This coconut rum cake recipe makes a light and heavenly cake with toasted coconut and subtle coconut and rum flavors! It would be perfect for the holidays or any time you’re dreaming of a tropical getaway.
I was so drawn to the lovely story in The Coincidence of Coconut Cake that when the author shared the coconut cake recipe at the back of the book, I just had to make it. I tweaked it, only slightly, to make it a coconut rum cake.
Besides basic cake ingredients, what else do you need to make this cake?
- Coconut cream – In case you’re not familiar with this ingredient, I use this for coconut cream. It’s a thick coconut cream, not to be confused with coconut milk. It’s also called cream of coconut sometimes, but you can find it next to the coconut milk at the store.
- Coconut milk – you won’t use a whole jar/can of this, so I like to save the extra and make some of my favorite Thai dishes. Or you can enjoy it in your coffee!
- Coconut extract – for an extra boost of coconut flavor!
- Rum extract – I added this ingredient to compliment the coconut flavors – rum and coconut taste great together.
Other than these few ingredients, you likely have everything else on hand. Items like eggs, butter, sugar etc.
This coconut rum cake would be perfect to enjoy alongside a nice cup of coffee, as you’re reading the book I mentioned above (The Coincidence of Coconut Cake). I love the story for so many reasons, but one of which is that it actually takes place in Milwaukee (where I live!)
The story is “You’ve Got Mail” meets How to Eat a Cupcake in this delightful novel about a talented chef and the food critic who brings down her restaurant—whose chance meeting turns into a delectable romance of mistaken identities.” – sounds lovely doesn’t it!?
I love when books move you and make you feel, and this book was just so lovely in so many ways. The story was well written, I loved the location and the recipe was a smashing hit – everyone loved it!
Making this coconut rum cake recipe made me so happy because it reminded my of the great story that inspired it and I always love having a connection to my baking!
Coconut Rum Cake Recipe
Coconut Rum Cake
- 5 large egg whites save the yolks to make homemade pudding
- 3/4 cup cream of coconut (known as coconut cream too)
- 1/4 cup coconut milk make sure to stir the contents very well to recombine before measuring. Save leftovers for Thai food or your coffee
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp. coconut extract
- 1 Tbs. Rum extract
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract I’ve been known to use more—make sure it’s REAL vanilla. I prefer Mexican vanilla, but use what you like
- 2 1/4 cups cake flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 Tbs. baking powder
- 3/4 tsp. table salt
- 12 Tbs. unsalted butter softened, cut into 12 pieces
Coconut Rum Frosting
- 8 Tbs. unsalted butter softened (1 stick)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. rum extract
- 1/4 cup cream of coconut
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1-2 cups toasted coconut
For the Cake
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Brush or rub melted butter onto two 9-inch cake pans (you can use cooking spray, but the butter will taste better), then line the pan bottoms with parchment paper (trust me, this makes cake removal so much easier).
- In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites with a hand or stand mixer until they start to form soft peaks, then add in cream of coconut, coconut milk, whole egg, and extracts and mix together until combined and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. With a mixer on low speed, beat in the butter, one piece at a time, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, 2 to 5 minutes (about two minutes for a stand mixer, closer to 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer).
- Increase the speed to medium-high and add 1 cup of the egg mixture. Beat until light and fluffy, about 45 seconds (a little longer with a hand mixer). Add the remaining egg mixture in a steady stream and continue to beat until the batter is combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the bowl and beaters as needed.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans and smooth the tops with a spatula. Bake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center of the cakes comes out with a few crumbs, about 30-35 minutes. All ovens vary, so be careful not to over bake. Rotate the pans halfway through baking.
- Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes on wire racks. Run a knife around the edge, then flip out onto the racks. Remove the parchment paper, flip the cakes upright, and let them cool completely before frosting.
- You can toast the coconut however you like: oven, microwave, or stovetop. I like to do it in a non-stick skillet on medium-low, stirring every few minutes. Careful once it starts to brown as it can go from toasty goodness to burnt crud very quickly. I spread it out on paper towels to cool and save any leftovers to put on ice cream.
To Make the Frosting
- Beat the butter and cream of coconut in a large bowl at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds. Reduce the speed to medium-low and slowly add the extracts and then the powdered sugar. Beat until smooth, about 2-5 minutes. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 4 to 8 minutes.
- Set one layer of cake on a cake stand or plate; you can use a dab of frosting to keep it in place. Take 1/2 cup of frosting and spread over the bottom layer (an offset spatula works well for this). Sprinkle with toasted coconut. This gives a nice crunch in the middle of the cake.
- Set the second layer on top of the first. Scoop out the remaining frosting onto the top of the cake. Spread the frosting to the edge of the cake, I just made mine into a naked cake, but you could spread the frosting down the sides if you’d like (this helps hide flaws.)
- Sprinkle remaining toasted coconut over the top of the cake.
- Slice and enjoy!