This coconut carrot cake is a classic southern recipe that you can make anywhere, regardless of which side of the Mason-Dixon line you find yourself. To prove our point, we put this moist carrot cake together in the hinterlands of Wisconsin. Toasted coconut adds a sweet, nutty flavor to this cake. If you don’t like coconut, just leave it out of the recipe. It tastes wonderful either way.
I must say that even Scarlett O’Hara would swoon over this homemade cake recipe.
Coconut Carrot Cake
This carrot cake recipe from scratch showcases the decadent results of baking in your kitchen at home. It is perfect for a holiday dinner, a birthday celebration, a pot luck church social, or just because you love cake.
This carrot and coconut cake is a winner every time.
Cinnamon and ginger lend warm supporting roles of flavor to this Classic Carrot Cake recipe. And delicate, toasted coconut flakes add a level of understated sweetness and depth of flavor that you are going to love.
Make this Carrot Cake Recipe from Scratch
Start by gently toasting some shredded coconut on a baking sheet for three to five minutes at 350° until lightly brown. Be sure not to skip this critical step as it will enhance the flavor of the coconut and make its aromatic oils stand out. This will add an extra layer of flavor and structure to your carrot cake. Do the same thing with any recipe that has nuts. Salads, cookies, and other desserts that have nuts in the recipe will all taste better if you give the nuts a quick toast in the oven first!
1. After the coconut is toasted, combine the flour, spices, and the leavening agents in a mixing bowl.
2. And then stir in the toasted coconut.
3. In a separate bowl, add the carrots and buttermilk.
4. Then stir the carrot and buttermilk together.
5. Combine the eggs and sugar, along with the vanilla.
6. Use an electric mixer and beat the eggs and sugar mixture on high speed until pale and thick, then stir in the oil.
7. Alternate adding the dry ingredients.
8. Along with the carrot mixture into the beaten eggs and sugar.
9. Beat the carrot cake batter until smooth.
Cooking Tip: Be sure that the eggs are at room temperature before making the batter. Read: Why use room temperature eggs when baking.
10. Bake the carrot cake layers at 350° for 40-45 minutes and after cooling, place the first layer, dome (top) side-down, onto a serving dish.
11. Apply a layer of ice to the first cake layer.
12. Place the second layer on top of first, dome side down, and spread a couple of cups of the frosting on top and sides.
Now, chill the carrot cake for a half an hour to allow the frosting to set.
Next, spread the remaining frosting over the carrot cake, giving it a few swirls to make it look pretty like my sister, Chef Kat.
Sprinkle more coconut on the top and sides of your beautiful carrot cake and maybe add a few more shredded carrots to the top as we did in these photos.
Can I use regular flour for this cake?
You can use all-purpose flour for this recipe. It may turn out slightly “heavier” than if you use cake flour.
What is the difference between cake flour and all-purpose flour?
- Cake flour has a lower protein amount than regular four and thus is lighter in texture and ultimately crumb after the cake comes out of the oven.
How long will carrot cake last?
- Stored properly in the refrigerator, this cake should be good to eat for a week.
How do I store this cake?
- Cover any leftover carrot cake with foil or plastic wrap to prevent from drying out.
- Then refrigerate the leftover cake. It should keep well up to one week if stored properly in the fridge.
Can I freeze carrot cake?
Yes, you can freeze this cake for later use.
- To freeze, wrap the cake tightly, in foil or plastic wrap. It should store well for 4 to 6 months if wrapped and frozen properly.
Make this carrot cake soon and be sure and let us know how you like it!
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Moist Carrot Cake Recipe
For the Coconut Carrot Cake
- 1 cup Shredded coconut Unsweetened
- 2.5 cups Flour Cake flour is best!
- 2 tsp Baking powder
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 1 tsp Baking soda
- 1 tbsp Ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp Ground ginger
- 1 lb Carrots Peeled, coarsely grated
- 1 cup Buttermilk Room temperature
- 4 Eggs Room temperature
- 1 cup Granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup Dark Brown Sugar
- 2 tsp Vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup Vegetable oil
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
- 16 oz Cream cheese Room temperature
- 1 cup Butter Room temperature
- 1 tbsp Vanilla extract
- 1 pinch Kosher salt
- 3 cups Powdered sugar
- 1 cup Shredded coconut Half toasted, half raw.
For the Coconut Carrot Cake
- Preheat oven to 350°. Using a rimmed baking sheet, evenly distribute the shredded coconut in a single layer and toast on center rack of the oven for 5 minutes or until golden-brown.
- Using two 9-inch cake pans, grease and flour them, using a parchment paper cut-out for the bottom of the pans. (See recipe notes).
- Combine the toasted coconut, salt, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, and cinnamon in a medium-size mixing bowl and stir well. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the shredded carrots and buttermilk and mix well.
- Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl until pale and thick, about 4 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low and gradually stream in oil. Add dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with carrot mixture in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients; beat until smooth. Divide batter between prepared pans; smooth top.In a large mixing bowl, use a hand-held mixer and beat the eggs with the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract, on high for 4 minutes until the mixture is pale and thick. Reduce mixer speed and alternately add the dry ingredients and carrot mixture, a little at a time and beat until smooth. Evenly divide and distribute the batter into the prepared cake pans and smooth the top.
- Place cake pans on the center rack inside of the oven and then bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Be sure to rotate the cake pans, halfway through. Remove the cake pans from the oven and place on a wire rack and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Use a paring knife so separate sides of cake from the pan and then invert the cakes onto the wire cooling rack and peel off the parchment paper. Allow the cake layers to cool completely.
- While the cake layers are cooling, prepare the cream cheese frosting.
Place cream cheese and butter in a medium-size mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high speed until mixture is smooth, about a minute. Stir in the vanilla extract and then gradually add the powdered sugar. Use an electric mixer and beat until cream cheese frosting is light and fluffy. This should take about two minutes.
- Spread a spoonful of the frosting on a serving platter and then place the bottom layer of the cake, dome-side (top) down. Spread about a cup of frosting evenly over the top. Place the second layer of cake on top of first, again, dome-side down. Spread about two cups of frosting over the top and sides and then chill the cake for 30 minutes to allow the frosting to set.
- Finally, spread the rest of the frosting over the sides and top of the cake and swirl it to make it pretty. Sprinkle the top of the cake with additional coconut shreds and press some of them into the sides of the cake. Garnish center of cake with a small amount of shredded carrots if desired. Allow cake to chill for a least 30 minutes, or overnight to allow the frosting to set.