If you love coconut, or even if you don't, this 3 Day Easy Coconut Cake is quite delicious! It's moist, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth incredible! And the truth is, I'm not even a big coconut eater, but I love this cake!
When we moved back to my tiny hometown a few years ago, I was tasked with helping at a bake sale for one of our local ministries. Everybody told me I had to get Mrs. Sharon (a lady from our church) to make a coconut cake for the bake sale. I mean they were emphatic - I HAD TO!
So I asked and she made not one, but two of them. I was pretty happy with myself. I was even more happy when they were the first cakes to sell that day! Apparently, her coconut cakes are pretty "famous" in our small town.
The Coconut Cake Recipe
Well, I'm not shy about asking anybody for a recipe and to my delight, she happily passed it along. Of course she acted like it was nothing special and no big deal. But when I finally got around to making one myself, I instantly knew why her coconut cake was all that.
This cake is crazy-good.
And it really is super, duper easy! Now I'm keeping it authentic here and sharing her exact recipe - which is titled 3 Day Easy Coconut Cake. But if I'm being honest, I don't think I've ever let it sit for a whole 3 days. Maybe not even a full 24 hours.
Partly because I'm a procrastinator and partly because it's just too dang good to wait that long. And really, who's got time for that? Ha!
However, if you can stand it and have more will power than I do, let it sit for three days. The frosting is made with sugar, sour cream and whipped topping and the cake soaks up all that delicousness every minute you let it chill in the frig.
If you're reading this thinking you don't have 3 days or want to wait 3 days to eat it, let me assure you that it's still a fantastic cake if you'll just take 8-10 hours and let it chill overnight.
Either way, it's quite simply, incredible!
Mrs. Sharon bakes in three 8" pans, then tortes (splits) each of those so her cake is actually 6 layers. As you can see - mine is only three.
I skipped that step because
I'm lazy I think it works just as well without the splitting. And I never do good with super thin layers. I break them. I tear them. It's just not good.
Oh and one other thing. Y'all know I'm a cake-mix girl for the most part. So I was just thrilled to see that this recipe is cake-mix-based. I'd have never guessed that in a million years. When I experienced this cake, it just felt like a homemade from-scratch, grandma kind of cake.
More Delicious Coconut Cake RecipesPrint
3 Day Easy Coconut Cake
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 24 1x
If you love coconut, or even if you don't, this 3 Day Easy Coconut Cake is quite delicious! It's moist, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth incredible!
1 box of white or yellow cake mix (I prefer Pillsbury)
½ cup oil
1 cup water
2 (6 oz each) packages of frozen coconut, thawed
16 oz. sour cream
2 cups sugar
16 oz. frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (7 oz) bag flaked coconut
These are Mrs. Sharon's instructions, with my added notes.
Preheat the oven to 325°F. (she bakes according to the box, I bake all cakes at 325°F!)
Mix the cake mix, eggs, oil and water in a medium mixing bowl. Bake in three (3) 8" pans until a toothpick comes out clean - usually 25-35 mins.
Cool, then split into 6 layers. As mentioned above, I skipped the splitting, but feel free to do that if you wish.
In a separate bowl (while the cakes are cooling), mix together 2 packages of frozen coconut, sour cream, and sugar. Set aside ¼ cup of this to use later.
Divide the remaining mixture and spread between the 3 (or 6) layers.
Now mix the ¼ cup mixture into the whipped topping; spread on the tops and sides of the cake. This was a lot of frosting in my opinion, but I'm not sure how you'd cut it down.
Decorate the outside of the cake by covering with flaked coconut.
Refrigerate for 3 days in an airtight container before cutting. I never do this. I usually chill it overnight or at least a few hours. However, the longer it sits, the more moist and delish it will be.
- Prep Time: 30
- Cook Time: 30
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: cake, coconut, coconut cake, easy,
Hi rose. I was thinking about making the Cooked Frosting with flour and milk and was wondering if you have tried it and if it’s good for kids party cupcakes. I respect your opinion as I read your posts as often as I can. Thanks
I'm not sure I've ever heard of this type of frosting. Sorry I can't help!
Maybe she’s talking about ermine frosting. Weird but it works and tastes fantastic.
I made this cake years ago. It is delicious. Thank you for reminding about this old favorite.
So happy to hear it - you're welcome!
