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The Fluffiest Coconut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

A perfect homemade coconut cake based on Ina Garten's recipe.
Servings 12 people


For the cake:

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pans 3/4 pound, if you don't measure by sticks.
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsps pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsps pure almond extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pans
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut

For the frosting:

  • 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp 1/2 pound, again if you don't measure by sticks.
  • 3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp pure almond extract
  • 1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 6 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut


  • Preheat the oven to 350. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray (or butter them, if you have softened butter); line with parchment (use this trick), and spray the parchment, and dust with flour. Knock out any excess dust.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high for 3 to 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Crack the eggs into a bowl and with the mixer on medium, add the eggs one at a time, scraping down as necessary. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.
  • In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk to the batter in three parts, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix just until combined. Fold in the 4 ounces of coconut with a rubber spatula.
  • Pour the batter into the two prepared pans, smooth the tops, and bake 45 to 55 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. (I use a piece of spaghetti.) Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn out on to a baking rack to finish cooling. (It's not a bad idea to do this the night before.)
  • To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and almond extract in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. (Be sure everything's at room temperature first!) Add the confectioner's sugar and mix until smooth. Ina says: "Don't whip!"
  • To assemble, place one layer on a cake stand, top-side down (I sliced a little off the top to make it sit flat). Spread with frosting, about a cup. Place the second layer on top, top-side up, and frost the top and sides. Sprinkle with the coconut and press more coconut on to the sides. Serve at room temp.