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Gluten Free Coconut Cake

This Gluten Free Coconut Cake is the ultimate cake for coconut lovers. It’s made with coconut milk, coconut oil, and shredded coconut, plus it’s filled with coconut custard and topped with toasted coconut.

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Gluten Free Coconut Cake (and dairy free). This cake is the ultimate dessert for coconut lovers! From @whattheforkblog |

Gluten Free Coconut Cake

YOU GUYS. It’s my birthday again!

It seems like I just celebrated 29 again with my Gluten Free Funfetti cake. I love birthdays, just not that added year every time it rolls around. I mean, I still kind of feel like I’m young. I still feel like that 22 year old that likes to have fun. Only now I have two little kids, two dogs, and a house to take care of so “fun” has an entirely different meaning.

Gluten Free Coconut Cake (and dairy free). This cake is the ultimate dessert for coconut lovers! From @whattheforkblog |

And then when I’m actually around 22 year olds, I remember – oh yeah. I’m definitely NOT 22 years old anymore. They seem so young. So energetic. So responsibility-free. Their natural red highlights aren’t turning white. They can stay up past midnight and not pay for it for the next two-three days. They’re not constantly saying things like “Please don’t pick your nose with Elsa’s feet” or “Please stop licking the door” or even “Please don’t poke your sister with your popsicle”.

So basically, my mind says 22. My life says absolutely not. My candles say 29.

It’s a compromise I’m willing to accept.

Gluten Free Coconut Cake (and dairy free). This cake is the ultimate dessert for coconut lovers! From @whattheforkblog |

Since it’s my birthday, presents are in order. I’ve lined up a great list of goodies FOR YOU this year. One lucky reader will win a KitchenAid Stand Mixer, a $100 Sweetapolita Gift Card, and a little package of my favorite products from Rodelle Vanilla. I have fallen in love with Sweetapolita’s gluten free sprinkles and I want to share that love with you!

You can enter the giveaway via the Rafflecopter form at the very end of this post. Good luck!

Not only am I having a little (BIG!!!) giveaway, but so many blogging friends showed up to celebrate my birthday with me and they’ve all got sweet treats and cocktails to share because it’s not a birthday without cake, ice cream, or cocktails, amiright?! You can check out what everyone is sharing in the list just below my gluten free coconut cake recipe – be sure to click over to their sites to get the delicious recipe details!

Gluten Free Coconut Cake (and dairy free). This cake is the ultimate dessert for coconut lovers! From @whattheforkblog |

And now, lets finally talk about this gluten free coconut cake, k? If you’re a coconut lover like me, you’re going to love this. This cake is packed with coconut flavor. The cake is gluten free and dairy free and made with coconut oil, coconut milk, and has a little shredded coconut mixed into the batter. But I didn’t stop there.

The filling is a mixture of my dairy free coconut custard and So Delicious CocoWhip (you could also use homemade coconut whipped cream). I frosted the cake with the same vegan vanilla frosting that I used for my gluten free frosted sugar cookies and then I coated the sides of the cake with toasted coconut.

This cake is the definition of coconut heaven. Your tastebuds will rejoice. Mine did. There’s no better way to celebrate then celebrating with a cake in your favorite flavor.

Cheers to another year, my friends!

Enjoy, you know I will!

Gluten Free Coconut Cake (and dairy free). This cake is the ultimate dessert for coconut lovers! From @whattheforkblog |
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Gluten Free Coconut Cake (and dairy free). This cake is the ultimate dessert for coconut lovers! From @whattheforkblog |

Gluten Free Coconut Cake

4.52 from 179 ratings
This Gluten Free Coconut Cake is the ultimate cake for coconut lovers. It’s made with coconut milk, coconut oil, and shredded coconut, plus it’s filled with coconut custard and topped with toasted coconut.
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 12
Print Rate Pin


For the Cake:

  • 1 C coconut milk room temperature
  • 6 large egg whites room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 C solid coconut oil measured then melted
  • 2 1/4 C gluten free flour
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 3/4 C granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3/4 C shredded coconut

For the Filling:

  • 1 C prepared coconut custard
  • 1 C So Delicious CocoWhip or homemade coconut whipped cream

For the Frosting:

  • 1/2 C vegan butter I use soy-free Earth Balance spread
  • 1/2 C shortening
  • 3 1/2 C powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp coconut milk
  • 1 1/4 C toasted coconut


To Make the Cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray 3 8-inch cake pans with non-stick spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, egg whites, vanilla extract, and coconut oil until well combined.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, xanthan gum, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the shredded coconut.
  • Pour in the milk/egg/oil mixture and stir until well incorporated and the batter is smooth.
  • Transfer the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake at 350 degrees for 20-24 minutes (or until a cake tester comes out with moist crumbs. Cool the cakes in the pan for 10 minutes then cool completely on a wire rack.
  • ***See notes for storing the cake after baking****

For the Filling:

  • Stir together the CocoWhip (defrosted if frozen) and the coconut custard.

