Fudgy Coconut Cream Cake

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Yield: 16 servings

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This cake took the blue ribbon at the Illinois State Fair in 2009, and it isn't hard to see why once you've tasted a bite. The combination of chocolate and cocoa flavor is perfectly balanced, and the coconut milk in the cake gives it a moist, fudgy texture. Jone Shumacher's invention is one of our favorites, too.

Fudgy Coconut Cream Cake

star rating (14) rate this recipe »
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: 16 servings
Published: 02/26/2010


Cake Layers

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, soft
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk, well shaken
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon strong coconut flavor
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Coconut Cream Filling

  • 2/3 cup butter-flavored shortening, or 1/3 cup butter and 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk powder or King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon strong coconut flavor
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 1/2 cups marshmallow creme

Chocolate Coconut Frosting

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, soft
  • 3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 5 to 6 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon strong coconut flavoring
  • pinch of salt
  • unsweetened coconut milk as needed to adjust consistency

Tips from our bakers

  • Jone's original recipe called for packages of pre-melted liquid chocolate; which is fine to use if you have it on hand. We've called for unsweetened chocolate to be melted and cooled. There's no difference in the way it will perform in the cake, but if you're using melted unsweetened chocolate for the frosting, you'll need more milk or cream to adjust its consistency.
  • The total weight of the batter for the cake layers is 3 pounds, 1 ounce. If you have a scale, it's easy to make all your layers the same size. Simply put the pan on your scale, tare it to zero, and add batter until it reads 1 pound and a fraction of an ounce.
  • Never try to frost a cake that's still warm! The layers will slide around, and the frosting will run. Refrigerate (or freeze) the layers after taking them out of the pan if you're pressed for time.
  • Frosting a cake in two stages is the secret to a professional-looking cake. The first, thin layer of frosting (the crumb coat) seals in any crumbs, and when refrigerated to firm up, provides a stable base for you to work on as you do the final, finished frosting and decorating.


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For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 9" round cake pans, line them with parchment, and grease the parchment.

1) In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and cooled chocolate together. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat until the mixture is fluffy.

2) In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

3) Combine the milks, vanilla, and coconut flavor in a large measuring cup.

4) Add the dry and wet ingredients to the butter mixture in thirds, alternating between them until all are incorporated. Stop the mixer, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, and beat for 1 minute more, to be sure the batter is evenly mixed.

5) Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans, leveling the tops with an offset spatula. Bake the layers for 26 to 28 minutes, until the center springs back when lightly touched, and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool in the pans on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove the layers from the pans and return to the rack to finish cooling completely.

6) For the filling: Blend the shortening or shortening and butter with the coconut milk powder or flour. Add the coconut flavor, vanilla, and coconut milk, and mix until combined. Mix in the salt, then half the confectioners' sugar, until well blended. Mix in the marshmallow creme, then the remaining confectioners' sugar.

7. For the frosting: Mix the butter and cooled chocolate together; beat in 1 cup of the confectioners' sugar. Mix in the vanilla, coconut flavor, and salt, then add the remaining confectioners' sugar 1 cup at a time, adjusting the consistency with unsweetened coconut milk as necessary, until you have a spreadable consistency.

8) Trim any domes off the cake layers to make them flat, if necessary. Line a serving plate with strips of parchment or waxed paper, and place one layer, top down, on top. Spread with half the coconut filling. Place another layer over the filling, top down, and spread with the remaining coconut filling. Place the third layer on top.

9) Cover the top and sides of the cake with a thin layer of chocolate frosting. Place the cake in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm up this crumb coat. Finish the cake with the remaining frosting, decorating it however you like. Garnish the top with some shaved or shredded coconut, if desired.

Yield: one 9" triple-layer cake.

Nutrition information

Serving Size: 1 slice, 146g Servings Per Batch: 20 thin slices Amount Per Serving: Calories: 574 Calories from Fat: 210 Total Fat: 23g Saturated Fat: 14g Trans Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 72mg Sodium: 193mg Total Carbohydrate: 88g Dietary Fiber: 0g Sugars: 75g Protein: 5g

* The nutrition information provided for this recipe is determined by the ESHA Genesis R&D software program. Substituting any ingredients may change the posted nutrition information.


