Maya Angelou's Moist Coconut Cake Recipe Is a Slice of Heaven by Donna John

Cakes/Cupcakes Desserts
7 months ago

Maya Angelou's Moist Coconut Cake Recipe Is a Slice of Heaven

Coconut cream pie, coconut pudding, coconut crack bars, coconut macaroons and coconut truffles are all fabulous, but there's just something about a simple coconut cake. This moist coconut cake recipe is from Maya Angelou's cookbook, Hallelujah! The Welcome Table: A Lifetime of Memories With Recipes.

The moist coconut cake starts with butter, sugar, cake flour, baking powder, milk, egg whites, cream of tartar, egg yolks, vanilla and coconut extract. The coconut extract adds even more delicious coconut flavor. The creamy coconut frosting is a mixture of whipping cream, sugar and more coconut extract. Perfection! 

Maya Angelou says to serve the cake cold from the refrigerator. While you will use a lot of bowls in the prep process, it's worth the time at the sink washing them. This coconut cake recipe will be a most-requested recipe.

Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 to 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 1/2 hours
Servings: 8


  • 2/3 cup soft butter
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract

Coconut Frosting

  • 1 pint (16 ounces) whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract

For Finishing

  • 1 cup shredded sweet coconut

Here's how to make it: 

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together, beating until light and fluffy.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Add to cream mixture, alternating with milk. 
  3. In a separate medium mixing bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Beat again for 2 minutes. Fold in salt and cream of tartar. Set aside.
  4. In another medium mixing bowl, beat egg yolks. Add yolks to cake batter, then fold in whites, vanilla and coconut extract. Pour the batter into two 9-inch round cake pans that have been lined with greased wax paper. 
  5. Bake in a preheated 350-degree F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until cake springs back when center is pressed gently with forefinger. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack. Remove wax paper. Let the cakes cool to room temperature. 
  6. To make the frosting, in a medium mixing bowl whip the cream until frothy. Add the sugar and coconut extract. Whip until it holds stiff peaks. 
  7. To frost the cake, place first cake layer on a cake plate. Spread frosting on top. Sprinkle with some coconut. Place second layer on top of first layer. Cover the entire cake with frosting. Sprinkle coconut on top of cake, and place shreds of coconut on sides of cake. Refrigerate and serve cold. 

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Donna John
Have a sweet tooth today!
Elisa Schmitz
OMG this looks FABULOUS. I want a big slice right now!
Christine Aguiar
Made this today and while it’s tasty I’m wondering if there’s a way to make the cake less dense and dry.

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