This version takes advantage of a boxed cake mix (GASP!) and uses a scaled down version of the icing for the Coconut Cake that’s in my cookbook. Now, if you’re feeling especially adventurous, you can use a scratch white cake mix recipe and just add in the coconut extract and coconut. But I promise, if you use a boxed mix, no one will know.
The result is this dreamy, tender coconut cake with a delicate frosting that’s not too sweet because of the cream cheese in it. I actually think I prefer this one over the layer cake… but don’t tell anyone. 🙂 Y’all enjoy!!
Easy Coconut Sheet Cake
- 1 (16.25 ounce) box white cake mix
- + ingredients to make cake called for on box
- 1 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
- 1 cup sweetened flake coconut
For the frosting:
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon coconut extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups sweetened flake coconut
- Prepare the cake batter according to the 9x13 directions on the box. Before pouring into the pan, stir in coconut extract and coconut. Mix well, and pour into a greased 9x13 pan and bake according to the directions on the box.
- Once the cake has cooled, make the icing by combining the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl. Mix with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer until smooth and well blended. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the coconut extract and vanilla extract and mix well. Add a little milk if the icing is too thick or a little more powdered sugar if it seems too thin. Spread the icing evenly over the cooled and and sprinkle with the coconut.
If nutritional values are provided, they are an estimate and will vary depending on the brands used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, I recommend grabbing your favorite brands and plugging those ingredients into an online nutritional calculator.
I used French vanilla cake mix cause we didn’t have white cake mix,and it still turned out amazing!!
Awesome! Thanks for letting me know!
This cake was so easy and even more delicious!! Honestly, the best part was the frosting! It was so creamy and tasty but not too sweet!! Thanks for sharing this recipe with us!! I’ll be trying more of your recipes soon!
I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it!
I have to bring a desert for our small group meeting in 2 weeks. This will be perfect. Sorry it someone in the group doesn’t like coconut-I sure do!
Hope everyone enjoys it!
I made this cake last week for a family event. It turned out great! I love coconut cake and since it was a sheet cake, it was much easier to transport than a layer cake. I will be making this one again! Thanks for sharing the recipe.
Thank you so much Gayle!
I’m making the cake the night before an event. Should it be refrigerated overnight because of the frosting?
I just made this cake for the first time; it looks delicious. I am serving it tomorrow at lunch. Do I have to refrigerate it overnight? I recently made another cake with a similar icing without coconut and the icing pulled away from the cake when it was cut. Don’t want that to happen with this beautiful coconut cake,
Technically, with the cream cheese, it should refrigerated. I’ve not had an issue with it separating.
Just made this for Easter. It is very good and very easy. My family loved it!
Love that everyone was happy!
Definitely making it for Easter. I have been thinking coconut cake all day.
Hope you’ll enjoy it!
Does this recipe work well if cut in half? If so, how much less cooking time?
It might be a little hard being that we use a cake mix, but theoretically, it should work. In an 8×8, I’d guess the cook time will be about 25 minutes.
Can you make this without a boxed cake mix? I have lots of flour at my house!
Of course! I’m sure you can find a copycat box cake mix recipe that will work.
Hands down our favorite coconut cake. Easy to whip up and delicious. One dessert we all agree on. Hold well in the fridge.
Awesome! I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed it!!
I have made this Cake, quite a bit and my hole family loves it. So I am making it again today for my Mom’s Birthday, she will be 89 tomorrow. Thank you for sharing this recipe…It is so delicious!!!!
I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed it! Be sure to tell her the whole Southern Bite family says, “Happy Birthday!”
Can I use coconut oil instead of vegetable oil to make cake
I don’t see why not. Enjoy!
I love this cake….it is a ‘keeper’ recipe.
If you don’t have coconut extract, use almond extract.
Thanks, Virginia! Glad to hear you’ve enjoyed it!
I don’t have coconut extract. Is there a substitute, or can it be omitted?
You can certainly leave it out, but it will miss some of the coconut flavor.
Thank you for this recipe! The only minor changes I made were to use coconut milk for water in the cake mix and to lightly toasted the coconut flakes (couple minutes in the air fryer) for the topping. Absolutely delicious and so simple! Definitely saving this recipe to make again 🙂
Love the idea of toasting the coconut in the air fryer! So glad to hear you enjoyed the cake!
I made this cake (more or less), my first in 58 years and it turned out the best cake of any kind I have ever had.
