Recipes Desserts Cakes and Cupcakes Coconut Layer Cake

Coconut Layer Cake

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 12

This four-layer cake is easy to make using our celebration cake pans, which produce thin cake layers with scalloped edges. Our coconut cake mix streamlines prep.


For the coconut cake:

  • 18 Tbs. (2 1/4 sticks) (9 oz./280 g) unsalted butter
  • 1 sugar mix packet (included with coconut cake mix)
  • 5 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup (180 ml) whole milk
  • 1 cake mix packet (included with coconut cake mix)

For the quick buttercream frosting:

  • 6 cups (1 1/2 lb./750 g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 16 Tbs. (2 sticks) (8 oz./250 g) unsalted butter
  • 4 1/2 Tbs. milk, plus more, if needed
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

  • Toasted coconut flakes for decorating (optional)


Have all the ingredients at room temperature.

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 350°F (180°C). Grease and flour 2 celebration layer cake pans.

To make the coconut cake, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on low speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar and beat until just blended, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes, stopping the mixer as needed to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl.

In a bowl, whisk together the egg whites and milk until well blended.

With the mixer on low speed, add the cake mix in 4 additions, alternating with the egg white mixture and beginning and ending with the cake mix, stopping the mixer as needed to scrape down the bowl. Beat just until the batter is well blended.

Pour about 1 cup (250 ml) batter into each prepared pan. Smooth the top with an offset spatula and tap the pans on the countertop to evenly distribute the batter. Bake until the cakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the pans to wire racks and let cool for 5 minutes, then turn the cakes out onto the racks and let cool completely. Meanwhile, wash and dry the pans, grease and flour them, and repeat to bake the remaining batter. You will have 4 cake layers.

To prepare the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the confectioners’ sugar, butter, the 4 1/2 Tbs. milk, the vanilla and salt and beat on low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. If the frosting is dry, add more milk, 1 tsp. at a time, until it is creamy but still holds peaks.

To assemble the cake, place 1 layer, top side up, on a cake stand or serving plate. Top with about 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) frosting and spread to the edges. Repeat the process with the remaining cake layers, spreading the remaining frosting on the last layer. Sprinkle with toasted coconut flakes. Serves 12.

Williams-Sonoma Kitchen