Perfect Coconut Sheet Cake Recipe

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This Perfect Coconut Sheet Cake Recipe creates a light fluffy coconutty cake, paired with a equally fluffy coconut buttercream and topped with toasted coconut for a coconut cake that is out of this world and oh so easy to make!

Perfect Coconut Sheet Cake Recipe |

Has anyone ever put words in your mouth? You know, say that you said something that you didn’t say? I’m sure we’ve all had this happen out of misunderstanding or blatant slander. It stinks, especially when you have no recourse to correct the lie and state the truth.

Perfect Coconut Sheet Cake Recipe |

This isn’t a sermonette or anything. It’s a regular recipe post. I am sharing a coconut cake recipe. A most fabulous coconut cake recipe, if I do say so myself. It’s just that I find myself from time to time down a rabbit trail reading about the story behind different foods or food-related topics. As I sat down to write about this cake the phrase, “Let them eat cake” kept popping into my head. All I really knew was that the expression was negatively associated with Marie-Antoinette. I was curious as to the full history surrounding this infamous quote.

After a little light reading (get more of the nitty gritty from Britannica), I learned that while Marie-Antoinette very much enjoyed a lavish lifestyle, she was a bit more compassionate towards the less-fortunate than rumors have led us to believe. It seems (if anything on the internets is true) that the quote was attributed to “a great princess” by the French philosopher and author, Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Based on when it was mentioned in Rousseau’s Confessions, Marie-Antoinette would have only been 10 years of age, still in Austria, not yet living in France. It could possibly have been referring to Marie-Therese instead. How’s that for “putting words in her mouth?” If that is true, how sad for Marie-Antoinette, with no chance to correct the rumor and to be forever associated with such a callous remark. Just pitiful, really.

Moving right along. Enough history. Let’s talk about putting cake in our mouths! Specifically, this perfectly pleasing Coconut Sheet Cake. We all know cake is good. And many of us know that coconut is good too. When you combine the two? Magic happens!

Perfect Coconut Sheet Cake Recipe |

This light and fluffy Coconut Sheet Cake is paired with an even fluffier coconut buttercream frosting. Toasted coconut flakes top it all off for a bit of crunch, which is a nice play of texture next to the buttery buttercream. Made in a 9×13-inch baking pan, this cake is easy to prepare and so perfect for traveling to potlucks or picnics, if it lasts that long. If you’re a coconut fan, I think you’ll very much enjoy this delicious cake. I think Marie-Antoinette would have too!

A couple of coconut sheet cake baking tips:

  • Be sure not to skip the toasting of the coconut. It accentuates the coconut flavor and adds a bit more crunch too.
  • I recommend using cake flour for this cake. Cake flour lends a light and fluffy texture which is so delightful for this cake.

Perfect Coconut Sheet Cake Recipe |

Perfect Coconut Sheet Cake Recipe

Perfect Coconut Sheet Cake Recipe |

Perfect Coconut Sheet Cake

Yield: 16
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

This Perfect Coconut Sheet Cake is a light fluffy coconutty cake, paired with a equally fluffy coconut buttercream and topped with toasted coconut.


For the cake:

  • 1 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, divided
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 3/4 cups cake flour*
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract

For the frosting:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons milk or coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar


  1. For the cake: Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Grease and flour, or coat well with baking spray a 9 x 13-inch baking pan.
  2. Toast coconut flakes until slightly golden.
  3. Stir 1/4 cup toasted coconut flakes into buttermilk; set aside.
  4. Whisk together cake flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  5. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the softened butter and sugar for 2 minutes on medium speed, scraping down bowl at least once. Add eggs and beat for another 2 minutes, scraping down bowl at least once. Beat in vanilla and coconut extract until smooth.
  6. Alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk/coconut flake mixture, stopping to scrape down bowl as needed; mix until just combined.
  7. Spread batter evenly into prepared 9x13-inch baking pan. Bake until wood tooth pick or cake tester comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Allow cake to cool.
  8. For the frosting: Beat all frosting ingredients until smooth. Add more coconut milk or confectioners’ sugar as needed to achieve desired consistency.
  9. Frost cake and top with remaining toasted coconut flakes.


*If this cake is baked with all-purpose flour instead of cake flour, it will not be as light and fluffy.

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Originally published May 19, 2016.