Last-Minute Coconut Cake

Last-Minute Coconut Cake

12 servings

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 25-30 minutes

Total Time: 50-55 minutes

Use your favorite white cake for this recipe, whether it be from scratch or from a mix. I use my yellow cake mix and turn it white by adding egg whites and sour cream. A great coconut cake needs coconut flavor in the cake, so add ½ teaspoon coconut extract. And the frosting, too, is flavored with coconut, and the top and sides are piled with shredded sweetened coconut. Either bake 3 layers or bake 2 layers and split them in half horizontally to make four layers.

Note: I baked this cake with the Cake Mix Doctor’s Old-Fashioned Yellow Cake Mix. You can buy the mix here

Not a fan of all white coconut cake? -Use my cake mix, adding 1 stick soft butter, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 3 whole large eggs, 1 cup warm milk, and 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract for a beautiful cake with buttery flavor.


  • 1 package (21.6 ounces) yellow cake mix (see Note)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 large egg whites
  • ½ cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon coconut extract
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2 cups shredded sweetened coconut for packing onto the top and sides of the cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two or three 9-inch cake pans.
  2. Place the cake mix, sour cream, egg whites, water, oil, and coconut extract in a large bowl. With an electric mixer, beat on low for 30 seconds, scrape down the bowl, then beat on medium 1 to 2 minutes, or until the batter is smooth.
  3. Divide the batter between the pans, and place the pans in the oven. Bake 25 to 30 minutes for two layers or 20 to 25 minutes for three, or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed in the center.
  4. Let the layers cool 10 minutes in the pans. Run a knife around the edges, and invert the layers onto racks to cool right-side up.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the frosting. Place the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until creamy. Add the coconut and vanilla extracts and the confectioners’ sugar, a cup at a time, beating on low until just combined. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high to whip the frosting and incorporate air.
  6. To assemble the cake, place one layer on a cake plate or stand, spread with frosting, top with a second layer, frost, then a third layer (and possibly fourth layer) and frost, leaving enough frosting to frost the sides and top of the cake. Press the coconut generously onto the top of the cake. Press coconut onto the sides of the cake. Slice and serve.

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