Coconut Spice Cake

by Renee on December 5, 2013

Coconut Spice Cake | Magnolia Days

Tropical delights brighten a dreary winter day. Coconut is quite popular during the holiday season. Perhaps it could be because the white flakes adorn the tops of confections like snow covering a landscape. It may possibly be because of tasting a something from the tropics brings warm memories to cold days. Or it could simply be that it tastes so good. Combine it with warm spices and you get a double flavor bonus. It’s the reason I crave Coconut Spice Cake during the holidays.

Many moons ago I was a young baker. A friend of mine passed along a tip which lead me to finding a few favorite cake recipes. She said to look for buttermilk as an ingredient. I went on a quest and searched through my cookbooks. It was for an office holiday celebration that I first baked a coconut spice cake. I could not have found a more perfect recipe for me. Coconut, spices, cream cheese, pecans, oh my! I didn’t want to share it however it was the holidays which is a time of giving and sharing.

Coconut Spice Cake | Magnolia Days

A note about baking this cake. The original recipe called for two 9-inch round pans. I chose to bake it in a 9- X 13-inch pan. The single layer cake seems to go further for larger gatherings. It also seems more fitting for a spice cake. Be sure to adjust the baking time if you use two round pans. It will be less time than in one big pan (about 25 to 30 minutes).

Coconut Spice Cake | Magnolia Days

Do you make special treats for the holidays? If so, then I have something to share with you. Scroll down to find more recipes for the season. It’s a Holiday Food Party not to miss! You can also check out another one of my favorites: spiced pecans.

Coconut Spice Cake

2 hours, 30 minutes

Makes 20 to 24 servings

Coconut Spice Cake

    For the cake:
  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • For the frosting:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 box (16 ounces) confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk or half-and-half
  • 1 cup chopped toasted pecans
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes
  • Toasted pecan halves
For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9- X 13- X 2-inch baking pan.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cardamom in a bowl.

Cream butter, sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl using an electric mixer on high speed. (I used a hand mixer).

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Add the vanilla and beat to combine.

Add the flour mixture in three additions, alternatively with the buttermilk in two additions, mixing on low speed until just combined. Do not over mix.

Stir in the coconut and pecans.

Pour batter into prepared pan and spread batter evenly in the pan.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick when inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool cake in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn out cake on to a wire rack. Cool completely.

For the frosting:

Beat cream cheese, butter, and salt until smooth.

Add confectioners sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Add enough milk or half-and-half until it reaches spreading consistency.

Stir in chopped toasted pecans.

Spread frosting on top and sides of cake.

Sprinkle top and sides with coconut flakes and gently press into frosting.

Garnish with toasted pecan halves. Refrigerate cake.

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Recipe adapted from one in the Southern Living 1984 Annual Recipes cookbook (out of print).

The holiday season has begun. Some wonderful blogger friends and myself are sharing recipes to make your celebrations filled with tasty delights. Take a look and check out each one because they are all so good:

Christmas Holiday Food Party Collage

Special thanks to Jen at Jen’s Favorite Cookies our host and the one who does so much to make these Holiday Food Parties happen.

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Oge @ healthy food delivery December 5, 2013 at 7:50 am

Renee, this cake looks so Christmassy, besides I love coconut and I love spice, so this is a no brainer :)

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Renee December 7, 2013 at 9:10 am

It is a very Christmassy cake and one I have the urge to bake every December.

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Terry December 5, 2013 at 12:20 pm

love it. The cake is TO DIE FOR.

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Renee December 7, 2013 at 9:09 am

Thanks Terry and I totally agree.

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Jennie @themessybakerblog December 5, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Buttermilk creates an extremely moist cake. There’s no way I could walk past this cake without eating a slice.

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Renee December 7, 2013 at 9:08 am

It called out to me many times and I couldn’t walk past it without getting a small slice. It’s so good.

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Kayle (The Cooking Actress) December 5, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Mmmm coconut totally does look like snow, love this cake!

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Renee December 7, 2013 at 9:07 am

Every time I see a coconut cake it makes me think of snow. I’m glad I’m not the only one who relates them together.

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Isabelle @ Crumb December 5, 2013 at 5:34 pm

Oh man, that is one good-looking cake. I love spice cake, and I love coconut cake… so obviously there is nothing about this cake that I don’t love!

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Renee December 7, 2013 at 9:07 am

Thank you Isabel and I could not agree with you more. Bring on the spices and coconut!

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Carla December 5, 2013 at 8:25 pm

I wish I could express how much I love the sound of this coconut cake (not to mention how beautiful it is and not a hot mess like I’d make it). Perfect for a holiday party!

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Renee December 7, 2013 at 9:06 am

I can’t believe you would make a hot mess of this cake. Your desserts turn out so good.

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Anita at Hungry Couple December 6, 2013 at 9:05 am

What a great party/gathering cake and so festive. I’m also a huge believer in buttermilk!

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Renee December 7, 2013 at 9:06 am

Once I saw how buttermilk helps make a cake moist and adds a special hint of flavor I was hooked.

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Karli December 6, 2013 at 3:25 pm

I’m so happy to have found someone that loves coconut as much as I do!!!

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Renee December 7, 2013 at 9:04 am

Thanks Karli and go team coconut!

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Tom @ Waegook Tom December 7, 2013 at 5:33 am

This looks absolutely amazing, Renee! I adore coconut. I reckon it’s probably popular during the holidays because, like you say, it looks like snow, and makes everything look Christmassy. I also love the idea of the spices in the cake to give it some seasonal warmth. I think I’ll give this one a try next week and see how it turns out! :)

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Renee December 7, 2013 at 9:04 am

Thank you Tom and I hope you have success with this cake as you did with my Butternut tart.

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Susan December 7, 2013 at 12:08 pm

I really want to like coconut because this is a beautiful yet simple cake Renee! Everything about it looks amazing Renee.

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Renee December 13, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Thanks Susan and I understand about not liking coconut. It’s the same with me with beets. No matter how they are made they just taste “off” to me.

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Laura Dembowski December 8, 2013 at 8:38 am

I’ll take anything to forget about winter! Coconut cake is my fave and the addition of spices is great!

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Renee December 13, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Me too on forgetting about winter. I’m already so ready for spring.

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Diane (createdbydiane) December 9, 2013 at 12:51 am

I just LOVE a cake covered in coconut. Not only does it look like it’s covered in snow….it’s must smell amazing!

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Renee December 13, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Oh yes, it does smell amazing with all those spices and pecans.

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Kim Beaulieu December 9, 2013 at 9:24 am

Renee this is such a pretty cake. I’m a huge coconut girl so this is just calling out my name. And you know I love me some pecans. Great recipe for the party. Happy holidays my lovely friend. xx

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Renee December 13, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Thanks Kim and I’m wishing you and your family very Happy Holidays too.

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