Amie’s Triple Coconut Cake

new coconut cake post red

A good drenching of cream of coconut infuses this cake with flavor and moistness.

Have you ever remembered you were supposed to bake something for the office party, a church meeting or a school function at 10:00 the night before just as you were ready to crawl into bed?

I hope I’m not the only one. But most of the time I’m too proud (unfortunately) to run by the store and grab something in a hard plastic container so I keep a few tricks in my pantry. I got this one from Amie, one of my favorite co-workers.  The coconut freaks at my job, including me, go crazy when she brings this cake.

Stocking up on a few staples is helpful to produce this kind of last minute magic. For Amie’s cake, I make sure to keep the following in my cabinet:   a white cake mix, coconut milk, cream of coconut, and shaved coconut. (Now you see why I put “triple coconut” in the title.)  I would rather do a hundred push-ups than make a midnight run to the grocery store.

I hate dislike push-ups.

I tweaked Amie’s recipe in the following ways to intensify the coconut experience:

  • Substituted coconut milk for water in the cake mix.
  • Heated the cream of coconut before pouring over the warm cake for more uniform absorption.
  • Sprinkled shaved coconut on top instead of shredded.
coconut cream and milk

Coconut milk (often found in the Hispanic section of a grocery store) goes into the cake batter. Pour cream of coconut (found in mixed drinks area) over baked cake. Don’t confuse one for the other.

shaved coconut

Shaved coconut is larger than grated or shredded coconut.

I don’t use a cake mix very often but my attempts to make this cake from scratch were unsatisfactory. The light and airy texture of a cake mix soaks up the cream of coconut better than any of my own recipes. I used a k-bob stick to make the holes.  Aimee uses the handle of a wooden spoon for maximum absorption.

coconut cake 2-1.jpg

Poke warm cake full of holes after baking. Pour cream of coconut over top. Chill. Frost with topping or sweetened whipped cream if you prefer.

Amie's Triple Coconut Cake
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
A travel-worthy cake for coconut lovers.
  • 1 Betty Crocker white cake mix
  • 1-1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 15-ounce can cream of coconut
  • 8-ounce container of whipped topping
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  1. Prepare cake mix according to directions on the box, substituting coconut milk for water in the mix. Bake in a 9 x 13 pan. Amie and I both thought the cake was done at least 5 minutes before the box directions predicted. Over bake and the crust will be too dry to absorb the cream of coconut.
  2. While the cake is still warm, poke holes all over the cake with a skewer.
  3. Warm cream of coconut for 1-1/2 minutes on HIGH in the microwave and pour over the cake. Chill for several hours or overnight.
  4. Frost with 1 container of thawed, whipped topping (i.e. Cool Whip). Sprinkle flaked coconut on top. Keep refrigerated.



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{ 66 comments… read them below or add one }

Irene Crewell November 4, 2012 at 9:30 am

This is the FIRST thing I pinned that I have actually made!! It was incredible. I followed all instructions, however I made home made whipped cream for the topping and sprinkled with bagged coconut. (I have an abundance I needed to use) This is not overkill with flavor what so ever, and it comes out like a gourmet cake!!! It received an A++ from my husband and my 80 year old mother that lives with us. Then teenager still has not ventured beyond chocolate…Thanks for posting!!


sis October 23, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Oops, now I see it in the picture. 15 oz. :+)


sis October 23, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Our grocery has two sizes of the cream of coconut. Did you use the 7.5 oz or 15 oz size in your recipe?


Michanne October 6, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Living in a big city(LA) you think cream of coconut would be easy to find. Naturally i started out in the asian section of my local Ralphs but no luck. My local japanese and korean market also only carry coconut milk. However i remembered when i tried my hand at pina coladas! If you check the Pina colada/MArgarita section of your grocer or head to “bevmo” you can find “Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut”!!

Can’t wait to make this cake for my Grandma’s 81st bday!!!

Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe,
Michanne Q.


Paula October 7, 2012 at 9:41 pm

Hope your Grandma likes it as much as we do. Love, love cream of coconut. Like to add it to yogurt, and it’s also good in V-8 when it has been heated.


