This homemade coconut loaf cake is an easy, made from scratch cake. It is not only simple, but is also super moist and yummy! Made using both coconut milk and shredded coconut, this ultimate coconut cake is incredibly delicious even without frosting.
The cake is baked in a loaf tin and drizzled with a quick lemon glaze topping. The combination of the tangy lemon glaze drizzle and the aromatic coconut milk in this loaf cake is truly inviting. But you can always leave the drizzle out if you want, or you can even top the cake with other frostings like cream cheese frosting or even chocolate ganache if you like.
This coconut loaf cake makes a great snack cake and is also perfect as an afternoon tea cake. If you wish to make this cake as a celebration cake or even a coconut birthday cake, double the recipe below and make in 2 round cake tins. Sandwich the layers and cover the cake with a frosting of your choice and decorate as you wish.
❤️Why you will love this recipe
- This is a coconut packed cake. The coconut flakes in the cake batter add a lovely texture to this loaf cake, unlike most other recipes which only use coconut milk to add coconut flavor to their cakes. You get to taste the coconut flakes in the cake.
- This is a very easy to make cake, even beginner bakers can make it without a problem.
- The cake is great on its own, so if you are not into frosting and would like a simple loaf cake, this will be a great cake to try!
- Butter - I used salted butter. If using unsalted butter, add an extra small pinch of salt into the recipe.
- Granulated white sugar (caster sugar) - fine sugar works best for this recipe.
- All purpose flour + salt + baking powder - mix these ingredients well and sift before adding to the cake.
- Shredded coconut (unsweetened) - use unsweetened version to avoid the cake from becoming too sweet.
- Coconut milk - this can be purchased in cans or cartons. Look for coconut milk and not coconut water or coconut cream.
- Eggs - Use large eggs.
- Vanilla extract - adds a lovely aroma and flavor for the cake.
Lemon glaze topping:
- Icing sugar / powdered sugar (sifted) - sift the sugar first to break all lumps.
- Lemon juice - strain and remove the seeds and pulp.
- Warm water - use drinking or filtered water.
*Refer to the recipe card below for full list of ingredients and exact quantities. For best results, use a digital kitchen scale where applicable*
🧾Substitution and variations
- If you are using unsalted butter, you will need to add an extra small pinch of salt in the recipe.
- Shredded coconut can be replaced with fresh grated coconut. Use in the exact same quantity and make sure it is not sweetened.
- Coconut milk can be replaced with coconut cream. But you will need to dilute it first with water. For every 2 parts of coconut cream, mix with one part of water. If it is too thick, you can add more water until it is of milk consistency.
- Lemon juice can be replaced with lime juice. You can also add some grated lemon zest or grated lime zest (rind) to the glaze if you like.
- To make a layer cake, double the recipe below and bake in two 7 inches round tins and 6 inches square tins. Sandwich with buttercream or your frosting of choice.
- For extra coconut flavor, add half a teaspoon of coconut extract along with vanilla extract.
This recipe has not been tested with other substitutions or variations. If you do try, please let me know in the comments section below!
👩🏻🍳How to make
Mixing the cake batter
- The making process for this coconut cake loaf is similar to making a pound cake. Start by creaming the butter on medium speed in a large bowl of a stand mixer. Add sugar, and continue beating until they turn light and fluffy.
- Because the proportion of sugar to butter in this recipe is almost double, to ease the creaming process, add half of the coconut milk in the recipe to the butter and sugar mixture and beat them all until they become all fluffy. For the measurement given in the recipe below, this process should take about 2 minutes.
- Next, add the eggs, one at a time. Beat them well after each addition. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl halfway through.
- And then the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt) should go in to the creamed wet ingredients, alternately with the remaining coconut milk. If your butter or eggs are not at room temperature, the coconut cake batter will tend to cuddle at this stage and that is fine.
- Next, add the vanilla extract followed by the coconut. Mix well.
- Pour batter into a prepared loaf pan. Grease the cake tin and line it with parchment paper for easy release of the coconut cake after baking.