Does this cake SERIOUSLY yield 24 servings? Can any cake baked in 8-inch pans that isn't at least 7 or 8 layers serve that many people? This astounds me. I just want to double check and see if this is correct or if it might be a typo. Whoever came up with this number doesn't feed the people I'm usually around. They don't have a cakeaholic for a mother and feed several farmers at a meal. I would have to bake an 18-inch cake to even consider that many servings. The people at some restaurants in Colonial Williamsburg don't read these instructions either. I have been served at the restaurant called the Trellis, not sure if its still there or not, a deep dark rich chocolate cake with ganache frosting that HAD to be at LEAST 6-inches tall, the end of the cake slice 4-inches wide and the slice of cake 6 to 8 inches deep. It was served on a dinner plate I think, not the dessert plates I use at holiday meals. I'm NOT exaggerating on this cake slice either. It was without doubt THE largest slice of cake I had ever been served in my life. While the cost was not cheap, I could not complain I wasn't given my money's worth of dessert. I would have LOVED to have seen the whole pre-sliced cake back in the kitchen. It had to have been a work of art to behold. If this coconut cake is as good as its claiming to be it makes me extremely sad that one of my older relatives isn't with us any longer. Every Christmas and every Easter she made a coconut cake. Aunt Maudie always loved finding a new and delicious recipe. For a woman born in 1905 she sure did love trying to recipes and new foods (within reason), basically, she just loved food. Sounds like she would have loved this one. While I'm the one in the family that inherited the job of baking ALL the recipes of EVERY female on BOTH sides of the family (one of the times I'm glad I'm not married or I would have all of hubby's family to do too) I do Aunt Maudie's Easter cake at Easter but not at Christmas, not unless I have a function other than Christmas dinner that I'm baking for. After all, I do her Applesauce cake every Christmas and about 3 or 4 other cakes. I'm still baking recipes that have been in our family around 150 years. I think I'm doing pretty good. I think at Easter coconut just always seems to go, not quite sure why that is but Easter and coconut just exist together. And then at Christmas, I think she thought the cake reminded people of snow. Is that why we do coconut at Christmas? Well if this cake is as good as it sounds poor Aunt Maudie's coconut cake may be benched for a while and I use this. I'm anxious to give it a try. I have a function I want to make several items for this coming Saturday and I think this is going to be one. I also plan on giving the Fudge Cupcakes with the Raspberry Syrup from one of the Hannah Swensen Mysteries, the ones that run on the Hallmark Channel. Do you read any food based mystery series? I read too many to remember them all but the mystery sleuth who owns the Cookie Jar Bakery, Hannah Swensen by Joanne Fluke are a favorite along with all of the ones by Laura Childs who does tea shop mysteries with Theodosia Browning and her dog Earl Grey which occur in Charleston, SC and the scrapbook shop in New Orleans with Carmella Bertrand and her shop Memory Mine. Even though Carmella owns a scrapbook shop she is also a great cook and her recipes she prepares are included in the back of the book, often more Cajun or seafood oriented. I have discovered some fantastic recipes from reading mysteries. A great way to fulfill to obsessions at the same time, mysteries and baking. Life CAN be good at times.
Is the frozen shredded coconut sweetened or unsweetened???
The brand I buy, Bird's Eye, is sweetened.
this is a p.s. to the above comment. In reading your comments with the instructions and looking at the pictures I agree, it seems like a lot of frosting for just the outside and top of cake. In the pictures it doesn't look like anything is between the layers. I almost didn't think you did put anything until I read the instructions again doublechecking for that. It seems like there should be more filling between layers. Almost every coconut cake I've ever seen has had a decent amount. Were you ever able to see one of the coconut cakes Mrs. Sharon made after it had been cut? It's a shame now that you have the recipe you don't have a good reason to ask her to do another one for comparison. Are you sure she didn't also place some of the frosting with the whipped topping between the layers? I don't see why you can't. I think I'm going to put some of it between layers. I wish you had pictures of a cut slice of a cake Mrs. Sharon did. I would be very curious to see what her cake looked like when finished. You can tell a lot in a cut slice of cake.
Looks yummy! I will have to try it sometime!
Let me know if you do!
Sounds good but I have to ask...what is frozen coconut? How is it different than regular coconut? I haven’t seen frozen coconut in any stores so I’m wondering what is different other than just being regular coconut that was frozen.
I'm gonna be honest here and say, I really have no idea. I hadn't used it prior to this recipe but I just followed it as written. I found the frozen coconut in our local small-town grocery store, in Walmart Super Stores and in Kroger. Hope that helps!
Ok-LOL. I’ll have to look harder when I go to the store and see if I can find some of that coconut. Thanks for the reply.
I was going to ask the same question about the coconut because I have never heard or seen frozen coconut before. Is it shredded coconut? Can you substitute for regular shredded coconut?
