Old-Fashioned Coconut Cake


Great coconut cake with an old-fashioned taste.

close up view of Coconut Cake with white icing and toasted coconut on a white plate
Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
20 mins
Additional Time:
2 hrs 10 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs
1 9-inch layer cake



  • 1 ½ cups white sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 4 egg yolks

  • 1 cup milk

  • ½ cup butter

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 1 ¾ cups white sugar

  • ½ cup water

  • 4 egg whites, room temperature

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar

  • 2 cups sweetened flaked coconut, or as needed


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease three 9-inch round cake pans.

  2. Mix sugar, eggs, and egg yolks together in a mixing bowl using an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

  3. Heat milk and butter in saucepan over low heat until butter melts, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

  4. Combine flour and baking powder in a bowl. Pour into egg mixture. Add vanilla extract and milk mixture; beat well using an electric mixer. Divide batter evenly among the prepared pans.

  5. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean, 15 to 18 minutes. Let cool in pans for 10 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

  6. Meanwhile, thoroughly clean mixing bowl and beaters. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar with an electric mixer until foamy.

  7. Bring sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan. Boil until a candy thermometer reads 242 degrees F (116 degrees C), 3 to 4 minutes.

  8. Beat egg whites on high speed. Carefully pour in hot sugar mixture in the side of the bowl, avoiding the beaters; continue to beat on high until stiff peaks form, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in vanilla extract.

  9. Place 1 cooled cake layer on a serving platter and frost the top. Repeat with second and third layers of cake. Complete frosting the sides, top, and throughout. Sprinkle coconut on top and smooth onto sides of cake using your hands.

Editor's Note:

For best results for the frosting, make sure the bowl and egg beaters are clean with no trace of grease and the egg whites have no streaks of yolk. Room temperature egg whites will hold more volume than cold eggs.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

475 Calories
14g Fat
82g Carbs
7g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 475
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 9g 46%
Cholesterol 118mg 39%
Sodium 252mg 11%
Total Carbohydrate 82g 30%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 60g
Protein 7g
Calcium 112mg 9%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 162mg 3%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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