With moist coconut cake layers, tart raspberry filling, and sweet coconut buttercream frosting, this raspberry coconut cake is a dream dessert for anyone who loves coconut.
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Looking for the perfect birthday cake/Mother’s Day cake/ just-because-it’s-Tuesday cake? Look no further!
Coconut raspberry cake is the perfect dessert for any occasion. Buttery cake combines with sweet-tart filling and fluffy buttercream to create an unbelievably delicious treat that nobody could resist.
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- You don’t need a stand mixer to make it—a hand mixer and a large mixing bowl will work just fine
- The filling uses frozen raspberries so you can make this cake even when raspberries are out of season
- The cake layers get a double dose of coconut flavor with cream of coconut and coconut extract—perfect for anyone who can’t get enough coconut!
How to make your cake
- Cream butter, sugar, and cream of coconut in a large mixing bowl until fluffy
- Beat in eggs, vanilla, and coconut extract to combine
- Beat in milk to combine
- Gradually mix in the dry ingredients until just incorporated
Divide between 3 8-inch cake pans and bake! While your cake layers are in the oven, you’ll work on the raspberry cake filling
While cake is in the oven, combine all filling ingredients in a small saucepan set over medium heat.
- Combine all filling ingredients in a small saucepan and bring mixture to a simmer and stir until the filling thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon
- Scrape into a small bowl to cool before making your coconut buttercream
- Beat butter on medium speed until very smooth
- Mix in milk or cream, coconut extract, vanilla extract, and salt
- Gradually beat in powdered sugar and mix until light and fluffy
To assemble your cake, spread a thin layer of frosting over one of the cake layers. Spread half of the filling over that, leaving about an inch perimeter around the edge of the cake, as seen in the photo above.
Alternatively, you can pipe a buttercream dam around the edge of the cake layer and spread half of the filling inside.
Recipe notes and tips
• As always, be sure your butter is at room temperature before you start making your cake. It needs to be at room temp in order to mix properly with the other ingredients.
• Butter is the proper temp for baking if, when you press it lightly with your finger, it gives slightly but still holds its shape. This can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. To bring butter to room temperature faster, cut it into small pieces. DO NOT microwave it!
• This coconut cake recipe calls for cream of coconut. DON’T use coconut cream; they’re very different. Coco Lopez and Coco Real are both good brands that are readily available at grocery and/or liquor stores. (It’s non-alcoholic—look for it with the drink mixers.)
• If you don’t want seeds in your filling, you can strain it before chilling.
• To save yourself a step, you can substitute your favorite raspberry jam for the filling. Use 2 to 3 tablespoons of jam per layer, just enough to spread a generous layer on top of the cake.
• Because there are quite a few steps in this recipe, I recommend reading the whole thing through a couple of times before starting to bake.
• This cake can be kind of crumbly so it helps to do a crumb coat when you’re frosting your cake. Alternatively, you can just cover the sides of the cake (and any crumbs in the frosting) with sweetened flaked coconut.
How to store your cake
Uneaten cake can be stored in the fridge, covered, for up to 2 days or in the freezer, tightly wrapped, for up to 2 months.
To freeze cake slices, I recommend first freezing the slices on a parchment-lined (or foil-lined) baking sheet until solid, 30 to 60 minutes. Then you can wrap them tightly with plastic wrap and/or aluminum foil without messing up the frosting.
Defrost on the counter until soft enough to eat or just eat the cake frozen—it’s delicious that way.
How to toast coconut
I like the look of un-toasted coconut for this cake but if you prefer toasted, here’s how to do it. To completely cover the sides of this cake you’ll need about 2 cups of coconut.
- Spread 2 cups of coconut in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet or two. The coconut needs to be in a single layer to ensure it browns evenly.
- Place your coconut in a preheated 350-degree oven for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes take the coconut out and stir it with a spatula. Return the coconut to the oven, stirring every 2 minutes, until it reaches your desired level of brownness.
- Transfer the coconut to a bowl to cool before using.
Baker’s tip: Don’t walk away while your coconut is in the oven! Coconut goes from nicely toasted to completely burned really quickly, so plan to stick around the kitchen until your coconut is done.
What is cream of coconut?