It is shredded. After doing a little research, it seems that frozen coconut is frozen fresh vs. dried (like the bags), so it has a lot more moisture.
After doing a little research, it seems that frozen coconut is frozen fresh vs. dried (like the bags), so it has a lot more moisture.
I will have to try this cake, as it looks awesome.
Thank you so much for this recipe! I had been wanting to make a coconut cake for quite some time. I chose this one because of the 3 day part. I was doing all the cooking for Labor Day so I figured that the cake would be an easy dessert to do in advance. I didn't veer too far from the recipe. I just made it as a sheet cake. I did split the cake into 2 layers and put the filling in the middle. I also went a little lighter on the coconut on top. It was a huge hit. Everyone loved it. And it definitely gets better and better as each day passes. Again, thanks so much for this.
That makes me SO happy to hear!! Thank you Valencia!
I made this cake today. Have no idea how it will taste. I love coconut so I will wait the 3 days ( maybe ). I made the filling, boy was it thin. I checked the recipe again, yes it is sour cream. Thought maybe it was supposed to be cream cheese. Maybe that is the reason that you can't really tell that there are layers of cake. Yes it is a lot of frosting. If it turns out, I will use some of the frosting in between the layers next time . I'm sure it will taste wonderful. tasted the cake when I leveled it, tasted the filling ( had some left over, it just kind of ran off the cake layers, very thin ) and I tasted the frosting. All tasted great. Was the filling supposed to be thin?
Hey Pattie - yes, the filling is very runny. I think that helps it soak into the layers and creates a more moist cake in the end!
Question: Is the filling supposed to be so thin? Would not stay between layers. Just oozed out. Thank you
Yes, it's always been thin for me. I think that helps it soak into the cake and makes it super moist.
Have you tried this cake with buttercream frosting? I have someone who wants her wedding cake to be coconut, but not the frosting with recipe.
I have not tried it with buttercream. Do you still plan to use the filling? Because there's no coconut in the actual cake.
I just finished making this cake and I can't WAIT to taste it! Not that I haven't been tasting all along. I had to do some modifications, like I made it with two square pans, and I have 4 layers. I didn't have frozen coconut and when I mixed the flaked coconut into the sugar and sour cream, it was not "runny" as I had read in the comments so I added a tablespoon or 2 of 1/2 & 1/2. It looked like it was going to make tons (way too much) frosting. so I ended up adding just 1/2 the cool whip to my leftover sour cream mixture which was way more than 1/4 cup, more like 1 cup. That made just enough to cover my cake. It's in the refrigerator right now, and I am hoping it will last in there until tonight. I'm sure I won't be able to last much longer than that! LOL
I will be making a coconut cake for my friend who will be turning 70. I'm looking to make 2 tiers 9 and 8". Is this cake sturdy enough for that 2nd tier?
I remember my mother making this cake with a 7 minute frosting.
I would think not. This cake is super soft and I don't think I'd try to do tiers with it.
Thanks so much for sharing this recipe.....i got to try it,it looks yummy
Tried this cake today. Wish I knew to take the whipped cream right out of the freezer. My cake looks like a glob of cream! Lol
Can't wait to try this recipe. It looks delicious. Are you supposed to use the whipped topping and the frozen coconut right out of the freezer or should they be thawed?
Question: I detest Cool Whip. What do you think about using (stabilized) whipped cream in its place?
I (also) have never seen frozen coconut in any of my local markets, even our Mexican market, which has a very good selection of other frozen fruit purees and such. I'll have to look closer.
I agree with one of the other posters about the cake needs some more filling between layers. I suspect you added it, but it soaked into the cake and thereby helps moisten it too. I would try adding more filling knowing it will soak in before cutting.
Otherwise, coconut cake? What's not to love. Can't wait to try it (with whipped cream).
I worked as Brookshires Grocery store a few years ago. This recipe came out in their Easter flyer. Being a home baker, I kept it and made the cake for a lady in my dance group that was turning 80. She had requested a coconut cake. Long story short, Every time someone in the group turns 80 this is the cake they want. We always have a party for anyone in the group who is 80 and still dancing. Monthly parties for everyone. We all love this cake, and it is better after 3 days and served cold.
Couldn't let mine sit for 3 days either!!! BUT OMG!!! SO SO GOOD and love the simplicity of using a cake mix!
I love this recipe! I make it in a 9x13 pan, and treat it like a poke cake. So instead of filling layers, I just put that "filling" on top of the cake and it soaks in, and the whipped topping layer on top of that. Yum!!