Delicious Island Coconut Cake Recipe – A Tropical Delight!

Welcome to the world of delicious baked goods! As summer approaches, what better way to embrace the tropical vibes than with a rich and flavorful coconut cake recipe? This recipe is inspired by the famous Smith Island Cake that hails from the small town of Smith Island in Maryland.

This moist and decadent cake is topped with angel flake coconut and powdered sugar, making it a true showstopper for any occasion. Not only is this recipe simple and easy to make, but it’s also incredibly versatile with room for personalization and experimentation.

As you embark on this baking adventure, be prepared to indulge in the sweet aroma of coconut and enjoy a taste of the tropics in every bite. Your friends and family will rave about this delicious creation, perfect for any summer gathering or celebration. Let’s dive into the ingredients and get started on creating your very own island coconut cake masterpiece!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Island Coconut Cake
Island Coconut Cake

Are you in the mood for something sweet and tropical? Look no further than this Island Coconut Cake recipe. Here are just a few reasons why you’ll love this delicious dessert:

1. It’s made with real coconut flavor: This cake is packed with shredded angel flake coconut, coconut milk, and even coconut extract for an authentic island taste.

2. The texture is unbeatable: The combination of moist cake layers and a fluffy coconut frosting makes for a truly irresistible treat.

3. It’s easy to customize: Want to add a little extra flair to this recipe? Try swapping out the lemon rind for lime or experimenting with different types of coconut, such as desiccated or Jamaican.

4. It’s perfect for any occasion: Whether you’re celebrating a special event, looking to impress dinner guests, or simply treating yourself to something delicious, this Island Coconut Cake is perfect.

Overall, this recipe is easy to follow, full of wonderful flavor, and sure to become a new favorite in your baked goods repertoire. Give it a try and see for yourself!

Ingredient List

 The perfect slice of summer: Island Coconut Cake
The perfect slice of summer: Island Coconut Cake

Here are the ingredients you need to make this delicious Island Coconut Cake Recipe:

Dry ingredients:

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/4 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 cup of shredded angel flake coconut
  • 2 teaspoons of cornstarch

Wet ingredients:

  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Zest from one lemon
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature

Note: For a Caribbean twist, you can substitute coconut flour for all-purpose flour, and use lime zest instead of lemon zest. With these substitutions, your cake will have a delightful lime and coconut flavor that is perfect for a tropical-themed party.

The Recipe How-To

 A tropical treat for any occasion
A tropical treat for any occasion

Here is the moment we have all been waiting for – the recipe how-to for the delicious Island Coconut Cake.


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.

Making the Batter

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 and 3/4 teaspoons of baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
  2. In a separate bowl, cream 1 cup of unsalted butter with 2 cups of sugar until it turns light and fluffy.
  3. Gradually add in 4 eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Add in 1 tablespoon of grated lemon rind and 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.
  5. Mix in the dry ingredients from step (3) alternately with 3/4 cup of milk and 3/4 cup of canned coconut milk, beating well after each addition.
  6. Fold in 1 and 1/2 cups flaked coconut (such as Angel Flake or Smith Island Coconut) with a spatula.

Baking the Cakes

  1. Pour the batter evenly into your prepared cake pans.
  2. Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  3. Allow them to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes before removing them from the pans completely to cool on a wire rack.

Assembling the Layers

  1. Once your cakes have cooled down completely, gently place one layer onto a serving platter.
  2. Spread an even layer of frosting over the top (see “Cream Cheese Frosting” instructions below)
  3. Add on another cake layer on top of it and repeat step (13).
  4. Continue this process until all layers have been used up.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1. In a large bowl, beat one package (8 oz.) of cream cheese with one cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter that’s been softened to room temperature.
  2. Gradually add in four cups of powdered sugar while continuing to mix with an electric mixer on medium speed.
  3. Stir in two teaspoons pure vanilla extract.
  4. Finally, fold in 2 cups of shredded coconut using a spatula.

Serving Your Island Coconut Cake

  1. Chill your cake for at least an hour before serving so that it will be easier to cut into slices.

Now that you have successfully followed this recipe how-to, it’s time to sit back, relax, and indulge yourself with this tropical dessert!

