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slice of coconut custard cake on a white plate with teal napkin

Coconut Custard Cake

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 12-14 slices
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


This Coconut Custard Cake is made with layers of moist coconut cake, a creamy coconut custard and coconut cream cheese frosting! It’s absolutely delicious and a dream cake for any coconut lover!


Coconut Cake Layers

  • 2 1/2 cups (325g) all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup (168g) unsalted Challenge Butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (310g) sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp coconut extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups (300ml) coconut milk

Coconut Custard

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 6 tbsp (78g) sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups (360ml) milk (whole or 2%)
  • 1 cup (75g) shredded coconut, sweetened
  • 1 tbsp (7g) salted Challenge Butter
  • 1/4 tsp coconut extract
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 16 oz (452g) Challenge Cream Cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup (224g) unsalted Challenge Butter, room temperature
  • 11 cups (1265g) powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp coconut extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (113g) shredded coconut, sweetened, toasted



  1. Prepare three 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper circles in the bottom and grease the sides. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C).
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
  3. Add the butter, sugar, oil and extracts to a large mixer bowl and beat together until light in color and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Do not skimp on the creaming time.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until mostly combined after each. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
  5. Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until mostly combined.
  6. Add the coconut milk and mix until well combined. The batter may look a little curdled, but that’s ok.
  7. Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until well combined and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated. Do not over mix the batter.
  8. Divide the batter evenly between the cakes pans and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.
  9. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool for about 2-3 minutes, then remove to cooling racks to cool completely.


  1.  To make the custard, put the egg yolks in a medium sized bowl and gently beat them together. Set aside.
  2. Add the sugar, cornstarch and milk to a large saucepan and whisk until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously, until mixture begins to thicken and bubble. You don’t want to turn up the heat to make this happen faster. The mixture needs time to thicken properly.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and add a little bit of milk mixture to the egg yolks and whisk together, then add egg mixture to milk mixture. This process tempers the eggs and ensures that you don’t scramble them.
  4. Place everything back in the pan and the pan back on the heat. Stir in the shredded coconut. Bring the mixture to a light boil. Allow to boil for 1 minute or so, stirring continuously, until thickened. Keep in mind that it will continue to thicken as it cools. Don’t boil for longer than 2 minutes, or you can overcook it and it’ll actually break down, rather than get thicker.
  5. Remove from heat and add the butter and extracts. Stir until smooth, then pour into a bowl and cover with clear wrap pressed against the top so that it doesn’t get a film on top. Set in the fridge to cool completely.


  1. To make the cream cheese frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth.
  2. Add half of the powdered sugar and mix until well combined and smooth.
  3. Add the coconut extract and vanilla extract mix until well combined.
  4. Slowly add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until well combined.


  1.  To assemble the cake, use a large serrated knife to remove the domes from the top of the cakes.
  2. Place the first layer of cake on a serving plate or a cardboard cake round. Pipe a dam of frosting around the outside of the cake. I use Ateco tip 808 for the dam so that it’s tall.
  3. Spread half of the coconut custard evenly on top of the cake layer, inside the dam.
  4. Add the second layer of cake, another dam of frosting and the remaining coconut custard.
  5. Add the final layer of cake on top, then frost the outside of the cake.
  6. Press the toasted coconut onto the sides and top of the cake, covering it fully. Do this immediately after frosting it. The frosting will “crust” as it sits and the coconut will not stick if you try to add it later.
  7. Pipe shells or swirls of frosting onto the top of the cake. Note that it’s a little tricky for the frosting to stick to the coconut, so you may want to pipe the frosting onto the cake prior to adding the coconut. It just depends on the look you want.
  8. Refrigerate well covered until ready to serve. Cake should be eaten within 3-4 days.

Keywords: coconut custard cake