I used a box cake of a widely known brand substituting coconut milk thinned a bit with milk for the mix’s required water or milk. I also used a fairly short-cut shredded coconut, mainly because it was cheaper. That worked well in the cake itself. I also put it in the frosting…what should have been on top so I had to put even more on top. Next time (very, very soon), I’ll use a fancier shred for the outside, just for looks.
Why am I writing this? Because for my baby sister’s 69th birthday I got the best cake any of us (sister, brother and I) have ever had and she is a cooking and baking nut. I can’t say I’d recommend it to anyone diabetic, but everyone else needs this cake!
I’m so happy to hear that your sisters birthday celebration included one of my recipes and that it turned out great for you!!
This recipe is a winner! My son and I baked this cake for Father’s Day for my husband. He’s a coconut cake lover and absolutely loved this cake. He said it was the best coconut cake he’s had! Your recipes are great and and we’ll be trying out the chocolate chess pie and cookies & cream cake next. So happy I stumbled upon your site!
That’s high praise right there! So glad y’all were able to treat him with this cake!
Made this for our 30th wedding anniversary and it was so good! Best coconut cake I’ve ever had !
What a momentous occasion! I’m so happy that my recipe got to play a little part in it! So glad to hear y’all enjoyed it! Happy Anniversary!!
Could you use coconut milk instead of water?
I don’t see why not.
Going to make this cake tomorrow for my son in law birthday his favorite is coconut cake!
Can I use two 6 in round pan for it?
I don’t see why not! Let me know how it turns out!
I love coconut cakes and this recipe looks like a keeper. However, I always thought sheet cakes were much
thinner and baked in a much larger pan. I have several recipes for sheet cakes that call for this.
Can this cake be made in a sheet cake pan instead of a 9×12? Thanks.
Thanks so much, Barbara! Today, for the most part, the term “sheet cake” really just refers to a one layer cake with frosting on the top that usually stays in the pan in which it is baked. And technically, a 9×13 is a quarter of a sheet pan. Hope that helps!
Hey Stacey ! I made this wonderful cake for Easter dessert tomorrow, I actually used your cookbook icing version, I truly felt that this year everything special that we’re able to do needs to be done , we’re in Ohio and my husband is a Walmart truck driver , he will be so happy when he finally gets home tomorrow afternoon and has this waiting on him ! Happy Easter to your family
Hope y’all had an amazing Easter and that everyone enjoyed the cake! Please tell your husband that we sure appreciate him helping to keep us running!
These were excellent! I say “these” since I made as cupcakes. I used Betty Crocker vanilla cake mix since it was what I had and added leftover coconut milk to enough water to equal the amount needed for the cake mix. I think I prefer no-cream-cheese buttercream but I have really have no complaints. Made 22 cupcakes (1/4 cup batter).
So glad you enjoyed them!
I madethis formy dad he loves coconut. I addsome pecan. And decorate withgum drops. Shape of Christmas tree on the top it was so festive ty
Sounds beautiful! Sure hope he loves it!
I love that it’s so easy and yummy. I made this using my daughter’s gluten free cake mix so she could eat it too.
This cake still tasted AWESOME! Be sure to whip the frosting for really fluffy.
Wonderful!! Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know!
I made this cake and it was delicious. I was wondering if it would come out just as great if made in two round cake pans.
I’ve not done it in the round cake pans before, so I can’t say for sure. It should work, though.
Ellen Burden Parker
The frosting is delicious and the cake tasted great. Unfortunately the cake was very crumbly. Not dry but won’t hold together when cut. I used Betty Crocker Super Moist white as directed, with 3 egg whites, vegetable oil and water. I also weighed my ingredients using King Arthur’s ingredients conversion list. Baked for 29 minutes at 350. I will use this frosting recipe again but not sure about the cake.
This cake does have a very delicate crumb, but I’ve not had trouble with it not holding together.
I also used a Betty Crocker White Cake Mix, and the taste was good and the cake was moist but the cake was very crumbly and because of the crumbly texture it was very unappealing to the eye. Lots of cake crumbs remained in the pan after serving it. Next time I will try a Pillsbury mix, usually buy Duncan Hines but saw where those cakes are falling in the middle in some recipes. Mixes aren’t as good as they used to be, wonder if the trouble is because the mixes are just over 16 ounces now and they used to be over 18 ounces, maybe recipes need added flour to bind better or extra something?
Debbie, I used Betty Crocker too but used coconut milk instead of milk or water. I think the extra fat helped it hold together well. Cut pieces did not fall apart or have raggedy edges and the 9X13 ended up with only about 2 tablespoons of crumbs. (Guess where they went.)