- Bake the coconut loaf cake in a preheated oven for about 35 to 40 minutes and do a skewer test in the center of the loaf to check if it is done at least 5 to 10 minutes before the baking time is up. Remove the cake from the oven and let it rest in the tin for about 10 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Making the simple lemon glaze icing
- Sift the powdered sugar into a small or medium mixing bowl.
- Add the lemon juice and water and mix well.
- Pour the icing into a piping bag, and snip the tip to drizzle it onto the top of the cake.
- Use a sharp knife to slice the coconut cake.
🍽️Serving & storage
- The cake can last at room temperature for a good 4 to 5 days. Keep it in an airtight container. If you wish to keep longer, refrigerate the cake for up to one week.
- The baking time plays an important factor is the success of this coconut cake. Because of the shredded coconut in the batter, this cake will have soft crumbs. However, its moist texture keeps the cake together. Over baking can result in the coconut loaf cake becoming too crumbly.
- When checking for doneness, remove the cake from the oven as soon as a skewer inserted in the center comes out with a few soft crumbs attached to it. Waiting for a stage where the skewer comes out totally clean maybe a little too late for a moist coconut cake.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the cake - Because of the rather long stands of coconut (shredded coconut) in the cake, cutting the cake requires one to use a sharp knife that would cut through the coconut shreds. A not so sharp knife will not be able to cut through the shreds resulting in rather crumbly cake slices.
This is the white substance that is squeezed out of the coconut flesh and not the clear water that is present in the coconuts.
Coconut milk can be readily purchased from grocery stores. Sometimes, the milk tends to separate, so if that happens, shake your container well.
Loaf cakes are baked in loaf tins while regular cakes are baked in either round, sheet or square cake tins. The ingredients used are all the same, only different is the cake tin.
This coconut cake can be baked in both round and square cake tins. Use a 7 inches round cake tin or 6 inches square tin. The recipe will bake a single layer cake measuring approximately 1.5inches to 2 inches high.
Shredded coconut is the white coconut flesh or meat that has been cut into strips. It is sold both sweetened and unsweetened. Coconut flesh in this form is slightly more coarse than its desiccated or grated form.
Grated coconut is more finely processed coconut meat similar to desiccated coconut, however, grated coconut is wet while desiccated coconut is dry.
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Coconut Loaf Cake with Coconut Milk
For best results, use the metrics measurements. US customary measurements have not been tested and are only meant for guide.
- 115 g butter
- 200 g granulated sugar
- 120 g all purpose flour
- 115 g shredded coconut unsweetened
- 150 ml coconut milk
- 3 eggs
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 40 g powdered sugar sifted
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon water warm
- Preheat oven to 160 °Celsius. Grease and line an 8 inches by 4 inches loaf pan with parchment paper.
- Sift flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
- In a separate bowl, cream butter until soft. Add granulated sugar and half of the coconut milk and beat until the mixture turns light and fluffy for about 2 minutes.
- Add eggs, one at a time and beat well after each addition.
- Fold in the sifted dry ingredients alternately with the remaining coconut milk and mix until the flour is well incorporated. Add vanilla extract and mix briefly.
- Next, fold in the shredded coconut. Pour batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes until the cake is done.
- Remove the coconut cake from the oven and let it cool in the tin for about 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To prepare the lemon glaze icing, sift the powdered sugar into a bowl. Add lemon juice and water and mix until it reaches a runny consistency.
- Fill the icing into a piping bag and drizzle on the cake as desired.
- Over baking can result in the coconut loaf cake becoming too crumbly. When checking for doneness, do it at least 5 minutes before the baking time is up. Remove the cake from the oven as soon as a skewer inserted in the center comes out with a few soft crumbs attached to it. Waiting for a stage where the skewer comes out totally clean maybe a little too late for a moist coconut cake.
- Use a sharp knife to cut the cake, to cut through the coconut shreds. A not-so-sharp knife will not be able to cut through the shreds resulting in rather crumbly cake slices.