For the Frosting:

  • Add the vegan butter to a bowl of a stand mixer and beat at medium speed to soften. Add the shortening and beat until well mixed.
  • Add the powdered sugar and mix on low speed. While the mixer is running, add the vanilla extract and coconut milk. If the frosting is too thick, you can thin it with a little more coconut milk.
  • Turn the mixer to medium-high speed and beat the frosting until smooth and creamy, scraping down the bowl as necessary.

To Assemble the Cake:

  • Place one of the cake layers on a cake stand or cake plate. Add some of the frosting to a piping bag and pipe a border along the border of the cake. Fill the icing dam with half of the cake filling and then top with the second cake layer.
  • Pipe another border around the cake layer and then fill that icing dam with the remainder of the cake filling and top with the last layer of cake.
  • Frost the cake with the remaining frosting. To decorate, press the toasted coconut along the sides of the cake.


To toast the coconut, add 1 1/4 cups shredded coconut to a dry pan and heat over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until the coconut turns golden brown. Remove from the heat and cool completely before adding to the cake.
*** I freeze all of my cakes before frosting them. When they have cooled to room temperature, I wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and then freeze them on a sheet pan in the freezer. I find frosting frozen cakes to be so much easier when using vegan frosting. Let the cake defrost completely before serving. ****
Recipe adapted from Food Network.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1g | Calories: 529kcal | Carbohydrates: 84g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Sodium: 281mg | Potassium: 73mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 67g | Vitamin A: 360IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 2mg


As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Facts are estimated and aren't always accurate. Please consult a doctor or nutritionist if you have special dietary needs.

Did you make this?Mention @whattheforkfoodblog or leave a comment rating below!
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Be sure to check out all of the deliciously sweet desserts and birthday cocktails that my blogging friends made to celebrate with me

Gluten Free Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes – Gluten-Free Palate

Bourbon Tropical Peach Cocktail – Fearless Dining

Kir Royale Cocktails – The Heritage Cook

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes – My Gluten Free Miami

Gluten Free Cookie Cake – Flippin’ Delicious

Summer Beer – Vegetarian Mamma

The Best Gluten Free Cake – gfJules

Gluten Free Cookie Cake – A Mind “Full” Mom

Strawberry Lychee Panna Cotta – Brunch-n-Bites

Cucumber Moscow Mule – The Culinary Compass

Paleo Chocolate Cupcakes with Mocha Frosting – Only Taste Matters

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes – Veggie Balance

Virgin Watermelon Margarita – Coffee With Us 3

Elderflower Mojito – Home & Plate

Summertime Lemon Cupcakes – For the Love of Food

Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake Stacks – Simply Healthy Family

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake – Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt

Watermelon Mint Gin Fizz – Frugal Foodie Mama

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake – Raia’s Recipes

Tequila Sunrise Cocktail – All Roads Lead to the Kitchen

Gluten Free Fresh Apple Cake – My Gluten-free Kitchen

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Gluten Free Coconut Cake (and dairy free). This cake is the ultimate dessert for coconut lovers! From @whattheforkblog |

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Recipe Rating

  1. Pamela Lee says:

    How far ahead can I put this cake together? I’m concerned that the filling will make the cake soggy. I’m taking this over to my daughters house for her birthday. It smells delicious.

  2. Nancy says:

    Is the gluten free flour nut free? I usually find almond flour as the main ingredient in most. Not good if you are allergic to nuts.

  3. Devisha says:

    Hi! What a wonderfully excellent recipe this is! Hats off to you! Perfectly soft, excellent crumb, no chewiness due to Xanthan gum, bursting of coconut flavor. What can I say! I can’t thank you enough! Keep up the good work! Keep inspiring enthusiastic bakers like us! Thanks again!

