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Mama's Fresh Coconut Cake Recipe, made from scratch, just like mama made. As seen on Taste of Southern.

Mama’s Fresh Coconut Cake

  • Author: Steve Gordon
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 8 - 10 Servings 1x
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American


Follow our step-by-step, photo illustrated recipe to make this old fashioned, southern favorite I refer to as Mama’s Fresh Coconut Cake. We’re grating fresh coconut, making layers from scratch, doing everything just the way Mama did to make one of her best cakes. It wasn’t about looks to mama, it just needed to taste great. I think you’ll agree. We’ll show you just how to make one of your own.



Ingredients for Cake:

  • 1 Coconut, whole, fresh, grated and divided. Reserve the liquid
  • 2 sticks Butter, softened (1cup)
  • 2 cups Granulated Sugar
  • 4 Eggs, room temperature
  • 3 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • ½ teaspoon Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Evaporated Milk

Ingredients for Boiled Icing

  • 3 cups Granulated Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Flour
  • 1 cup Coconut water, reserved from fresh coconut
  • 2 cups Coconut, freshly grated


To Prepare The Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Drain, crack, peel, grate Coconut according to our How To Open A Coconut guide.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, add the following dry ingredients.
  4. Add flour.
  5. Add baking powder.
  6. Add salt.
  7. Stir dry ingredients together with a fork until combined well.
  8. Sift the dry ingredients together three times, set aside.
  9. Place the softened butter in a large mixing bowl.
  10. Beat at medium speed until creamy and smooth.
  11. Add sugar.
  12. Mix butter and sugar, at medium speed, until creamy and smooth.
  13. Add eggs, one at a time, beat just until combined.
  14. Add one third of the flour mix to the batter.
  15. Mix on low speed, just until combined. Do not overbeat.
  16. Add half cup of milk.
  17. Add vanilla extract.
  18. Mix again, just until combined.
  19. Add another third of the flour mix, beating again, just until combined.
  20. Add remaining milk, beat until combined.
  21. Add remaining flour mix, stir down sides of bowl, mix on low speed, just until combined.
  22. Grease and flour 2 – 9inch baking pans.
  23. Divide mixture evenly between baking pans. (About 2 ½ cups each)
  24. Lift and drop pans onto countertop several times to release any trapped air bubbles.
  25. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until it tests done.
  26. Insert a wooden toothpick into the center of each layer. If it pulls out clean, cake is done.
  27. Top of layer should spring back when pressed lightly when cake is done.
  28. Remove from oven, place layers on a wire cooling rack. Let cool 10 minutes.
  29. Remove layers from pan, turn top side up. Let cool completely.

Prepare The Icing:

  1. Place sugar and flour in a medium bowl and whisk together until combined.
  2. Place mixture in a medium sauce pot and place over medium heat on stove top.
  3. Add the reserved coconut liquid, stir well to combine.
  4. Let the mixture come to a slight boil, stirring often so it doesn’t burn.
  5. Let mixture boil gently for 5 minutes.
  6. Add 2 cups of the grated coconut. Stir well. Let simmer for 4 more minutes.
  7. Remove mixture from heat, set aside to cool.

Assemble The Cake:

  1. Place one layer on cake plate.
  2. Gently poke holes into the layer with a toothpick or wooden skewer.
  3. Add one third of the icing to the first layer, letting it drizzle over the side.
  4. Add second layer, poking holes again with a toothpick or wooden skewer.
  5. Add another third of the icing to the second layer, letting it drizzle over the side.
  6. Add third layer, poking holes into this layer as above.
  7. Drizzle remaining icing over the top of the cake, letting icing drizzle over the side.
  8. Sprinkle top layer with remaining grated coconut to decorate.
  9. Cake should be refrigerated overnight for best flavor.
  10. Bring cake back to room temperature before slicing and serving.
  11. Enjoy!


If using Self Rising Flour, omit the baking powder and the salt.

Keywords: Mama's Fresh Coconut Cake Recipe, made from scratch, old fashioned, southern coconut, southern recipes