Coconut Cake and Cupcakes

Source: Adapted from the cookbook, “Martha Stewart’s Easy Entertaining”, cir. 1992

Coconut Cake
Coconut Cake

Thelma’s Coconut Cake

Coconut cake is a delicious variation from the traditional white on white cake. This is a wonderful recipe I adapted from one of Martha Stewart’s first cookbook. In fact, I’ve been making this cake for over 25 years. It truly does seem to get better with every make, but I think the coconut plays the dominate role here.

The benefits of coconut are astounding. I’m not promoting this recipe as being ‘healthy’ per-say, however, the main attraction here is coconut. When you browse around, you’ll be amazed by some interesting coconut facts. It’s been referred to a a complete food, that can sustain life for humans. If we had no other food on this planet but coconuts, we’d all be good! They say the water int he coconut takes 9 months to purify. I’m impressed already! Does this mean you should keep a coconut cake in the freezer at all times?


This coconut cake is asked for by family and friends time and again. The cake recipe itself is perfectly light and moist, and the double layer effect is lovely. When your masterpiece is finished with the icing and the coconut on the outskirts, it’s truly a white snowball surprise. The coconut is not limited to the icing however. You’ll find plenty of it in the cake mixture. I find I make this cake more in the spring and summer, as it’s generally light. Additionally, if you’re a huge fan of cupcakes, this recipe does the trick-it out performs to any other cup-cake recipe out there.

Coconut Cake or coconut cupcakes

 Please your own crowds with this simple cake.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Cake
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 12 people



  • 1 cup butter room temperature so it’s soft
  • 1/2 cup oil use a light, non-flavor oil such as canola (organic)
  • 2 cups sugar raw, organic
  • 5 large eggs or 7 small
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup coconut shavings 1 pack, about 1 cup


  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cups powder sugar
  • 3 medium egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Alternate icing (mom’s recipe)

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1 stick butter soft, about 113 grams
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flakey coconut


For the cake

  • Directions Cake: Preheat oven to 350ºF Butter and flour two 9” round cake pans.
  • Using an electric mixer, cream the butter, oil and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating until thick and pale yellow. Add the vanilla.
  • Gradually add the milk.
  • Sift together the flour and baking powder, and fold into the egg mixture.
  • Mix until just combined.
  • Pour the batter evenly into the prepared cake pans and bake 35 to 40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cakes. Cool the cakes in their pans for 10 minutes, then invert them onto wire racks to cool completely.


  • In a small heavy saucepan combine the water with the sugar.
    Stir over medium heat until all the sugar is dissolved. Be careful not to boil or brown the syrup as this will discolor the icing. When the liquid has become a syrup.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and cool slightly.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg whites on high speed until fluffy. Continue beating and slowly pour the warm syrup into the egg whites.
  • Add the vanilla. Reduce the speed to medium and continue beating the mixture until it is smooth and very thick in consistency.


  • To assemble the cake, place one layer on a serving plate or cake stand. Cover with icing & place the second layer on top. Ice the sides, and center of the next layer. Repeat until all 3 layers are on. For the finisher, sprinkle the sides and top of the cake with the shredded coconut, pressing it gently into the frosting. Keep the cake in a cool, dark place, covered, until ready to serve. If you refrigerate the cake, cover it loosely with plastic wrap.
  • Add the top
  • Cover the whole cake
    Coconut Cake

Alternate icing (mom’s recipe)

  • Beat cream cheese with one stick of butter, sugar and vanilla until fluffy. When cupcakes or cake is completely cooled, apply liberally the delicious icing. Sprinkle flaky coconut on top.
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