Coconut Cake

Coconut + Olive Oil Cake with coconut cream cheese frosting and edible flowers

It’s not a birthday without cake.  I’d like to elaborate on that concept.  I think birthday parties require multiple cakes.

“Smash cakes” seems to be all the rage for children’s first birthdays. Google “smash cake” and be prepared to see lots and lots of images of little babies destroying cakes with their bare hands.

It’s disgusting, yet at the same time, adorably cute.  Whenever I’m feeling stressed out, I will Google image smash cake for a good laugh.

I’d like to make it known that I want a smash cake for my 30th birthday.  That’s okay, right?

I didn’t have a smash cake for my 1st birthday so it rolls over.  Or is it really only acceptable for a one-year-old to have their face covered with cake and frosting on their birthday?  I guess we shall have to find out next year!

Coconut Cake

I am very picky when it comes to cake.  It must be moist (nothing’s worst than dry cake, yuck!), the frosting should not be too sweet or overpowering, and there needs to be a good cake to frosting ratio.  This coconut cake satisfies all three requirements.

Instead of flavoring the cake with lemon zest like the original olive oil cake, I added coconut milk and unsweetened dried coconut.

I’m not the biggest fan of buttercream.  It’s just too much butter, sometimes.  I prefer cream cheese based frosting.  It provides a nice tart balance to the sweet cake.  To make this coconut cake even more special, I decorated the cake with edible flowers.

Coconut Cake

Coconut Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: makes a three layer 6-inch cake

Author Maryanne Cabrera


Coconut Cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk, full-fat, well-shaken
  • 4 large eggs, room temp
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 Tablespoons canned coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of fine sea salt


  • edible flowers


Coconut Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line *4- 6inch cake pans with parchment paper.  Lightly grease with butter.  Set aside.

  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

  3. In a small bowl, whisk together melted butter, olive oil, and coconut milk. Set aside.

  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat eggs and sugar until mixture is pale in color and slightly thickened. Scrape down the bowl as necessary to ensure thorough mixing.

  5. Alternate adding the flour mixture and wet mixture, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix on low speed until combined. Fold in dried coconut.

  6. Divide batter between prepared cake pans. Level batter using a spoon or mini offset spatula. Bake for 35-40 minutes until cakes are golden brown and toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 5-10 minutes before unmolding. Allow to cool to room temperature on wire rack.

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, whip butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Scrape down bowl as necessary to ensure thorough mixing.

  2. Add sifted powdered sugar, coconut milk, vanilla extract, and pinch of salt. Mix until smooth.

Recipe Notes

The recipe makes four 6-inch cakes. I only used three to make the cake.  The fourth cake was eaten for test purposes!

Coconut Cake

· · · ·
Never Miss a Recipe!

Plus, get exclusive recipes, tips, and previews through our weekly newsletter.

Daily Blog Posts
Weekly Updates

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Ines Oliveira

The cake looks just beautiful :) I have the same requirements when it comes to cakes, so I have to try this recipe. Didn’t know what a ‘smash cake’ was… I guess we don’t have them back home, but I do remember my friends’ having their faces smashed onto their own cakes back in elementary school ;)
Have a nice weekend!

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Thank you Ines! lol, my friends in college got their faces smashed into cakes on their birthdays :) I hope you had a great weekend!

Liz @ Floating Kitchen

This cake is gorgeous! I’m a coconut lover, so definitely making this. Love seeing pics of your family….so cute! And yes, totally acceptable to have a smash cake for your 30th birthday….but only if you share the pictures :-)

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Thank you Liz! Haha, of course I HAVE to share pictures. Without evidence, it never happened ;)

Millie l Add A Little

This looks wonderful! I’m not normally a sweet tooth kinda gal, but this looks perfect as I’m obsessed withy coconut!
I love the way you presented it with flowers too!

Sarah @ SnixyKitchen

What a lucky mom! Those edible flowers add the perfect touch. Should I put in my birthday cake request now? ;)

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Thanks Sarah! Lol, sure as long as you celebrate your birthday in LA since I don’t know how to travel with cake ;)

Ebu Villanueva

This coconut cake looks super delicious and beautiful! Your choice of colors is so perfect! ..,So nice to see your lovely mom and family on this memorable occasion. Belated happy birthday!


Hi! This cake looks amazing but I was wondering, do I need to do 1.5 of the recipe to make a two layer 9 inch cake? :)

    Maryanne Cabrera

    You can use the recipe as is to make a two layer 9-inch cake. However, the cake will not be very tall.


Hi! I just found your website and LOVE all your cakes! They look so pretty! I have a question about this recipe, what brand of coconut milk do you use and can we use cake flour instead of all purpose flour? Can’t wait to try this! Thanks!

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Thanks so much! I use either Thai Kitchen or Trader Joe’s coconut milk. I try to find brands that use actual coconut milk instead of coconut extract mixed with water. I don’t suggest using cake flour because it has less protein than all-purpose flour. The structure of the cake won’t be as sturdy with cake flour. I hope that helps!


Hey Wondering how long I would cook in 2 9inch cake pans. I want to make this recipe but unsure of my calculations? ??

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Hi, I haven’t tested this recipe using 9-inch cake pans. I would suggest baking it for 25-30 minutes. Keep a close eye on it and continue to bake it until it’s done.

Never Miss a Recipe!

Plus, get exclusive recipes, tips, and previews through our weekly newsletter.

Daily Blog Posts
Weekly Updates