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  • star rating 04/21/2014
  • mebren1121 from KAF Community
  • I made this cake the day before Easter, to serve after dinner on Easter Sunday. It did take a tiny bit longer to make, but it was well worth it. This cake is AWESOME!!! Some reviewers said this it was way too sweet, but we didn't think so. Yes, it's sweet, but it's a cake. It's SUPPOSED to be sweet! We thought it was just perfect. The cake layers are moist and delicious, the coconut cream filling is out of this world and the frosting is fantastic! Next time I make this, I plan to scatter some unsweetened coconut on top. This is now our favorite cake and I plan to make it again and again! Thank you, Jone, for sharing this wonderful recipe with KAF! And thank you, KAF, for sharing this recipe with all of us! WE LOVE THIS CAKE!!!
  • star rating 08/27/2011
  • thanxanyway from KAF Community
  • It did take some time to build but it was worth it, well worth it. I reduced the sugar in the cake and the filling, worked out just fine. This cake is seriously good, wonderfully moist. I wills say that I tried it with several different coconut extracts, some were rather expensive and fancy-pants, often more than doubling the recommended amount. In the end the King Arthur's vanilla extract was the most flavorful with only the recommended about.
  • star rating 12/29/2010
  • sfroass from KAF Community
  • This is our new favorite Birthday Cake recipe. I thought the recipe looked interesting, but it is way better than I could have imagined. I could go on and on, but the other reviews sum it all up very well. Different, delicous, and a "titch" decadent. Who could ask for more?? Life is good.
  • star rating 11/16/2010
  • 518maria from KAF Community
  • Beyond too sweet. This was pretty terrible. Both the filling and the frosting were tooth achingly sweet. The cake was decent, but there's no special reason to bake 3 separate layers. It would have been much less trouble to bake two thicker cakes and then slice them in half. This was a big disappointment.
    I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this recipe. Please give us a call at 802-649-3717 and we'd love to talk about it with you. kelsey
  • star rating 08/20/2010
  • Joni M from St. Louis from KAF Community
  • This cake is absolutely fabulous--the whole thing is very unique and special and not too sweet at all in our opinion, for what isn't to like about fudgy, creamy frosting made with powdered sugar? This cake didn't last long at our house the first time I made it...Then I made cupcakes the second time and used my pastry bag to insert the filling in the middle of the cupcakes, then just frosted them to get the whole desired taste with the filling in the middle. Since I didn't use up all the filling, after frosting them I piped a filling star on each one to decorate them a little more. The cupcakes were the first dessert gone at the recent neighborhood BBQ and they were raving about them. One thing I would mention, I tried and didn't like using the lite version of coconut milk in trying to cut out some of the fat, but hey, I think in this cake use the full fat version if you can as I thought the whole thing was much better with the regular coconut milk...happy baking!
    Sounds so good. I need to make these, I think! Glad they were the BBQ favorite dessert. Elisabeth @ KAF
  • star rating 04/20/2010
  • Joan S from Medina, OH
  • Though this took a little time to prepare it was well worth it. I made it for a birthday. Someone at the party said it was better than anything he bought at bakeries. Keep thes recipies coming!
  • star rating 04/10/2010
  • Tracy from Canada
  • Made this cake for my husband's birthday and it was a big hit! The addition of the coconut milk gave the cake an amazingly moist texture. I think I will use this cake recipe for all of my chocolate layer cakes from now on, (just omitting the coconut extract when a coconut flavour is not desired). Thanks KAF for providing so many great recipes, my baking has certainly reached new heights since discovering you 4 years ago. My family and coworkers thank you too as they regularly benefit from my frequent KAF baking endeavours...Keep up the great work!
    Keep up the great action research (read home baking here!)! Irene @ KAF
  • star rating 04/07/2010
  • Linda Moeder from Beaver, Kansas
  • Wonderful cake! - not overpowering either chocolate or coconut. Not too sweet nor too rich... delicious! Will definitely make it again! Makes you wonder about the comments that were poor - did they make it correctly? hmmm... yummy for us!!
  • star rating 04/05/2010
  • KarenM from San Antonio, Texas
  • Excellent! Worth every minute.
  • star rating 03/19/2010
  • Mona from
  • I made this cake for my birthday last Sunday and my family went crazy over it. I followed your directions for weighing the batter in each pan using a kitchen scale and the 3 layers were perfect at 1 lb + a fraction for each layer. Do not overcook - test by touching top of cake with a finger - if it springs back and is pulling away from the edges of the pan slightly - it's done. I only had 1/8 teaspoon of coconut extract so I put 1 cup of extra coconut in the blender with the cream filling recipe (using 1 Tablespoon as per the recipe). The rest of the coconut milk/coconut mixture for the frosting.
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