Food & Drink

The Fluffiest Coconut Cake

High Hampton’s pastry chef shares her recipe—and a step-by-step video

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  • For the Cake

    • 1 cup unsalted butter

    • ½ cup coconut oil

    • 2 ¼ cups granulated sugar

    • ½ tsp. baking powder

    • ¼ tsp. baking soda

    • 1 ½ tbsp. Kosher salt

    • 1 ¼ cups egg white

    • 2 tbsp. coconut extract

    • 1 ¼ tbsp. vanilla paste or extract

    • 3 ¾ cups White Lily all purpose flour

    • 1 ¾ cups coconut milk

    • ⅓ cup heavy cream

  • For the Buttercream

    • 2 cups unsalted butter

    • 2 ¼ cups confectioner's sugar

    • ½ tbsp. vanilla paste or extract

    • ¼ tsp. Kosher salt

    • ¼ cup buttermilk

    • 1 bag unsweetened, shredded coconut


  1. Make the cake:

    Combine butter, coconut oil, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a Kitchen Aid mixer.  Beat until light and fluffy, for 5 minutes. With the mixer running, add the egg whites one at a time, followed by the vanilla paste and coconut extract.

  2. Ensure that you are scraping the bowl often to incorporate ingredients. On low, add one third of your flour, then alternate with the coconut milk/heavy cream, going back and forth, until all ingredients are combined.  

  3. Scrape the bowl, and allow it to mix a final time. Divide between three buttered and floured pans, and then bake at 325°F for approximately 30 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans for 20 minutes, then remove from pans and continue cooling on a cooling rack.

  4. Make the buttercream:

    Beat the soft butter and confectioners’ sugar with the paddle attachment in the Kitchen Aid until very light in color. Add the vanilla paste and salt, and mix to incorporate. Then add the buttermilk, beating until it is fluffy, light, and creamy throughout. Be sure you are scraping down the bowl as you mix, to incorporate all of the butter and not leave yellow streaks.

  5. Place the sweetened coconut on a sheet tray, and in your 350°F oven, toast the coconut for just 3-5 minutes, until golden and fragrant.

  6. Assemble:

    Take an individual layer, adding about a cup of buttercream on top. Spread to desired thickness, and stack another layer, continuing the process.  Once all layers have been stacked, spread buttercream on the top and sides of the cake to desired thickness. Once toasted coconut has cooled, sprinkle on the top and sides of cake.