Christine September 23, 2012 at 8:28 pm

Ok, tried it again with a different brand of coconut milk-Thai Kitchen this time. It was much more runny and what I would expect coconut milk to look like. The consistency of my cake mix was still very marshmallowy, lol, and is bumpy in the middle after baking-is that normal?


Christine September 10, 2012 at 9:03 pm

No, it was thick all the way through. It defintely said “Coconut Milk” on the can. I googled it and it sounds like different brands can be different consistencies, although there is nothing on the can to indicate any difference. My Wal-mart only had the one brand, it was called “Golden Star”. I will check Kroger next time, maybe they have something different.


Christine September 9, 2012 at 9:27 pm

Just made this cake for the second time 🙂 First time around, I forgot the coconut milk. I’ve never used it before, but when I opened it, I was surprised to see it had the consistency of cake icing. Apparently, there are different kinds? I expected it to be watery, like what you pour out of a coconut. My cake batter ended up being a lot like marshmallow fluff and fell in one corner. It tasted great, but you might want to let people know to use the liquid kind of coconut milk.


Paula September 9, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Did you mix/shake up the coconut milk really good? The cream does rise to the top. It is like milk once you mix it up. You weren’t using cream of coconut in the cake itself, were you? That only goes on top. It IS the consistency of cake icing and is quite sweet.


Lisa August 12, 2012 at 7:35 pm

This looks great. I also hate being disappointed when ordering a piece of coconut cake only to get a plain white cake with just coconut on the outside, no real coconut flavor throughout. This looks like it will solve that problem. Only, I couldn’t find coconut cream at any of our local grocery stores. However, I found coconut putting mix (instant). So I’ve got the cake (with coco milk) in the oven. Will blend pudding mix, and pour that over the cake before the pudding sets. Hopefully it will do the trick. (I’ll letcha know!) Thanks for the recipe!


Lisa August 12, 2012 at 9:01 pm

It was a little less “coconutty” than I’d guess coconut cream to be. However it still tastes good. It was also a bit hard to get down INTO the cake, but I just spread it, let it soak a bit, spread it some more, let it soak etc. Made for a good cake. Will keep looking for the “right” stuff though!


Megan July 30, 2012 at 3:08 am

Thanks for putting up a great and quick recipe. 🙂


Paula July 30, 2012 at 9:36 am

You’re welcome, Megan. Definitely one of my favorites.


Persephone July 26, 2012 at 6:17 pm

I just stumbled upon this today, looking for some ideas for coconut cakes for my birthday on Saturday. I’m vegan and have celiac, so mine is a bit revised. Here’s what I did that is now in the oven, in case anyone reading has similar needs:

1 Betty Crocker Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix
2/3 cup coconut milk
1 mashed dark banana
1 Tbsp. flax meal + 3 Tbsp. hot water
(the banana = 2 eggs, the flax + water covers the 3rd called for)
2/3 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup apple sauce
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract

My cream of coconut is warming on the stove as the cake is baking. 🙂

I’m going to be making this topping for it:

We’ll be eating this Saturday! I’ll let you know how it turns out! THANK YOU for the inspiration!


Paula July 28, 2012 at 8:32 pm

I hope your coconut cake was fabulous. Sure sounds good.


She July 10, 2012 at 10:27 pm

I made this cake today, and it is AMAZING!

Both my husband and I loved it. I did it exactly as told in here. But I don’t like this type of frosting, so I did a cream cheese frosting, using cream cheese, butter, sugar, vanilla and the remaining of the coconut water. Also, I toasted the coconut. This cake is to die for!


Terri June 12, 2012 at 11:46 pm

This was fantastic. I’ve been complaining for years about coconut cake; I would see it on a restaurant menu, and get excited, order it, then be disappointed in the lack of coconut flavor. Basically, pastry chefs seem to think that a white cake with boiled frosting has the right to be called “Coconut Cake” if you slap a little coconut on the outside. Grrr! 🙁 THIS cake, though, is really flavorful! I did make one change: I don’t like Cool Whip, so I used a stabilized whipped cream, and I flavored it with coconut flavoring. It’s very easy: 4 oz cream cheese (room temp), 1/4 C sugar, 1/2 tsp coconut flavoring, pinch table salt. Cream them with your electric beater/mixer, then add 1 C heavy whipping cream, and beat until stiff peaks. Makes the perfect amount to frost this 9×13 cake. I also lightly toasted the flaked coconut. Sublime! Thanks for sharing this. It’ll be my “go to” coconut cake from now on.


