mixing sour cream with milk as a sub for the buttermilk, and using sweet rice flour as a sub for the corn starch, and using pineapple juice for the ...

I tried this recipe with my dad (im 14) and i loved this cake. Im really not that much of a coconut over but this cake was awesome. I accidentally got mixed with the filling's butter and the cak...