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Chocolate Caramel Coconut Cake

Caramel Coconut Cake with Chocolate Ganache Frosting

This chocolate caramel coconut cake is comprised of two coconut cake layers with a shredded coconut caramel filling. The cake is finished with both chocolate buttercream and chocolate ganache.
Yield: 8-inch layer cake
Prep Time: 45 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Ganache Set Up: 2 hrs
Total Time: 3 hrs 15 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: coconut cake, chocolate ganache frosting, caramel coconut, coconut layer cake
Servings: 12
Author: Maryanne Cabrera


Coconut Cake:

  • 2 cup (260 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • ¾ cup virgin coconut oil,* melted
  • ½ cup well shaken coconut milk*
  • 4 large eggs, room temp
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened dried coconut shreds

Chocolate Ganache:

  • 6 oz dark chocolate (72%), finely chopped
  • ¾ cup heavy cream

Coconut Caramel Filling:

  • 1 ½ cup sweetened dried coconut flakes
  • ½ cup granualted sugar
  • 3 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • pinch kosher salt

Chocolate Buttercream:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ¾ cup confectioners sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tablespoon heavy cream
  • pinch kosher salt



  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper. Lightly grease with butter. Set aside.
  • Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together melted butter, olive oil, and coconut milk. Set aside.
  • 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.
  • Alternate adding the flour mixture and wet mixture, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix on low speed until combined. Fold in dried coconut.
  • Divide batter between prepared cake pans. Level batter using a spoon or mini offset spatula. Bake for 28-30 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.

Chocolate Ganache:

  • Place chopped chocolate in a large bowl. Bring heavy cream to a simmer. Pour hot cream over chopped chocolate and cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let sit for 2 minutes. 
  • Remove plastic wrap and stir ganache until homogenous. Cover with plastic wrap, allowing plastic wrap to touch chocolate to prevent condensation. Every 30 minutes, stir ganache until it has thickened to frosting consistency (about 2 hours). Keep at room temperature.

Caramel Coconut Filling:

  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Line sheet tray with parchment paper. Spread coconut into a thin and even layer on prepared sheet tray. Bake for 10 minutes. Rotate pan and stir coconut. Continue to bake at 5 minute intervals, rotating the pan and stirring the coconut until golden in color. Once toasted, let cool to room temperature.
  • In a medium sauce pan, add sugar. Cook over medium high heat until sugar begins to melt. Once sugar begins in liquefy, reduce heat to medium or medium-low. Do not over agitate the sugar, but swirl the pan once in a while to make sure sugar melts evenly. Continue to melt the sugar until liquid is amber brown and aromatic.
  • Add butter to sauce pan. Whisk until all the butter has melted.
  • Remove sauce pan from heat and slowly add the heavy cream. Continue to whisk until cream and sugar mixture are homogeneous. Be careful, once you add the cream, the sugar mixture will bubble and rise quite a bit. Be sure the sauce pan is away from heat before you add the cream.
  • Continue to whisk until caramel is thick and smooth. Let cool until slightly warm to the touch. Then add the salt and toasted coconut. Fold into the coconut until thoroughly distributed.

Chocolate Buttercream:

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or using an electric hand mixer), cream together butter. Add confectioners' sugar, cocoa powder, cream, and salt. Mix until buttercream is smooth. 
    Add additional cream if buttercream is too thick. Add one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is achieved.


  • Level cake layers as needed. Place one cake layer on cake stand or serving plate. Spread a thin layer of chocolate ganache over cake. 
  • Place chocolate buttercream in a piping bag fitted with a small round tip. Pipe a double wall border along the perimeter of cake. Double wall means pipe two rings wide, followed with a second layer of rings wide. 
  • Divide caramel coconut filling half. Use half to fill cake and other cake to decorate. Use your fingers to place caramel coconut filling  within the buttercream border. Spread a thin layer of chocolate buttercream over caramel coconut filling. Place second cake layer on top. 
  • Spread remaining chocolate buttercream around the cake to create a "crumb coat" layer to seal in any crumbs. Chill cake for 15 minutes to set buttercream. Generously coat the chilled cake with thickened chocolate ganache. Because the cake is cold, the ganache will harden and set fairly quickly. 
  • Use any remaining chocolate ganache to decorate the cake. Place ganache in a piping bag fitted with a small star tip to pipe rosettes. Use a small cookie scoop to portion remaining caramel coconut filling. Eat and enjoy immediately!


Ingredient Notes:
  • Use virgin unrefined coconut oil for more coconut flavor. Refined coconut oil is flavorless.
  • I recommend this coconut milk for this recipe. 
  • Be careful when toasting the sweetened coconut. It burn and toast very fast.
  • For cocoa powder, both Dutch-processed or regular cocoa powder will work.
  • I used up every last bit of chocolate buttercream and chocolate ganache to assemble this cake. If you are a heavy froster, I suggest making a double batch of each. 
Cake can be baked two days in advance. However, the assembled cake should be enjoyed immediately.
The caramel coconut filling will not survive well in the fridge for extended storage. The filling will harden. 
Leftover cake can be stored in an airtight container overnight at room temperature.