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Super Simple Coconut Cake

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.

A large slice of the coconut cake on a small white plate.

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.

The eggs and other ingredients in a large glass mixing bowl.

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.

The cake mix has been poured into a metal baking tin.

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.

The cream cheese frosting sitting in a glass mixing bowl.

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!

The coconut cake has cooled and has now been frosted.

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.

Shredded coconut has been sprinkled over the finished coconut 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 🙂

The final photo showing a piece of the coconut cake.

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.

If you like this simple coconut cake recipe, please leave us a comment and rate the recipe card. You can also find us on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram searching for Berly’s Kitchen!

The final photo showing a piece of the coconut cake.

Super Simple Coconut Cake

5 from 14 votes
Print Save Pin
Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 12 Servings




  • 8 Ounces Cream Cheese (softened)
  • 1 16 Ounce Box of Powdered Sugar
  • 7 Ounces Sweetened Shredded Coconut



  • First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


The calorie count listed is an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe. Actual calories will vary. The prep time includes cooling time for the cake before adding the frosting. The coconut cake can be covered and stored in your fridge for up to three (3)  days.
If needed, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk to the frosting to make it easier to mix and a bit smoother.


Serving: 1Piece | Calories: 120kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 64mg
Recipe Rating


Monday 26th of October 2020

Yummy! I love sweet sugar frostings! And just about everything coconut!


Tuesday 27th of October 2020

Thank you, Cheryl! Kim loves coconut too, hence all the coconut recipes lol! Thanks for dropping by and have a lovely day :)

prasanna hede

Saturday 23rd of September 2017

Cake looks really amazing.Love coconut in cookies and bakes.I can gobble this in no time.


Saturday 23rd of September 2017

Thank you, Prasanna! Us too, and this cake didn't last long lol! Have a lovely weekend :)

prasanna hede

Saturday 23rd of September 2017

Cake looks really amazing.Love coconut in cookies and bakes.I can gobble this in no time.

Analida Braeger

Thursday 21st of September 2017

Recipes are such a great way to relive memories with our loved ones. I loved your story. Thanks for sharing.


Friday 22nd of September 2017

Thank you, Analida! I know what you mean. I tried to write it a way that showed the respect and love I feel for these special ladies. Thank you again for commenting and love a lovely Friday :)

Veena Azmanov

Thursday 21st of September 2017

One of my favorite is coconut cake.! I love that you added some fresh shredded coconut. I Love doing that too! This recipe looks so simple and easy to make. Can't wait to try. Yum.


Friday 22nd of September 2017

Thank you, Veena! Coconut is such an awesome flavor and works beautifully in so many different recipes. I am glad you enjoyed this recipe. Have a lovely Friday :)