Coconut Raspberry Cake

This coconut raspberry cake is soaked with coconut vodka, has thin layers of raspberry jam, and is frosted with coconut cream cheese.

Coconut Raspberry Cake | the little epicurean

Happy birthday, Alex!

Last Thursday, we celebrated Alex’s birthday the best way we know how. We ate this coconut raspberry cake for breakfast and then spent the entire day at Disneyland.

This coconut raspberry cake was an absolute HIT! Alex loved it. My parents tasted a slice and my dad was convinced I bought it at some bakery on the West side.

Coconut Raspberry Cake | the little epicurean

Coconut Raspberry Cake

This is definitely not your average coconut cake. First of all, it doesn’t have coconut flakes all over the outside, coconut cake’s most distinguishing feature.

Rather than put coconut on the outside, I packed it all on the inside. You could never guess this cake was full of coconut until you taste it, or you take a big whiff of it while it bakes.

I like to surprise people. I hate the obvious. Obvious is no fun. I didn’t tell Alex what kind of cake this was. When I first presented it to him, he figured it was a simple white cake with raspberries and pistachios.

WRONG! When we took his first bite- BAM! The biggest smile of on his face. COCONUT!

all the coconut!

The layer cake is made with coconut milk, coconut oil, and unsweetened dried coconut flakes. If you want to go coconut crazy, you can sub in coconut sugar. I used regular granulated sugar because I wanted to keep the cake white.

When assembling the cake, I soaked the cake layers with simple syrup spiked with a little coconut vodka. Yes, coconut vodka!

It’s this amazingly delicious and tropical vodka that is perfect for summer. I used this one by Ciroc. There are other coconut vodkas out there, but Ciroc makes my favorite one.

Coconut Raspberry Cake | the little epicurean

Raspberry Preserves

To balance out the coconut cake, I added a thin layer of raspberry preserves for a pop of tart flavor and a layer of coconut cream cheese frosting. I’m not one for tons of icing, so I left the outside of the cake unfrosted.

The cake is sweet enough on it’s own. This is one of those instances where less is more.

Finally, the top of the cake is garnished with fresh raspberries and salted pistachios. Pistachios add a nice crunch and pistachio + raspberry + coconut is an excellent combination.

Coconut Raspberry Cake | the little epicurean

Alex LOVES coconut. Coconut macarons, coconut ice cream (Filipino macapuno ice cream!), coconut shrimp. It’s only natural I make him a coconut cake for his birthday this year.

In previous years, I’ve made him a Dodgers baseball cap cake, lemon olive oil cake , and even cheeseburger cupcakes.

Now that his birthday is over… it’s time to plan my birthday cake! (EEEK. I turned 30 in two weeks!)

Coconut Raspberry Cake

Yield: 6-inch layer cake


Coconut Cake:

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

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 oz cream cheese, room temp
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 Tablespoons well shaken full-fat coconut milk, canned, unsweetened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch fine sea salt

Topping and Assembly:

  • 1/4 cup simple syrup*
  • 3 Tablespoons coconut vodka*
  • 1/2 cup raspberry preserves, or jam
  • fresh raspberries, as needed
  • pistachios, as needed to garnish


Coconut Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 6-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Grease lightly and set aside.

  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine melted butter, coconut oil and sugar. Add eggs and beat until mixture is pale in color. Scape down bowl as necessary to ensure thorough mixing.

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

  4. Divide batter between the two prepared cake pans. Level batter and 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 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, cream together butter and cream cheese until smooth. Scrape down bowl as needed. Add sifted powdered sugar. Mix on low speed while adding coconut milk and vanilla extract. Add pinch of salt and mix until frosting is smooth.


  1. Slice each cake into two layers so you end up with 4 layers of cake. Place one layer on a cake stand or cake plate.

  2. Combine 1/4 cup simple syrup and 3 Tbsp coconut vodka. Lightly moisten the cake layer with coconut vodka syrup using a pastry brush.

  3. Spread a thin layer of raspberry preserves over moistened cake. Add about 1/3 cup frosting and spread into an even layer. Place another cake layer on top. Moisten cake with syrup, follow with raspberry preserves, and top with frosting. Repeat until you finish with the top layer.

