Fresh Coconut Cake

Homemade cakes filled with chewy shreds of fresh coconut are a southern tradition. Most modern recipes call for coconut in the icing alone. The following recipe should help revive a grand old Lowcountry favorite.

Before you begin, open a coconut and grate the meat. You should have 4 to 6 cups. Save what you don’t use in the cake to make macaroons (preceding recipe).


For the Cake

  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup soft southern flour or cake flour
  • 1 cup grated fresh coconut

For the Icing

  • 1⅓ cups cream
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 cup grated fresh coconut
  • confectionerssugar (optional)


Grease two 9-inch cake pans, line with parchment or wax paper, and grease the paper. Dust the insides of the pans with flour. Preheat the oven to 350° and set the oven rack in the lower third of the oven.

Warm a mixer bowl, then add the eggs and the yolk (save the egg white for the icing). Beat until doubled in volume. Add the sugar and beat until tripled in volume. Sift the flour over the mixture and fold in. Fold in the coconut. Pour into the prepared pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Set aside on racks to cool.

To make the icing, beat the cream and the egg white together until stiff peaks form. Fold in the coconut and sweeten to taste with confectioners’ sugar.

Just before serving, turn the cakes out of the pans, remove the paper, then invert them. Place one of the cakes on a serving plate and put a mound of icing on top of it. Spread it out evenly over the cake, then place the second cake on top of it. Ice the top of the cake, then the sides.