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Vegan Coconut Cake

This Vegan Coconut Cake is a decadent dessert bursting with vanilla and coconut flavors. No one will believe that this perfect cake is vegan!

one slice cut out of vegan coconut cake on a white cake stand

Vegan Coconut Cake

What dessert screams summer more than coconut cake? One bite into this coconut cake recipe will transport you to the beach STAT (I wish). It is seriously the best coconut cake recipe I’ve tried – not to mention it’s vegan!

Many of you have made my vegan funfetti cake, so I thought I’d try my hand at more flavors. First up, coconut! What cake flavors would you like to see next? I’m thinking butter pecan, red velvet (especially for the holidays), and a gluten-free vanilla cake.

two slices of vegan layer cake on white plates on a marble table

Coconut Cake Ingredients

The ingredients in this vegan coconut cake are simple. Also, I recommend having all of these stocked in your pantry for everyday cooking and baking!

  • All-purpose flour. No need for cake flour – all-purpose flour works greats and provides the necessary gluten that this coconut cake recipe needs for structure.
  • Sugar. Plain ole granulated white sugar!
  • Shredded coconut. Make sure you’re used unsweetened.
  • Baking soda. When baking soda reacts with vinegar, it helps this vegan coconut cake rise.
  • Salt. To balance out the sweetness.
  • Non-dairy milk. Any works, as long as it’s unsweetened.
  • Canned coconut milk. You want something pourable – not the super thick coconut cream. This provides extra coconut flavor.
  • Oil. I like to use canola oil for baking. It’s high in the omega-3 fatty acid ALA!
  • Vinegar. Provides rise to this cake.
  • Vanilla extract. Because, of course.
  • Frosting. Feel free to make your own or use a store-bought mix! Vanilla frosting goes best with this vegan coconut cake.

frosted coconut cake

How to Make Coconut Cake

The steps to make this coconut cake recipe couldn’t be simpler:

  1. Mix the dry ingredients.
  2. Add the wet ingredients (to the same bowl! less dishes >>>>).
  3. Mix.
  4. Bake!

Don’t be surprised when this vegan coconut cake batter is a bit thick. That’s not on accident. When we’re baking vegan cakes, we need to reduce the liquid and fat content to encourage more gluten formation. We’re really counting on gluten to provide vegan cakes structure since we’re not using eggs. Science!!

Important note: Make sure you’re measuring your flour correctly: check out this post for a tutorial. If you don’t measure correctly, your cake will come out whack.

How to Make Coconut Filling

The best filling and frosting for this vegan coconut cake recipe is vanilla frosting topped with ALL the shredded coconut! Did you know most storebought frostings are vegan? Score for the vegan team.

I used about 3/4 of a regular frosting container for this standard cake! Then I topped each frosting layer and the top of the cake with more dried coconut.

one slice of vegan coconut cake on white plate

Print
How to make:

Vegan Coconut Cake

Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
45 mins
Author:
Emilie
Yield:
10 1x

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, plus more for decoration
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 3/4 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup oil (canola, grapeseed, or vegetable)
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Non-dairy vanilla frosting

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease two 8- or 9-inch cake pans. Sprinkle a little flour into each pan, then shake the pan around to evenly distribute the flour.
  2. In a large bowl, add flour, sugar, coconut, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine. Add non-dairy milk, coconut milk, oil, vinegar, and vanilla; whisk until just combined. Do not overmix; it’s okay if there are some lumps. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans.
  3. Bake for 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  4. Set pans aside for 10 minutes to cool, then remove cake from pan and place on a cooling rack (a trick: place a plate on top of the pan, flip it over so that the cake comes out on the plate, then flip the plate over onto the cooling rack).
  5. When completely cool, decorate with frosting and sprinkles.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 slice (without frosting)
  • Calories: 392.9
  • Sugar: 26.2
  • Sodium: 378.8
  • Fat: 17.2
  • Saturated Fat: 5.9
  • Unsaturated Fat: 10.6
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 55.7
  • Fiber: 1.9
  • Protein: 4.5
  • Cholesterol: 0

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