Cream of coconut and coconut cream are NOT the same thing and you can’t substitute one for the other in baking. Cream of coconut is basically coconut cream that has added sugar. It’s often used as a component in mixed drinks.
The brands I prefer are Coco Real and Coco Lopez, but use what you’re able to find.
Some grocery stores carry cream of coconut with drink mixers; if you can’t find it at your grocery store check liquor stores (note that cream of coconut doesn’t contain alcohol). They often carry it.
Small offset spatula (a small one is super helpful for spreading the filling into an even layer)
Large offset spatula (great for frosting your cake! a small one works too, it’s just a little less efficient)
Ateco 824 decorating tip (this is the tip I used to pipe the frosting around the top of my cake)
Mesh sieve (if you want to strain your filling)
Did you make coconut raspberry cake? That’s great! Leave me a comment and rating below! And post a pic on Instagram. Tag @theitsybitsykitchen so I can see!
Soft coconut cake layers, homemade raspberry filling, and coconut frosting make this raspberry coconut cake irresistible.
- 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*
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
- 1 cup whole milk at room temperature
- 2 cups frozen raspberries
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter at room temperature
- 4 to 6 tablespoons milk or heavy cream as needed for consistency
- 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 1/2 to 5 cups powdered sugar
- 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. Set aside.
- Place the butter, sugar, and cream of coconut in a very large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer set to medium speed until fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs, vanilla, and coconut extract to combine.
- Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and add the milk, then beat until well combined. (The batter might look a little curdled at this point; that’s totally fine!)
- Turn mixer to low and beat in the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl again and stir with the spatula a few times to ensure all of the flour is mixed in.
- Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake for 24 to 30 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.
- While cake is in the oven, combine all filling ingredients in a small saucepan set over medium heat.
- Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, and simmer until mixture is very thick and clings to a wooden spoon. Scrape into a small bowl and refrigerate until cool enough to spread.
- If you want to remove the seeds from the filling, do it before you put it in the fridge to chill. Use a rubber spatula to press the filling through a fine mesh sieve; alternate between pressing the filling through the sieve and scraping the bottom of the sieve into a small bowl. (It will be a little time consuming to get all the seeds out. Discard seeds and pop the remainder of the filling in the fridge as directed above.)
- Beat butter on medium speed until very smooth. Add 4 tablespoons of milk, the coconut extract, the vanilla extract, and the salt and beat 1 minute more.
- With mixer on low, gradually add 4 1/2 cups of powdered sugar; continue beating until combined.
- Turn mixer to medium speed and beat until very smooth. If frosting is too thick, add additional milk/cream. If it’s too thin add additional powdered sugar.
- If your cake layers have domed, use a long serrated knife to trim off the peaks. Place one cake layer on a cake stand or cardboard cake circle.
- Spread a thin layer of frosting over the top of the cake layer. Spread half of the raspberry filling on top of that (don’t go all the way to the edge—leave about an inch perimeter around the edge of the cake so the filling doesn’t leak into your final coat of frosting).
- (Alternatively, you can pipe a buttercream dam around the edge of the cake layer, then spread the filling inside.)
- Top with a second cake layer and repeat with another layer of frosting and the remaining filling. Top with remaining cake layer.
- Frost and decorate your cake as desired.
- Uneaten cake can be stored in the fridge, covered, for up to 2 days or in the freezer, tightly wrapped, for up to 2 months.
- *NOT coconut cream; they’re very different. I used the brand Coco Lopez for this cake; Coco Real is another good brand. You can find cream of coconut at most liquor stores or with the drink mixers at the grocery store.
- If the cake batter looks curdled after you mix in the milk, don’t worry—that’s totally fine! The batter will look normal after you mix in the dry ingredients.
- You can strain the raspberry filling through a fine mesh sieve if you want to remove the seeds. (You’ll just have a little less filling to work with if you do but it’s still enough to fill the cake.)
- To save yourself a step, you can substitute your favorite raspberry jam for the filling. Use 2 to 3 tablespoons of jam per layer, just enough to spread a generous layer on top of the cake.
- Because there are quite a few steps in this recipe, I recommend reading the whole thing through a couple of times before starting to bake. See the body of this post for step-by-step photos to help you out!