Substitutions and Variations

 Satisfy your sweet tooth with this coconutty dessert
Satisfy your sweet tooth with this coconutty dessert

If you’re looking to mix up your Island Coconut Cake recipe, there are plenty of substitutions and variations to experiment with.

For a Caribbean twist, try adding some lime zest or juice to the cake batter. You could also add chunks of fresh pineapple or chopped macadamia nuts for a tropical touch. Coconut flour can be used instead of all-purpose flour to create a gluten-free version of the cake.

If you prefer a lighter cake, substitute half of the butter in the recipe for applesauce, banana puree or Greek yogurt. This will add moisture and help lighten the texture of the cake while reducing the fat content.

For an extra rich and indulgent experience, try making a coconut cream or frosting to spread over the cake. You could also whip up a lemon glaze using powdered sugar, lemon juice and milk for a tangy-sweet coating.

Finally, if you want to experiment with different types of coconut or play with texture, there are many options available. Try shredded angel flake coconut, coconut flakes or cooked coconut pieces in your cake batter for added texture and depth. Or add some triple coconut vibes with a pound cake that has coconut milk, shredded coconut and coconut extract.

The possibilities are endless with this versatile recipe. Don’t be afraid to get creative and tailor it to suit your taste buds!

Serving and Pairing

 Taste the flavors of paradise with each bite
Taste the flavors of paradise with each bite

Once your Island Coconut Cake is ready, it’s time to serve this delicious treat. I personally think that this cake is perfect as a dessert after lunch or dinner, but in the Caribbean, it’s customary to enjoy coconut cakes like this one for breakfast or brunch on a lazy Sunday morning.

A classic way of serving this cake is by simply dusting its top with powdered sugar and adding a few dollops of whipped cream or cream cheese frosting. However, if you want to add more depth of flavor, tropical fruits go extremely well with this cake. You can pair it with some fresh pineapple, kiwi, or even passion fruit. The sweetness of the fruits complements the natural sweetness of the coconut perfectly.

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to elevate the flavors even further, try making a simple syrup using coconut milk and sugar. Brushing the syrup over the layers of the cake will infuse them with a subtle coconut flavor that will make each bite even more enjoyable.

For a more indulgent option, you might also try accompanying your cake with some creamy coconut ice-cream. The combination of textures and temperatures will delight your palate and make you feel as if you are lying on a Caribbean beach.

No matter how you choose to serve it, this Island Coconut Cake recipe is going to be an instant favorite among your family and friends. Its versatility allows you to experiment with different toppings and pairings for various occasions.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 A cake that will transport you straight to the islands
A cake that will transport you straight to the islands

One of the advantages of the Island Coconut Cake Recipe is its convenience in terms of make-ahead and storing. You can create this delicious tropical dessert ahead of time, saving up valuable moments during your day to chill and relax.

To make-ahead, allow the cake to cool down completely, wrap it tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, and then store it in an airtight container. The cake can last for up to three days at room temperature or for up to a week when refrigerated.

If you opt for freezing, we suggest that you don’t add the frosting until the cake is thawed because frosting tends to condensate when frozen. Nonetheless, if you already frosted your cake, we recommend that you place a piece of wax paper or parchment paper between each layer to avoid smearing of the frosting during storage.

Reheating the Island Coconut Cake is simple. If you want to reheat the entire cake, wrap it with foil and heat in a pre-heated oven of 350°F for around 8-10 minutes. Microwaving individual slices is also easy. Just pop them on a microwave-safe dish and set it for about 10 seconds on medium-low heat setting.

We suggest that you give your leftover Island Coconut Cake a new life by adding extra frostings like pineapple coconut frosting, coconut cream cheese frosting or grenadian coconut whipped cream.

The make-ahead, storing and reheating processes will not tamper with the moistness, fluffiness, richness and sweetness qualities that define this fantastic Island Coconut Cake Recipe.

Tips for Perfect Results

 This coconut cake is the stuff of dreams
This coconut cake is the stuff of dreams

Achieving a picture-perfect and mouthwatering Island Coconut Cake may seem impossible for some bakers, but fear not! With the right tips and techniques, you can easily make an impressive cake that will impress your family and friends. Here are some practical tips to help ensure that your Island Coconut Cake turns out perfectly every time.