  4. Spread any remaining frosting on the sides of the cake, if desired. Otherwise, smooth the top of the cake and finish my smoothing the sides the cake with an offset spatula. Garnish the cake with fresh raspberries and pistachios. Keep cake stored in the fridge until ready to serve. Let cake sit at room temperature for at least 45 minutes before serving to allow cake to soften.

Recipe Notes

  • Be sure to use unsweetened coconut flakes! Sweetened coconut will make this cake way too sweet.
  • I used Ciroc coconut vodka

To make simple syrup: bring equal parts water and sugar to a boil. Allow to cool to room temperature. Store in the fridge until ready to use.

All images and text © The Little Epicurean

Coconut Raspberry Cake | the little epicurean

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June @ How to Philosophize with Cake

What a gorgeous cake! I love the way you decorated it with fresh berries and nuts, such a simple but beautiful presentation :)

Mary Ann | the beach house kitchen

Happy Birthday Alex! Maryanne that cake is GORGEOUS! Sounds like a fun day at Disneyland! And I can’t think of a better breakfast!

katie @ butterlust

This cake is seriously one the most delicious looking cakes to hit the interwebs, like, all year! (And I look at a lot of cakes!) Gah, why is coconut SO GOOD?! Can’t wait to see what you come with for your big 3-0!

Liz @ Floating Kitchen

This is a work of art! Sounds like a fantastic day celebrating Alex’s birthday. And coconut vodka – I’m totally there!

[email protected] Little Girl's Bakery

This is such a beautiful cake! I love that you added raspberry and pistachio- it sounds delish! I’ve been on the hunt for cakes as well, planning my birthday cake for next month!

Sarah | Broma Bakery

Happy birthday Alex! And this cake is STUNNING. I have to say, this naked cake thing is my favorite. No more frosted cakes for me!


Oh my goodness this has to be one of the best looking and sounding cakes! i love that it’s not absolutely covered in frosting ’cause that can be so sweet.

Katherines Corner

Thank you for sharing this yumminess with us, I pinned and I will be featuring you tomorrow at Katherines Corner. I invite you to stop by and share your blog at my blog hop. Hugs!

Claudia | The Brick Kitchen

Oh my goodness this is an utterly perfect birthday cake! I love how coconut filled the cake itself is, and it contrasts so perfectly with the thin layer of raspberries and your decorative pistachios. I am with you on the thin layer of icing – big thick layers of buttercream get a bit overwhelming, and I love the naked look of leaving the outside of the cake as is. Good luck with planning your own birthday cake – I am sure it will be another masterpiece!

Antoinette LeCouteur

Beautiful cake and exactly what I was looking to make for a dear friends 79th birthday. He loves a surprise and thinks the idea of a “naked” cake is fabulous. One question – can I use coconut extract in place of coco vodka?

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Hi Antoinette! Yes, you can omit the coconut vodka and add 1/2 tsp- 1 tsp of coconut extract. Add addition extract to taste.


Hi, I am making this tonight for my friend’s birthday- looks delicious! Question: Can i use coconut cream or should I get strictly coconut milk? Thank you!

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Canned coconut milk works best. Coconut cream has a lot more fat than coconut milk. It will affect the texture of the cake.

Michelle Bowen

Hi Maryanne! Do you have any tips on spreading frosting over the jam?

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Make sure the frosting is at room temperature, this will allow for easier spreading. Use a mini offset spatula to gently spread the frosting over the jam. If that doesn’t work- spread the frosting on the bottom of cake layer that you will be placing on top of the jam.

Thomas Learnihan

Is there somewhere in Las Vegas that I can get one of these made for my own upcoming Birthday??? PLEASE HELP???


I would love to make this cake using three 9 inch pans (for a 3 layer cake, not slicing the 9″ cakes after baked). Would one recipe work? Should I double it? 1.5? Any thoughts on baking time?

Diane Andrade

Have a question on the coconut oil. Should I use the liquid or solid kind?

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Coconut oil is solid at room temperature. It turns to liquid when heated warmer than room temp. Use room temperature coconut oil for this recipe.

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