Old Fashioned Coconut Cake


Basic 1-2-3-4 cake with a replacement of 1 cup canned, unsweetened coconut milk instead of regular milk. Paired with a delectable and delicious Swiss meringue buttercream icing...oh my!

Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
30 mins
Additional Time:
40 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 40 mins
1 9-inch, 3-layer cake



  • ½ cup butter, room temperature

  • ½ cup margarine, room temperature

  • 2 cups white sugar

  • 3 cups cake flour

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 4 eggs, room temperature

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  • 1 cup sour cream

  • ¾ cup white sugar

  • ½ cup sweetened flaked coconut

  • 4 tablespoons milk

Swiss Meringue Buttercream:

  • 1 cup white sugar

  • 5 egg whites

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

  • teaspoon salt

  • 1 ½ cups unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons sweetened flaked coconut, or as desired


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

  2. Beat butter and margarine together using an electric mixer in a bowl until creamy. Add sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy.

  3. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together in a separate bowl.

  4. Add eggs one at a time to creamed mixture, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture alternately with coconut milk and vanilla extract, beating after each addition until smooth. Pour about 2 1/3 cups batter into each prepared cake pan.

  5. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cake layers cool in pans for 10 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely, about 30 minutes more.

  6. Stir sour cream, sugar, coconut, and milk together in a bowl until filling is well blended.

  7. Remove one cake layer from the pan and invert onto a cake plate. Poke holes approximately 1-inch apart using the end of a wooden spoon until entire cake has been poked. Spread 1/3 of the filling on the cake layer. Top with second layer; repeat process. Top with last layer and repeat process again.

  8. Combine sugar and egg whites in the top of a double boiler. Heat the pot over boiling water, stirring with a wire whisk until all sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

  9. Transfer sugar mixture to the bowl of an electric stand mixer and beat using the wire attachment until soft peaks form. Switch to the paddle attachment. Pour in vanilla extract and salt. Beat in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until fully incorporated. Beat until meringue reaches a thick buttercream consistency. Spread onto cake. Decorate with coconut as desired.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

631 Calories
37g Fat
71g Carbs
6g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 16
Calories 631
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 37g 47%
Saturated Fat 21g 107%
Cholesterol 109mg 36%
Sodium 344mg 15%
Total Carbohydrate 71g 26%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 49g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 95mg 7%
Iron 3mg 16%
Potassium 141mg 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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