Coconut cake recipe

Using both desiccated coconut and coconut cream gives a brilliant depth of flavor to this cake – and the lime and coconut buttercream finishes it off lovely.

For this recipe you will need 2 x 20cm/8in sandwich cake tins.


  • 250g/9oz unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 250g/9oz caster sugar
  • 4 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ lime, zest only
  • 250g/9oz plain flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 75g/2½oz desiccated coconut
  • 4 tbsp coconut cream

For the icing

  • 50g/1¾oz coconut chips
  • 200g/7oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 500g/1lb 2oz icing sugar
  • 4 tbsp coconut cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • ½ lime, zest only
  • salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/170C Fan/Gas 4. Grease two 20cm/8in sandwich tins and line the bases with buttered baking paper.
  2. Cream the butter and caster sugar together for 3–4 minutes, or until pale and light – this is easiest using a free-standing mixer but an electric hand-whisk works well too. Scrap down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula from time to time.
  3. Gradually add the eggs, mixing well between each addition. Add the vanilla extract and lime zest and mix again. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into the bowl, add the desiccated coconut and coconut cream, and beat again until the mixture is smooth and the ingredients are well combined.
  4. Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared tins and bake for 25–30 minutes, or until the cakes are well-risen, golden-brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  5. Leave the cakes to cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then carefully turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
  6. Reduce the oven temperature to 150C/140C Fan/Gas 2. Tip the coconut chips onto a baking tray and cook for 2–3 minutes, or until very lightly golden at the edges. Leave to cool.
  7. To make the coconut icing, beat the butter until really pale and light using a free-standing mixer or hand-held electric whisk. Gradually add the icing sugar, mixing well between each addition. Slowly add the coconut cream and mix again. Finally add the vanilla, lime zest, and a pinch of salt and mix until well combined.
  8. Place one cake on a serving plate and spread the top with 4 tablespoons of coconut icing. Top with the second cake. Cover the top and sides of the whole cake with the icing, spreading smoothly and evenly using a palette. Scatter the toasted coconut flakes over the top to serve.
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