Paula June 13, 2012 at 5:26 am

I’m so glad you shared your recipe for the frosting! It sounds much more flavorful and also longer-lasting. Thanks for sharing.


Sonia April 25, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Hi Paula,

For some reason I wasn’t able to reply to your email but – It’s not the calories that bother me about the cream of coconut ingredient – it’s just that my family and I don’t like cakes too sweet and so I was hoping it was only like cream (unsweetened) but its source being the coconut. Because the recipe calls for using a cake mix, there’s no way to subtract some sugar from the cake to make up for the sweetness in the cream of coconut. I also agree that the cream of coconut sounds like it would make the cake extra special.
From what you tell me the cream of coconut is very sweet so I’ll probably opt for coconut extract (I’ve had good results with that before).

– Thanks for getting back to me so quickly.



Sarah Cowan May 14, 2013 at 9:25 am

Hi Sonia, I think that cakes mixes are generally too too sweet so when I use them I always add about 1/2 cup cake flour, a dash of salt and whatever the leavening on the box is, about an extra 1/2-1 tsp. I have been doing this for years since I volunteer at a homeless place every week and they always want me to bring in one of my cakes. The extra flour makes the cake less sweet and able to stand up to an intensely sweet frosting, which they love. I think today I will try this one. I’ll let you know how it works out!


Sonia April 25, 2012 at 10:39 am

This recipe sounds fantastic!
Will the coconut cream make the cake any sweeter? I believe the coconut milk is unsweetened (right?) but – I’ve never used cream of coconut & don’t know it it’s sweetened but I’m asking because I prefer cakes that aren’t too sweet.
(Hope you can let me know because this would be for my sister’s birthday coming up in about a week.)


Kris April 24, 2012 at 10:40 am

Did u see on pinterest the easy breezy way to make coconut whipped cream?? I’m sure it world be fab on here as well! Great cake!!


Paula April 25, 2012 at 9:22 am

Actually, I pinned the coconut whipped cream but haven’t tried it yet. Have you? pr


Denise April 1, 2012 at 10:06 pm

I believe I’ve found a new favorite. YUM!!! Because I found this recipe on Pinterest, I’ve reviewed it here: (Naturally, all credit and links are given to you.)


Vicki V February 3, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Made this and blogged about it at . Great! Thanks for the recipe!


Paula February 6, 2012 at 10:13 am

Vicki, Great job with the coconut cake!

Our house is still under construction but as soon as it is finished, I’ll send a picture.


airhead January 3, 2012 at 6:45 am

My dad has been bugging me to make a coconut cake for a few weeks now, and I really want to try this out!
But as far as I know, we don’t have white cake mix in supermarkets here in Australia. The closest things we have are vanilla mixes or butter cake mixes. Is there a way I could adapt one of those, or would I have to make one from scratch? (in which case, do you know of any good recipes?)
thanks 🙂


Blog is the New Black October 31, 2011 at 6:25 am

I found your site via Annie’s Eats… so happy!

This looks amazing! I love coconut!


Janell October 25, 2011 at 4:36 pm

I am going to make this for my dad’s birthday. I wanted to use mason jars and make individual servings. I am going to make a lemon cake in a jar also. His two favorite desserts. I will have to experiment with baking times.


Suzy September 16, 2011 at 8:40 pm

Can’t wait to make this cake for a party tomorrow night. Do you suggest leaving it in the pan to serve out of or can I put the whole cake on a platter before putting on the topping?
Thank you.


darlene September 12, 2011 at 10:59 pm

Gosh ……

I made this for a monday night activity we have with some friends and all i (and they) can say is OMGOSH …. this is awesome, delish, more delish and more awesome …..

thank you sooooo much ….. on the other hand, i hate you for this cake …. LOL ….. darlene


Paula September 12, 2011 at 11:27 pm

Darlene, Glad to share the misery of having such deliciousness to tempt me in the house.


