Coconut Cake with coconut pastry cream


Coconut Cake with coconut pastry cream

This grown-up cake may not be covered in sweetened flaked coconut like you might be used to, but it has that same island flavor you crave and it’s oh-so-gorgeous. Sweet, moist, and fluffy — one bite of this dreamy cake and you’ll be drifting off to paradise.

Coconut Cake may be a blast from the past, but this updated version is one for the books. And it’s so much more then your average white cake. Tender and moist, with flakes of sweetened coconut throughout — its smooth, mellow coconut flavor is hard to resist. Not to be disregarded, the Coconut Pastry Cream is rich and luscious. This pudding-like coconut custard filling makes every bite pure coconut bliss.


16 servings (2½ cups filling)

Total Time

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Test Kitchen Tips

This stunning cake is a great make-ahead dessert. Be sure to wrap the unfrosted cake layers tightly and refrigerate overnight or freeze for longer storage.

Freezing the cake layers makes assembling and frosting easier. And piping a frosting border creates a dam that holds the pastry cream in place, seals cake layers together, and keeps the outer frosting looking good.


Preheat oven to 350°. Coat bottoms only of three 8×2-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray; top with parchment rounds.

For the pastry cream, whisk together yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a bowl until smooth.

Heat coconut milk in a saucepan over medium until steam begins to rise.

Whisk half the coconut milk into the yolk mixture, then slowly whisk back into pan. Bring pastry cream to a boil over medium heat and whisk constantly until thickened, about 2 minutes.

Off heat, whisk in shredded coconut, butter, vanilla, and coconut flavoring. Transfer pastry cream to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill until cold, at least 2 hours.

For the cake, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on low speed until combined. Add butter, increase speed to medium, and beat until crumbly, like fine, damp sand.

Add egg whites and whole eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl after each addition.

Add shredded coconut; beat until combined.

Combine coconut milk, coconut flavoring, and vanilla in a measuring cup with a pour spout; add to batter in 3 additions, beating until fluffy after each addition, 12 minutes.

Divide batter among prepared pans. Bake cakes until a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, 2226 minutes; cool in pans 10 minutes. Turn cakes onto a rack to cool completely. Wrap cakes in plastic wrap and freeze 1 hour.

Arrange one cake round on a serving plate. Spread a thin layer of frosting on cake. Transfer 2 cups of frosting into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip; pipe a ½-inch-thick border of frosting around outer edge on top of cake. Spread half the pastry cream inside piped border; top with second cake round. Repeat frosting and pastry cream procedure with second cake round; top with third cake round.

Frost sides and top of cake with remaining frosting; decorate cake with flaked coconut.


Mix the dry ingredients and butter until crumbly, like fine damp sand. It may form a paste (which is OK). The cause for this depends on the temperature of the butter, how much it’s mixed, along with the granulation of the sugar.


After you divide the batter among the prepared pans, level the batter in the pan, then make a slight well in the center of the batter. This helps to keep the cakes from doming as they rise.


When you open a bag of sweetened coconut it can be a little wet and sticky. To make it easier to work with, first fluff the coconut on a baking sheet or plate and let it dry out for a few minutes.

Nutritional Facts

Nutritional Facts

Per serving

Calories: 797

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 53g 81%

Saturated Fat 34g 170%

Cholesterol 182mg 60%

Sodium 392mg 16%

Carbs 82g 27%

Protein 8g

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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