Thelma’s Coconut Cake (or coconut cupcakes)

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

Coconut Cake or coconut cupcakes

I was given this cookbook the first year I was married. That year, 1992, I hosted Easter and I pulled several menus from this book. It was a hit. This cake, now adapted to cupcakes has been made for several birthday's. I think with it's unusual flavors of coconut, it makes it special. I think every time I serve this dessert, I get asked for the recipe. Please your own crowds with this simple cake. Enjoy!
Cuisine American
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 . egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Alternate icing (mom's recipe)

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


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, mixing 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.

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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