Stephane August 31, 2011 at 11:53 pm




and YUM!


Kat August 31, 2011 at 9:44 pm

I made it yesterday and blogged about it tonight. Oh my word! DELISH! Thanks for the recipe.



J.S. August 29, 2011 at 12:51 pm

I just got my BFF’s Mothers recipe for this cake,( after asking at least 20 times!) She uses a YELLOW cake mix and adds 1 teaspoon vanilla & 1 teaspoon coconut flavoring to the mix. Also her’s calls for adding1/2 cup of coconut to the batter. Then, to her poked holes(with a meat fork),she mixes 1/3cup Evaporated milk,3/4 cup water & 1/2 cup powdered sugar and pours over top of cake, cool & frost & sprinkle. I think it taste like a giant “Macaroon!” so wonderful! I have never used, but will try the Goya milk and cocoL`opez cream of coconut on my first try!!!! Thanks for the easy tip!


Paula August 29, 2011 at 9:10 pm

J.S. I love your description of the cake as tasting like a giant macaroon. Can’t think of anything much better.


Jun August 28, 2011 at 9:55 am

It looks extra coconut-ty… !


Tres Delicious August 28, 2011 at 2:41 am

Brilliant idea. A coconut milk for a cake. Sounds great.


Jenn@eatcakefordinner August 27, 2011 at 11:10 pm

My friend gave me a recipe like this to try, but she combines sweetened condensed milk and cream of coconut together to pour over the cake. I might just have to try your version and her version. I love the idea of using coconut milk in the cake instead of water.


Paula August 28, 2011 at 7:43 am

Jenn, Sweetened condensed milk AND cream of coconut?? Wow, that would be some sweetness for sure. Kinda makes my sweet tooth ache to think about it. Let me know which you like best if you try them both.


Megan's Cookin' August 27, 2011 at 10:22 am

Oh yea, and I love that scoop! 🙂


Megan's Cookin' August 27, 2011 at 10:20 am

I have no problem using a cake mix, just depends on what I’m making. I learned a box mix can produce a much sturdier cake.. Now I must find some coconut lovers because I would love to make this cake!!! 5 stars from me and a Stumble. 😉


Sasha @ The Procrastobaker August 27, 2011 at 4:49 am

Oh good grief, I am one of those coconut lovers and this is going to be very much in my dreams until I get to make it a reality! Sadly ive never seen cream of coconut here in the UK, only coconut cream which i understand is different. One day hopefully 🙂 and when that day arises…THIS is going to be devoured! Beautiful recipe indeedy


Nina August 26, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Oh, Paula! This is one of my favs! Bring this into work alot (by request). Your shaved coconut is an especially elegant touch! Love that you heated the cream of coconut before pouring it on. Great tip. Two things I do for cake mix’s to remove that cloyingly sweet taste is to add a few teaspoons of real sea salt and real, fresh squeezed lemon juice to batter. The acid really off-sets and neutralizes that “chemical” taste of the batter. Also, I love coconut milk so much, I add a few tablespoons to my chocolate smoothies (which are non-dairy). 🙂


Nyssa August 26, 2011 at 2:22 pm

I absolutely love coconut so I can not wait to try this recipe! How did the texture come out? Did the milk and cream give the cake the same texture as a tres leche cake?


Paula August 27, 2011 at 9:53 am

Nyssa, I’ve never made a tres leche cake so I’m not sure how it compares. It is extremely moist, even damp where it soaked up a lot of the cream. Reminds me of a trifle in a pan actually.


tasteofbeirut August 26, 2011 at 10:06 am

A wonderful treat! I bet this cake made a lot of people happy!


Amie August 26, 2011 at 9:57 am

Paula!! The cake looks wonderful, I am honored you put it on your website. I can’t wait to try it using the coconut milk (since you didn’t bring us a sample at work). I really NEED that scoop you have the shaved cocnut in…I love it!!! Where did you find that thing?


