Grandma's super simple coconut cake is one of our favorite recipes. A moist french vanilla cake topped with cream cheese frosting and shredded coconut.
When it comes to cakes, we know Grandmas make the best cake recipes. Growing up, this coconut cake was one of Kim's favorite desserts.
Her Grandmother used to make it all the time and still does when we come to visit. Now, just to clarify, this is Kim's other Grandmother. As the one on her Father's side passed recently.
We shared her Mexican spaghetti recipe back in July. This coconut cake is made with the simplest of ingredients.
We used a Duncan Hines French Vanilla Cake Mix and homemade cream cheese frosting for the icing. Kim's Grandmother insisted on two things that would make the dish perfect.
First, it had to be a Duncan Hines French Vanilla mix and exactly one box of powdered sugar. Don't ask me why, but she proclaimed that these two consistent ingredients are what gives the coconut cake its flavor and texture.
You should be aware that the frosting is much sweeter than a traditional cream cheese frosting for a homemade carrot cake.
If I have learned one thing, it's that you don't argue with Grandmas when it comes to cooking.
They always know best. How about we get started?
Simple Coconut Cake Instructions:
So, you'll want to start by making the sheet cake.
It's pretty simple, follow the box instructions on the cake mix. But, just to be safe, we included the directions from the box down in the recipe card.
After the coconut cake is mixed, go ahead and bake it per the recommended temperature and time.
Once it's done, remove it from the oven and let everything cool while you prepare the cream cheese frosting.
Allowing the cake to cool is very important. Cooling racks are great kitchen tools; especially, if you do a lot of baking.
Of course, you can always use the, "window sill," method. But, I prefer a nice wire baking rack. It allows the pan to cool on the top and bottom at the same time.
Now, using a hand mixer and a large glass mixing bowl (or a stand mixer), combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar. Blend them together until the frosting is smooth and creamy.
If needed, add a little milk to the frosting to make it a bit smoother and easier to mix. Be warned, this is a sweet and sugary frosting!
When the cake has cooled, use a spatula to apply the frosting. There should be more than enough of the topping to cover the whole cake.
All that's left to do sprinkle the shredded coconut over the finished cake.
That's it, your super simple coconut cake is done! If you run into any issues, don't forget to check out tips.
Otherwise, feel free to reach out to us via the comments or email us directly.
Kim and I hope you enjoy this dessert and wish you all the best 🙂
Coconut Cake Tips:
Okay, personally, I feel like the frosting is way too sweet and sugary.
When I baked a homemade version of the cake a few weeks ago, I used two (2) blocks of cream cheese instead of just one (1) block.
It seems to me, there's plenty of sugar to flavor sixteen (16) ounces of cream cheese.
On the chance you would rather prepare a homemade cake, here's what I recommend.
Buy a box of cake flour (preferably Swans Brand) and follow their directions for a yellow or white cake.
It should be on the back of the box. Just so I'm being transparent, this is not a sponsored endorsement.
I actual like and use the product on a regular basis for made from scratch cakes.
My last tip is that you let the cake cool for at least an hour (60 minutes). Otherwise, the frosting will melt.
Please be patient, it will pay off in the end.
Recipe Card with Ingredient Amounts and Instructions
- 16 ½ ounces French Vanilla Cake Mix, We used Duncan Hines brand.
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup water
- ⅓ cup canola oil, or vegetable oil
- 8 ounces block-style cream cheese, softened
- 16 ounces powdered sugar, adjust amount to reach desired consistency
- 7 ounces sweetened shredded coconut
- First, preheat your oven to 350°F, and spray a 13 x 9 in sheet pan with non-stick cooking spray or butter.
- Next, in a stand mixer or large bowl and using a hand mixer, combine the cake mix, eggs, oil, and water until the batter is smooth.16 ½ ounces French Vanilla Cake Mix3 large eggs1 cup water⅓ cup canola oil
- Last, pour the batter into the sheet pan and place the cake into the oven to bake for 18-23 minutes or until the cake is fully cooked. Use the "toothpick" method to ensure the cake is done. Once it's cooked, place the dish on a cooling rack to come to room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
- First, while the cake cools, combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl. Blend the ingredients until the frosting is well-blended and creamy.8 ounces block-style cream cheese16 ounces powdered sugar
- Next, after the cake has cooled, use a spatula to evenly spread the frosting over the cake.
- Last, sprinkle the shredded coconut over the frosting. You can serve the dessert now or cover it and store it in your fridge for up to three days.7 ounces sweetened shredded coconut