Do you need to keep this cake in the refrigerator because of the cream cherse?
It’s probably best.
The recipe sounds delicious!!Do you think this recipe would work if using unsweetened coconut ? Hoping to cut down on the sugar a little bit. Thanks so much:)
Yes, it should work just fine. Enjoy!
I can’t wait to make this càke!!
I sure hope you’ll enjoy!!
diana r hartman
Hello: This is my first time baking with your recipes. If I was to make the Coconut Sheet Cake in a 13×18 sheet pan would I just double the recipe. Also, would the baking time be the same.
Yes, but you’ll also need to adjust the cook time a little as well.
I can’t wait to bake this for my family!
Hope y’all enjoy it!
My moms birthday is tomorrow. I’m going to male this today for her. I hope I do good. It looks easy and delicious. Thank you for the recipe.
I know it’s going to turn out great for you and she’s going to love it! Tell her we said Happy Birthday!
Going to try your recipe. Husband is a coconut lover. My question is about the frosting Since you are using cream cheese do you need to refrigerate the cake after frosting it.?
I would recommend it.
Would this cake work well for a bunny cake? As in, you bake it in round cake pans, cut a round in half and ice the pieces together for the body? Just wanted to make sure it can be manipulated without falling apart. Thanks!
It really depends on the cake mix, but I don’t see that being a problem. 🙂
Do you know if you could sub margarine for the butter in the icing? I throw out so much butter because it goes out of date before I use it all!
Sure. You know, you might consider topping that butter in the freezer and it will last so much longer. Then you can just pull some out and thaw it when you need it.
I have been making this cake since you posted it last year. It is delicious!!! My family loves it!!!
I love hearing that! Thanks for taking the time to let me know!
Sheet cakes are such an easy dessert! This looks delicious. The cream cheese frosting sounds fantastic!
I agree!! Thanks so much!
Just bought the ingredients and making it tonight!! Which would work better? Glass or non stick pan?
I prefer glass or a light colored metal pan. Hope you enjoy!!
This sound easy but especially delicious! Can’t wait to try it!!
Hope you’ll enjoy it!!
I followed your recipe exactly and it was perfection! I took the cake to a ladies gathering and they thought it was incredible. It was very moist and just luscious. The additional hint of coconut in the actual cake was a lovely touch. This will definitely be a go-to recipe for me for future occasions.
Nothing make me happier that hearing that, Karen! So glad to hear everyone enjoyed it!
instagram video downloader
I can’t wait to make this! Sounds yummy!
I’ve been dying to make a coconut cake and this looks like a perfect way to do it without devoting a day to the project! I can’t wait!
Hope you enjoy it!
Would this recipe turn out if I used a sheet cake pan instead of 9×13 pan? Or would you need to double the recipe?
It depends on the size of your sheet pan. Are you going full sheet, half sheet, or quarter sheet?
It’s just a little bigger than a regular sized cookie sheet so probably half sheet?
It will work, but will be very thin. I think I might double it.
Hi Stacey, I found you and Brandie through Southern Plate and the video from your trip to Pigeon Forge! So glad to find you and am waiting for pay day to buy your book.
Welcome! Thanks, Ruby! I sure hope you’ll enjoy it!!
The Better Baker
Oh that sounds wonderfully delicious! I’m on board the train that likes little cake with lots of frosting, so sheet cakes are perfect for my taste. That CAN be a problem. So glad you shared this. I adore being able to dress up a cake mix.
Thanks so much! You and I are in the same camp! 🙂
Does this need to be in frig??
Since there’s cream cheese in it, I’d recommend it be refrigerated.
Yes I’m with you on the layered cake vs. the sheet cake. I enjoy eating all the layers and frosting in one bite. Yummy But when I am the one doing the baking my sheet cake pans come out of the cabinet first. Especially if I’m transporting it so much easier Thanks for sharing!
That’s so true! It’s so much easier to make it to the potluck with a sheet cake!
I can’t wait to make this! Sounds yummy!
Hope you’ll enjoy it!!
Coconutc easy and verified delicious? That’s my kind of recipe!
LOL! Me too!
This cake is a true winner!!! My fiance and his sister absolutely loved it. I followed the recipe and didn’t chang anything. This will definitely be a keeper!! Thanks!!????
Awesome! So glad to hear that y’all enjoyed it!!!
I can’t wait to make this cake! It’s the perfect combination of easy and elegant! God bless you and your family and have a wonderful day!
Thanks Mary! The same to you!!