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Ina Garten's Coconut Cake


This recipe, from "Barefoot Contessa at Home" was a success at my dinner party. The cake was very moist, not too sweet with the right balance of coconut. Some reviewers say to replace the milk with coconut milk, and to use coconut extract instead of almond extract; I might try that next time.

The frosting was good, but this could be excellent with a butter cream frosting.

Overall, it was very easy to make and I'd make it again! Great job, Ina Garten!

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  • 3/4 pound unsalted butter, 3 sticks, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pans
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup milk (can use coconut milk, if you prefer)
  • 4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature, 2 sticks
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 6 ounces sweetened shredded coconut


Servings 12
Preparation time 10mins
Cooking time 95mins
Adapted from


Step 1

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Grease two 9-inch round cake pans. Then line them parchment paper. Grease them again and dust lightly with flour.

Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, for about 3 to 5 minutes.

Crack the eggs into a small bowl. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl once during mixing.

Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well. The mixture might look curdled; don't be concerned.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk to the batter in 3 parts, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.

Fold in the 4 ounces of coconut with a rubber spatula.

Split the batter evenly into the pans. Then smooth the top with a knife.

Bake in the center of the oven for 45 to 55 minutes, until the tops are browned and a cake tester comes out clean.

Cool on a baking rack for 30 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto a baking rack to finish cooling.


In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and almond extract on low speed.

Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until just smooth, making sure not to whip it.

To assemble, place 1 layer of cake on a flat serving plate, top side down, and spread with frosting. Place the second layer of cake on top, top side up, and frost the top and sides.

To decorate the cake, sprinkle the top with coconut and lightly press more coconut onto the sides. Serve at room temperature.

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