Soft and fluffy coconut cake layers sandwiching homemade mango curd topped with creamy coconut buttercream—this mango coconut cake is a paradise of tropical flavors!
This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of those links I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you. I only link to products I love and use myself. For the full disclosure, see here.
Hello hello! And greetings from Bora Bora!
Just kidding. I’m still in Phoenix. I’m one of those people who every year says I’m taking a REAL vacation next year, then neglects to plan that vacation. And I end up sitting on the couch in my bathing suit looking at pictures of the beach. #truelife
But you know what? It’s fine because I have this coconut mango cake.
It’s basically a tropical vacation on a plate. And the cake baking process doesn’t require finding a reliable dog sitter. Win win!
All that’s required for this delicious dessert are a few cake pans and the ability not to eat all the coconut buttercream before it makes it onto the cake.
Why you’ll love this mango coconut cake:
- The filling is an incredible homemade mango curd
- You don’t need a stand mixer!
- It’s a fun twist on the standard coconut layer cake
How to make mango curd
For this cake you’ll start by making mango curd. Making mango curd is similar to making lemon curd but I have some step by step photos in case you’ve never made your own fruit curd before.
You’ll start by pureeing frozen mango in a food processor.It won’t get completely smooth at first—that’s fine. Measure the puree because you want a 1/2 cup. If you don’t have a full 1/2 cup, add more mango.
Then you’ll add lemon juice and sugar and puree again—at this point it should be completely smooth.
Pour the puree into a saucepan and whisk in eggs, then add some unsalted butter. Cook until thickened.
It will take 6 to 8 minutes to thicken; you’ll know it’s properly thickened when it clings to the back of a wooden spoon and you can run your finger through it—just like the pic below!
At this point, pour the curd through a fine mesh sieve into a mixing bowl. Press plastic wrap directly on top of the curd (to prevent it from forming a skin) and refrigerate until chilled.
You can make the curd up to several days ahead and keep it stored in the fridge in an airtight until you’re ready to use it.
Coconut cake layers
The coconut cake layers are very straightforward to whip together.
Cream the butter, sugar, and cream of coconut together in a large mixing bowl.
Note: cream of coconut and coconut cream are not the same thing and one cannot be substituted for the other. Cream of coconut has added sugar; you can typically find it at liquors stores. I use the brand Coco Lopez.
Beat in the eggs, vanilla, and coconut extract, then the milk.
Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until the flour is just incorporated, then scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure there aren’t any pockets of flour left. Don’t over-mix once you add the flour or your cake will end up more like bread than like cake!
Pour the batter into three 8-inch cake pans and bake.
Assembling your mango coconut cake
Assembling this mango coconut cake is just like assembling any layer cake, with one exception: when you add the mango curd, don’t spread it all the way to the edge!
Start with a cake layer, top it with some frosting, then top with a 1/4 cup of mango curd. If you spread the curd to the edge, it will seep out into the frosting when you frost your cake.
After you frost the cake, decorate however you’ll like. If your cake frosting skills aren’t great, then covering a cake with something like coconut (or sprinkles or cookie crumbs) is a fantastic way to hide the frosting’s imperfections.
I used 1 cup of toasted coconut to cover just the bottom of the cake but you could certainly use more in order to cover the entire cake. Three cups should be enough for the whole thing.
Baker’s tip: To toast the coconut, spread it into a thin, even layer on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast at 350 degrees for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring a few times. If it isn’t sufficiently brown after 5 minutes, continue toasting it but WATCH CAREFULLY because coconut burns really quickly.
- Substitute lemon curd (homemade or store bought) or any other kind of fruit curd for the mango curd to make lemon coconut cake. My friend Dawn has an awesome lemon curd tutorial if you go that route.
- Cover the cake in un-toasted flaked coconut. Toasted coconut adds nice color and texture but to simplify things just skip the toasting step.
So what are you waiting for? If you’re in need of a vacation (or if you just want a slice of delicious cake) then I suggest making yourself a mango coconut cake. You’ll love it (almost) as much as I’d love to be on a tropical island right now!
Did you make this mango coconut cake? Hooray! Let me know what you think with a comment and a rating below. And post a pic on Instagram too! Tag @theitsybitsykitchen so I can see! Then like IBK on Facebook and follow on Pinterest for more delicious recipes.
- 3/4 cup to 1 cup chopped frozen mango defrosted and drained
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into cubes
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup cream of coconut (do NOT use coconut cream**)
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
- 1 cup whole milk at room temperature
- 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons cream of coconut
- 2 to 4 tablespoons whole milk or heavy cream as needed
- 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 1/2 to 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup toasted flaked coconut for garnish if desired+
Process 3/4 cup of the mango in a food processor until it’s as smooth as you can get it. Measure to ensure you have 1/2 cup of puree; if not, add more mango.
Add the sugar and lemon juice and process until completely smooth.
Whisk the puree and the eggs together in a heavy medium saucepan. Set the pan over medium-low heat and stir in the butter.
Cook the mixture, stirring frequently, until the curd is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 6 to 8 minutes.
Pour the curd through a fine mesh sieve into a medium mixing bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap onto the top of the curd (this will prevent a skin from forming).
Cool the curd to room temperature, then refrigerate until well chilled, at least 2 hours. (You can make the curd up to 2 days ahead.)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray 3 8-inch round baking pans with cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Spray the paper with cooking spray and set pans aside.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium mixing bowl.
Combine the butter, sugar, and cream of coconut in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer set to medium until fluffy.
Beat in the eggs, vanilla, and coconut extract. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and add the milk, then beat on medium until well combined.
Turn mixer to low and slowly beat in the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl again to ensure all of the flour is mixed in.
Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
Cool cake layers in pans for 20 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the cake and carefully invert onto wire racks to cool completely before filling and frosting.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter on medium until very smooth. (You can use an electric mixer and a large mixing bowl in place of the stand mixer, if desired.)
Add the cream of coconut, 2 tablespoons of milk, the coconut extract, and the salt and beat 1 minute more.
Add 4 1/2 cups of powdered sugar and mix on low speed until combined. Turn mixer to medium and beat until very smooth. If frosting is too thick, add additional milk or cream. If it’s too thin add additional powdered sugar.
If your cake layers have domed, use a long serrated knife to trim them.
Place one layer on a cake stand or cardboard cake circle and spread a thin layer of frosting over the top.
Top with a 1/4 cup of mango curd, spreading into an even layer—do NOT go all the way to the edge.
Top with a second cake layer and repeat the frosting and filling process. Top with the final cake layer. Refrigerate cake for 20 minutes, or until frosting is set and the cake layers don’t jiggle when you tap the cake.
Frost the cake with the remaining frosting and top with additional mango curd. Again, DON’T GO ALL THE WAY TO THE EDGE or your curd will spill down the sides.
Press toasted coconut into the sides of the cake if desired.
Alternatively, you can just cover the whole cake with toasted coconut and save the remaining mango curd to snack on. Refrigerate to set the frosting, then serve.
*You may need a little more mango to get a 1/2 cup of puree.
** Cream of coconut and coconut cream are not the same thing and one cannot be substituted for the other. Cream of coconut has added sugar; you can typically find it at liquors stores. I use the brand Coco Lopez.
+To toast the coconut, spread it into an even, thin, layer on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast at 350 degrees for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring a few times. If it isn’t sufficiently brown after 5 minutes, continue toasting it but WATCH CAREFULLY because coconut burns really quickly.
Cake layers adapted from My Mama Made That
Mango curd adapted from Food Network