  4. Stephanie says:

    5 stars
    I made this cake and filled it with a raspberry filling which I bought at a baking store. It was fantastic. You could also use jam but the colors are brighter with commercial filling. I highly recommended it!

  5. Erin says:

    5 stars
    My mom asked me to make her a coconut cake for Easter. I don’t have time to test my own, so I’m giving yours a go. I’m going to try using monkfruit to make it sugar free. Thanks for the recipe. Photo looks amazing!

  6. Les says:

    Would love to try this recipe but the link for the custard doesn’t seem to be working. How do I make the custard or is this something I need to buy? Thanks!

  7. alan slimm says:

    This free gluten cake allowed me to enjoy one of my favorite ingredients,the amazing coconut

  8. Vagisha says:

    I was so excited to bake this cake for my brother-in-law’s birthday!I even bought the more expensive gluten free flour (cup4cup) but the result was a disaster! The batter was like play-doh and the cakes dense and gummy!Do you think its the high xanthan gum in the flour that caused it ??

    • Sharon says:

      Cup4Cup already contains xanthan gum so if you used that plus the xanthan gum the recipe calls for it would result in a really gummy cake. Sounds like that’s what probably happened.

  9. Erin K says:

    Do you use just any gluten free flour? Or a gluten free flour blend? Coconut flour? This cake looks delicious! Can’t wait to try it!

  10. Anne says:

    Was so hoping this would be vegan. …until I saw the 6 large egg whites 🙁 Could I substitute flax seed and water ‘egg’ substitute?

  11. Auntie Becky says:

    Thank you for sharing your experiences and tips! I am meeting more and more people who have serious food allergy/issues particularly working with high school students at our church’s fellowship. I love trying things. My own experience with purchasing “gluten-free” flour – my student is allergic to “legumes” which rules out “pea-flour”….and mayo made with soybean oil…and things with cornstarch; so I went with coconut flour. I’m going to try your coconut cake recipe and its nice to know someone with wit and humor (you have to in order to cope with these food challenges) is out there sharing useful tips.

  12. Just wanted you to know that I will be featuring this in a dessert round up on my blog. Thanks for linking up to Create Link Inspire party! Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  13. Grace @ Lemon & Thyme says:

    Wow, wow, wow! I have been wanting to make a coconut cake and you have just convinced me I need to. So beautiful.

  14. Julie R says:

    I did it! I made this cake for my mom’s 70th birthday party, where we’ll have several gluten-free, dairy-free peeps. I will afix a tiny piano on top to match our theme. I thought I could make it as beautiful as yours. After all, your and person and I’m a person, so surely I could do what you did. Nope! It’s a bit lopsided and not nearly as pretty. 🙂 Oh, well. I even sweetened and toasted the organic coconut in my own kitchen. It was quite the effort. I’ll let you know after the party if it tastes good. Maybe I’ll post a picture so you can feel really good about your beautiful cake-making skills. 😀

  15. Erin says:

    Do I need to use extra xantham gum if I am using a GF mix that has it in it, like Pamela’s, or Bob’s RM? I looked at your GF Mix recipe, and though simple, I kind of have an adverse reaction to Arrowroot, so I’ll probably stick to one of the pre-made blends I usually use. But I noticed how you said you need a different amount of xantham gum because of the arrowroot….

    • Sharon says:

      Hi Erin – another blend like Pamela’s or BRM 1:1 would be fine and if your blend has xanthan gum, skip the amount I call for. I use Arrowroot in my blend because to much potato makes me sick.

  16. Jeannette says:

    This cake was absolutely amazing! Great texture, great taste, and cooked perfectly! I used butter in the frosting and skipped the custard (ran out of sugar) and it still was delicious. Thank you for this recipe!

  17. Jeannette says:

    I used to buy Pepperidge Farm’s coconut layer cake every year for my birthday until I had to stop eating gluten. Until I saw this just now, I would just eat the glutened one. Thank you! An added bonus for me is its dairy free too. Do I use the canned coconut milk or the beverage?
    Thanks again!

    • Sharon says:

      Hi Jeannette – so glad you found this recipe then! I normally use the coconut milk beverage when baking but canned coconut milk would be great in this recipe for the richness and more pronounced coconut flavor 🙂

  18. Mona says:

    Hiii! what a beautiful cake. Quick Question, How did you manage to sprinkle the shredded coconut on the side? without destroying the frosting? did you press them on?