Firstly, it is important to prepare your ingredients accurately. We recommend measuring each ingredient with precision as this can mean the difference between a moist, fluffy cake and a dry, dense one. To do this, use the correct measuring utensils like cups or spoons. For example, a 1-cup measurement of flour should weigh about 125 grams. Sifting dry ingredients such as flour, coconut flour or baking powder together can also prevent lumps and result in a lighter cake.

Secondly, it is crucial not to overmix the batter once you have added the dry ingredients to the wet mixture. Overmixing will cause gluten to form, making the cake tough and chewy. A technique to follow is to add the dry ingredients in two or three equal portions, mix until just combined with no visible lumps then stop mixing.

Thirdly, always bake your cake on the middle rack of your oven for even heat distribution unless stated otherwise by the recipe author. Use an oven thermometer to check if your oven temperature is accurate if you notice uneven cooking or inconsistent results from different recipes. This will ensure that your cake rises evenly with a gentle dome and will remain moist on the inside.

Fourthly, knowing when your cake is baked is crucial for perfect results. Always insert a toothpick in the center of the cake at least ten minutes before its recommended baking time has expired. If it comes out clean without any batter sticking on it, then take out your cake from the oven immediately. Leaving it longer will cause overbaking resulting in a dry or cracked surface.

Lastly is presentation which adds a final touch of elegance to your delicious creation. Garnish your Island Coconut Cake with shredded coconut flakes, pineapple chunks or coconut cream for added texture and flavour notes. Always bake ahead of time to ensure it cools down before serving so you don’t damage its delicate structure while cutting.

Following these simple tips above will greatly increase your chances of making an outstanding Island Coconut Cake that everyone will love! Enjoy!

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this Island Coconut Cake recipe is simply perfect! With its fluffy, moist and delicious texture, it is a must-try recipe for anyone who loves coconut-based baked goods. Whether it’s for an upcoming party, a special occasion or simply as a treat for yourself or your loved ones, this cake is bound to impress and delight.

With just a few simple ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions, this cake recipe is accessible to bakers of all levels. Plus, with the various substitutions and variations offered in this recipe article, you can tweak the recipe to fit your taste preferences and dietary restrictions.

So why not give this easy yet delightful coconut cake a try? You won’t regret it. It’s the perfect addition to any dessert table, and it also works great as a gift for friends and family. I hope you enjoy making and devouring this incredible Island Coconut Cake as much as I did!

Island Coconut Cake

Island Coconut Cake Recipe

Coconut and Whipped cream covering a lemon chiffon cake.
No ratings yet
Print Pin
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Caribbean
Keyword: < 4 Hours, Coconut, Dessert, Fruit, Nuts
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Calories: 514.1kcal



  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon lemon rind, grated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • 2 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon rind
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons cold milk or 2 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten


  • 1 cup whipping cream, whipped
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 2 cups angel flake coconut, toasted


  • CAKE:
  • Preheat oven to 325°F.
  • In a mixing bowl combine oil, egg yolks, lemon rind, vanilla and water.
  • In a separate bowl, combine sugar, flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Add the dry mixture to the liquid ingredients and mix until smooth.
  • Beat egg whites until stiff. Fold egg whites gently into batter, pour into a greased spring form pan.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes or until cake is done.
  • Remove cake cool then cut into three layers.
  • In a saucepan combine milk, sugar, vanilla and lemon rind, Bring mixture to a boil.
  • In a small bowl combine cornstarch with milk and eggs.
  • Add 1/2 cup of hot milk mixture to cornstarch mixture.
  • Slowly add remaining mixture into hot milk, let cool.
  • Spread custard between cake layers.
  • In bowl add already whipped, whipped cream, fold in vanilla and powdered sugar.
  • Frost top and sides of cake with the whipped cream.
  • Sprinkle entire cake with the toasted coconut and chill before serving.

Your Own Notes


Serving: 162g | Calories: 514.1kcal | Carbohydrates: 56.2g | Protein: 7.8g | Fat: 29.3g | Saturated Fat: 13.5g | Cholesterol: 151.5mg | Sodium: 297.5mg | Fiber: 2.1g | Sugar: 38.9g

Recommended Recipes Just For You