Paula August 26, 2011 at 11:53 am

Amie, I’ve had it for awhile but I got the scoop at Ashers in Arlington.


Ali August 26, 2011 at 7:58 am

What a wonderful cake. It looks so moist, and since coconut is one of my favorite flavors of all time, I’m bookmarking this to make soon. I featured this post over at my blog today. Thank you so much for the recipe 🙂


Paula August 26, 2011 at 11:53 am

Thanks so much for the link Ali. paula


The Café Sucré Farine August 26, 2011 at 5:50 am

Yum, Paula! You crack me up about the midnight run to the store, only because I am the same way! This looks amazingly delicious!


Tamara August 25, 2011 at 11:12 pm



Lynda August 25, 2011 at 2:40 pm

I have been wanting to make this cake, only a full layer cake. My grandmother used to make a coconut cake that used a real coconut. I watched her make it once and she used the coconut milk in the cake and she used the coconut, shredding it. It was really rich and moist.


Suzanne August 25, 2011 at 10:07 am

My sister-in-law introduced me to this cake just a little different but so similar. I love it and so does all who eats it. I made your honey wheat bread recipe, it was good but didn’t rise much due to my home ground wheat I think. I think I try it with half the wheat and see how it works out for me. BTW your photos of this cake look wonderful.


Jen August 25, 2011 at 8:35 am

Another fantastic recipe!!! 🙂 This makes me think about my grandmother. She used to make a delicious cocunut cake every Thanksgiving. This one goes in my recipes to try file.


Priyanka August 25, 2011 at 8:21 am

A very tempting cake……..I love baking cakes but not very much into coconut…But your creation caught my eye….awesome..!!!


TheKitchenWitch August 25, 2011 at 8:09 am

I adore coconut! And I hate baking, so the fact that this recipe uses a mix is a double-yes! I am so making this.


Vicki V August 25, 2011 at 7:25 am

Wow, Paula, this looks and sounds fantastic. I love that you can use a mix, because like you, sometimes I’m scrambling for something quick to make and hate buying something when I can bake!


Gary August 25, 2011 at 6:28 am

That’s a beauty, for sure!


*Just Fran* August 25, 2011 at 12:51 am

Simple and delicious. Perfect for a non-baker like me. 🙂 I have never used Cream of Coconut, but you can be sure it will be added to my next grocery list.


Betty @ scrambled hen fruit August 24, 2011 at 11:40 pm

I do love coconut, and this cake is beautiful! It sounds easy too, but I don’t have all of the ingredients on hand. I’m almost tempted to run out to our new 24hr. Walmart that just opened last week. It’s a novelty to be able to shop after nine o’clock! The shaved coconut is really a nice touch! 🙂


Lorraine August 24, 2011 at 7:36 pm

Oh, dear Paula,

Sitting here at 8:30 pm trying very hard to loose 6 more pounds and ignore the gnawing in my stomach and I happen upon your post and this enticing and delicious looking cake. Good thing I don’t have the ingredients and that I also would rather do push-ups than run out to the grocery story late in the evening because I I just might have shuffled into the kitchen and whipped up this recipe.

The three coconut ingredients are on my next food shopping list and I will be trying this in the near future. Until then… it’s salad in a jar for me : )


Kristen August 24, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Thank you again! You rock the coconut bomb… now just one ?… can I please use shredded coconut or does it have to be the larger pieces? I know I always have shredded on hand so that’s why I ask, but of course you’re the expert here so if I need to go get the bigger pieces I shall. Thanks so much in advance for your response. 🙂


Paula August 24, 2011 at 6:56 pm

Kristen, Of course you can use the shredded coconut. The shaved just looks a little fancier but nothing at all wrong the with shredded or flaked. Thanks for asking.


Connie August 24, 2011 at 6:04 pm

How simple yet delicious looking! I love baking from scratch as well, but you’re right, the white cake never seems to come out right. I think the coconut substitutions will make was a delightful treat. This looks so easy, and the fact that pantry items are used makes it a great treat for last minute needs.


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