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A slice of chocolate coconut cake on a plate.

Chocolate Coconut Cake

  • Author: Lindsay Conchar
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 12-14 Slices
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


This chocolate coconut cake is made up of three layers of moist, decadent chocolate cake. The layers are filled and frosted with fluffy coconut buttercream and covered with sweetened shredded coconut. You won’t be able to stop at one slice!


Chocolate Cake

  • 2 cups (260g) all-purpose flour (measured correctly)
  • 2 cups (414g) sugar
  • 3/4 cup (85g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (240ml) milk
  • 1 cup (240ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup (240ml) hot water

Coconut Buttercream

  • 2 1/2 cups (560g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 10 cups (1150g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp coconut extract
  • 68 tbsp (90ml-120ml) heavy cream
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (113g) sweetened shredded coconut


Make the Cakes

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F (148°C). Prepare three 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper circles in the bottom, and grease the sides.
  2. Add flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt to a large bowl and whisk together.
  3. Add the eggs, milk and vegetable oil to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
  4. Add vanilla to the hot water, then pour into the batter. Mix until well combined. The batter will be very thin.
  5. Divide batter evenly between cakes pans and bake for 30-33 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.
  6. Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then remove to cooling racks to cool completely.

Make the Buttercream

  1. To make the buttercream, beat the butter until smooth.
  2. Add half of the powdered sugar and mix until well combined and smooth.
  3. Add coconut extract, 3 tablespoons of heavy cream and salt and mix until well combined and smooth.
  4. Slowly add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until well combined smooth. Add additional heavy cream, as needed to get the right consistency of frosting.

To Assemble the Cake

  1. To put the cake together, use a large serrated knife to remove the domes from the top of the cakes so that they’re flat. These cakes don’t have a large dome, but I like to make sure they’re completely flat.
  2. Place the first cake on a serving plate or a cardboard cake round. Spread about 1 cup of buttercream evenly on top of the cake.
  3. Add the second layer of cake, another cup of buttercream.
  4. Top the cake with the remaining layer and frost the outside of the cake. Refer to my tutorial for frosting a smooth cake, if needed.
  5. Press the coconut onto the top and sides of the cake. Make sure to do this right after adding the frosting. As the frosting sits, it forms a slight crust and isn’t sticky anymore.
  6. Pipe swirls of the remaining buttercream onto the top of the cake. I used Ateco tip 808.
  7. Store cake in an air-tight container. It should be fine at room temperature for up to 24 hours, then should be refrigerated. Serve at room temperature or only slightly cool, not cold. The cake is best if eaten within 4-5 days.


  • Serving Size: 1 Slice
  • Calories: 963
  • Sugar: 103.9 g
  • Sodium: 408.1 mg
  • Fat: 54 g
  • Carbohydrates: 122 g
  • Protein: 4.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 115.6 mg