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Coconut Cake topped with fruit

Vegan Coconut Cake

  • Author: Liz Madsen
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Luscious, rich, moist and packed with coconut flavor, this perfect vegan coconut cake is a show stealer at any party or at home.


Units Scale
  • 3 cups organic cane sugar (see note 1)
  • 2 cups full fat coconut milk (from canned) (see note 2)
  • 6 tablespoon non-dairy milk (any will work)
  • 1.5 cups of applesauce
  • 3 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1.5 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 600g all-purpose flour (please see instructions on properly measuring flour)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1.5 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut angel flakes or shreds (see note 3)
  • 1 batch vegan buttercream frosting, optional
  • 2 cups toasted coconut flakes or shreds for decoration, optional


  1. First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (or 177 degrees Celsius).
  2. To avoid using oil, I usually using coconut cream to grease the insides of my pans, so I always have a container of coconut cream in my fridge (it does last a while in there but I do a lot of baking for the blog). You can use oil spray or shortening if you don’t have coconut cream. I also trace the bottom of my pan onto parchment paper and cut out the circles and place them at the bottom of my pans to help ensure an easy cake release. Set your prepared pans aside.
  3. Next, mix your wet ingredients at the bottom of a large mixing bowl. Once well combined, sprinkle in your flour and then other dry ingredients (except coconut flakes / shreds) on top.
  4. Use your spatula to gently mix together the ingredients, pressing the spatula against the sides of the bowl to scrape everything inward as you mix, being careful not to over-mix (this can cause your cake to not rise properly or deflate). When the batter looks ALMOST combined--OK to have a little flour still showing--add your coconut flakes / shreds and gently fold them in. The batter will finish combining as you do this.
  5. Divide the mixture into your two spring forms evenly and use your spatula to spread the batter evenly in the pans. Tap each pan on the counter a few times to eliminate any air bubbles and place them in the oven.
  6. Bake cakes for 33 - 38 minutes (sweet spot for me is about 36 minutes) or until an inserted cake tester or toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs on it (not wet batter, but crumbs). This means it’s JUST done. If there no crumbs and it comes out clean, it’s slightly over-baked but will still be super delicious.
  7. Take them out and let them cool in the pans until they are only slightly warm to the touch, then release them from the pans and let them finish cooling on wire racks. Do not attempt to frost a warm cake! The frosting will melt. When cake is fully cool, frost and decorate with toasted coconut or as you wish!
  8. Refrigerate leftover cake in an airtight container for up to one week, or freeze individual slices up to 3 months and defrost in the fridge. Cake is delicious refrigerated or at room temperature.


  • Note 1: For color and texture reasons, I used organic cane sugar for this recipe. If you’re vegan, you’ll want to buy organic since some nonorganic sugars are processed with animal bone char. Coconut palm sugar could also work, though the cake will be much darker and somewhat denser--though still delicious. I wouldn’t recommend substituting a liquid sweetener in this recipe, but if you do you’ll probably have to majorly adjust the flour amount since you’ll be throwing off the dry to wet ratio.
  • Note 2: I highly recommend using full fat canned coconut milk for this recipe. It makes up for the lack of oil. However, you could try subbing a little less lite coconut milk and/or more applesauce to make this cake lower in fat.
  • Note 3: The type of flakes I used are called angel flakes, so they’re smaller and flatter than the shreds or the giant desiccated coconut I used on the cake decoration. If you can’t find coconut angel flakes or you are concerned about the texture (though I’ve had this cake with shreds in the batter and it’s delicious), whiz up the coconut shreds in the food processor or a spice grinder before adding it to your batter. This cake is already pretty sweet so I recommend using unsweetened coconut flakes. If you can only find sweetened, I’d dial back the cane sugar by about a quarter to a half cup depending on your tastes.
  • Note 4: This cake recipe makes 2 tiers consisting of 8-inch round cakes. You can also put this cake in a 9x13 rectangular pan and it should work. You can also halve the recipe and make one round or square cake (in an 8-inch square pan).
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Category: Dessert, Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Vegan, Oil-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, can be Gluten-free, coconut cake