    • Sharon says:

      Thank you Mona! I press the coconut on with my hand – I put a bunch in my palm and then starting at the bottom, slowly press it up the side of the cake.

  19. Chrissy says:

    I’m so sorry, I didint funish. Can I sub the custard filling with another allergen free filling? Thank you for sharing your great, looking recipes!

  20. Chrissy says:

    This cake looks delicious and can’t wait to make it. My son can’t have egg yolks, could I substitute the custard filling with another gf, cf, soy free, egg gree, wheat free?

  21. Happy belated birthday! I am a coconut lover like you and am beyond impressed by this cake! The ingredients sound like it has a fluffy almost angel food cake-like texture, which I love, and that frosting!!

  22. Kristina says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY! this cake looks PERFECT.

  23. Wendy says:

    Happy Birthday to you! That is one of the most beautiful cakes I’ve seen. Bet it was delicious too!

  24. I LOVE coconut, so I’m pretty sure you made this cake just for me. Thank you!

  25. I can safely say I have never made a cake that looks even half this beautiful!! It’s why I pay friends like you for amazing desserts at parties!

  26. HOLY BEAUTY!! AND it’s gluten free… I’ll have all of it! 😀

  27. Happy Birthday! I hope you had a great day! That cake is just beautiful. What a wonderful way to celebrate!

  28. jules says:

    The coconut custard puts this recipe OVER THE TOP! WOW! Happy Birthday to you in a big, delicious way!

  29. Happy Birthday! Coconut cake is one of my all-time favorites and this one looks PERFECT!

  30. Happy Birthday!! I wish my family like coconut, because I need to make this cake, but I would be forced to eat it all by myself

  31. Amanda says:

    I love anything with coconut. Beautiful pictures and looks very tasty.

  32. Sabrina says:

    This cake looks like a real crowd-pleaser! My family would love this!

  33. Happy Birthday! You definitely deserve a big ol’ slice of this gorgeous cake on your special day.

  34. This cake sums up perfection!

  35. Kristen @ A Mind Full Mom says:

    Thanks for letting me be a part of this fabulous round-up and giveaway–your cake is stunning!

  36. Happy almost birthday Sharon! Thanks for letting us help you celebrate, it is such fun!!

  37. Raia says:

    That’s an absolutely beautiful cake, Sharon! I’m going to have to celebrate my 1/2 birthday or something, so I have an excuse to make it. 😉

  38. Cricket says:

    coconut cake is a favorite of mine, can’t wait to try your recipe!

  39. Nutrimom says:

    Wishing you a happy birthday but it looks like the cake already has that covered 🙂

  40. Calshondra Williams says:

    Happy Birthday! Your cake is really gorgeous and looks really delicious.

  41. Sarah says:

    that is one GORGEOUS cake!! coconut everything, I say!

  42. Alexa says:

    Oh Sharon, this is a showstopper and the perfect use for So Delicious Coco Whip!

  43. Megan says:

    WOW That frosting and filling look AMAZING!!!

  44. DeniseH says:

    Happy Birthday! I’m going to celebrate my 29th (60th) on August 1st and I’m making this Coconut Cake! Cheers!

  45. This is my kind of cake! Love the coconut, and entering the giveaway now! So fun!

  46. Lorena says:

    Happy Birthday Sharon!!! Your cake looks absolutely delicious!!!

  47. Happy Birthday! Such a beautiful cake to celebrate it!

  48. This cake!!! It’s gorgeous! So special for a gathering or who needs a gathering, just eating the cake any day sounds good to me.

  49. Happy Birthday!!! And wowzers that cake looks good! So pretty.

  50. Stephanie Phelps says:

    Happy Birthday may you have a great one and wow what a delicious cake! All your recipes always look so amazing!

  51. Rose says:

    Oh i loved this coconut cake & the fact that it is gluten free and dairy free makes it more interesting. SInce my kid is Lactose Intolerant this is really gonna work for me. I will definitely try it. Thanks

    • Handy says:

      4 stars
      I just made this cake recipe and am waiting for layers to cool to ice. They smell amazing, but are pretty flat. Should I have whipped the egg whites before adding them to give it more volume?

      • Sharon says:

        I don’t whip the egg whites separately and my cakes baked up nice and rose but the tops stayed flat. The flat top makes one less step in having to even it out before icing/frosting 🙂
        Feel free to try whipping your egg whites and fold them in if that’s more to your liking.