This is the easiest vegan coconut cake ever, made in 1 bowl with simple ingredients. Fluffy, light, oh-so-soft and topped with a creamy coconut frosting. If you are a coconut lover, this cake is for you!

looking down on a piece of coconut cake, bite taken

I am beyond thrilled with how this cake turned out! It took a few attempts to get it just right, and I’m so excited to share it with you.

I worked hard to make the recipe as EASY as possible, with the end result still tasting like something you’d get from a bakery. I love 1 bowl recipes when it comes to baking, and I was able to achieve it here!

Vegan coconut cake is ultra fluffy and soft. It’s light and moist, instead of being heavy and dense. I used a simple vegan cream cheese coconut flavored frosting, with thin layers of frosting on the cake. This cake is truly delightful, and I can’t wait for you to try it!

piece of coconut cake standing up, shot from side, grey background

How to make it

It really could not be easier!

  1. Whisk the dry ingredients in a bowl – flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and sugar.
  2. Add wet ingredients and mix until just combined – oil, non-dairy milk, vinegar, vanilla and coconut extracts.
  3. Pour into greased pans and bake.
  4. Let cool, then frost.

collage of how to make vegan coconut cake

Tips for the best cake

  • Grease your pans well and line with a circle of parchment paper. This will prevent your cake from sticking and breaking.
  • Do not over mix the cake batter! Your cake will lose it’s fluffiness if you do.
  • Cool the cakes completely before frosting, or the cake will slip and break. Also, since this calls for vegan cream cheese frosting, you will need to keep the cake refrigerated so it doesn’t get melty.
  • Don’t have access to vegan cream cheese? No problem! Follow the recipe for Vegan Vanilla Frosting instead, adding a teaspoon of coconut extract.

whole cake with a piece taken out, close up

Want more vegan cakes?

looking down on a piece of coconut cake, bite taken
4.94 stars (63 ratings)

1 Bowl Vegan Coconut Cake

This is the easiest vegan coconut cake ever, made in 1 bowl with simple ingredients. Fluffy, light, oh-so-soft and topped with a creamy coconut frosting. If you are a coconut lover, this cake is for you!
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Total: 50 mins
Servings: 16 servings

Ingredients 
 

Coconut Cake

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup neutral flavored oil or melted vegan butter
  • 1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk (I used coconut milk, not from a can)
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces vegan cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter, slightly softened
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 cup shredded fine coconut, optional for topping cake

Instructions 

Make the cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease two 8 inch cake pans. I also like to place a circle of parchment paper on the bottom of each pan for easy removal.
  • In a large bowl, add the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and sugar. Whisk well to combine.
  • To the bowl with the dry ingredients, pour in the oil, non-dairy milk, apple cider vinegar, vanilla and coconut extract. Mix with a large spoon until just combined, but be careful not to over mix the batter or your cake won't be soft and fluffy.
  • Pour into prepared pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Let the cakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then carefully remove them and place on a cooling rack. Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting; you can move them to the refrigerator to speed this up.

Make the frosting

  • To a large bowl (you can simply wipe out the bowl you used for the cake), add vegan cream cheese, slightly softened vegan butter (not too soft, or your frosting will be melty), 3 cups of powdered sugar, vanilla and coconut extract.
  • With a hand mixer, or stand mixer, mix starting on low, then increase to high until all ingredients are combined and smooth. If the frosting seems too runny, add another cup of powdered sugar. If it still is a bit runny, you can stick it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or so until it firms up a bit.
  • Frost the cake as desired, then sprinkle with shredded coconut and serve. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. You could substitute cake flour for all purpose if desired, but if you do omit the cornstarch as well. Gluten free all purpose flour may work, but I haven't tested it.
  2. I used melted coconut oil, but you can use canola oil or melted vegan butter as well.
  3. I loved the cake with a cream cheese frosting, but you could also use my Vegan Vanilla Frosting and add 1 teaspoon of coconut extract to it.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 418kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 206mg | Potassium: 97mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 41g | Vitamin A: 270IU | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

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Comments

  1. I’m looking forward to trying this. Have you ever made the cake ahead and frozen it and after defrosting it then added the frosting? Curious if it freezes well. Thank you!

    1. Hi Kim. Yes, the cake freezes well, and by freezing it you will keep it as fresh as possible. Wrap the cakes well, freeze, then defrost and frost the cake the day of or night before. Hope his helps!

  2. I’m making it for my brother in laws girlfriend for her birthday can I bake the cake ahead of time and if I do, do I leave the cakes out when there completely cooled or do I put them in the fridge and take them out the next day to start assembling?

    1. Hi Jenni. The cake should be fine in the refrigerator if only making one day ahead of time. Otherwise, I would suggest freezing the cakes. Happy birthday to your brother in laws girlfriend!

    1. Hi Sonya. Happy birthday to your husband! I’m glad the cake was perfect for him! Thanks for sharing your fun and positive feedback!

  3. I made this for my family and they loved it! It now is often made by numerous family members. Soft cake and perfect icing can’t fault anything. 

    1. I love it! So happy your family is loving the cake! Thanks for sharing your positive review and feedback!

  4. My son loves coconut and I made this cake for his birthday. I used the vegan creamcheese dressing. It was delicious!!

  5. I love this recipe. I made it as a half recipe to make cupcakes. Recipe ended up making 8 regular size cupcakes. I used melted coconut oil (6 T) and unsweetened almond milk plus cut back the sugar to only 1/4 cup and they still tasted sweet enough to me. I did stir in unsweetened coconut flakes into the batter as well. I didn’t have any coconut extract but they ended up tasting great anyway. And the texture is really nice, like you said: Fluffy. I didn’t even make any frosting. They were tasty without it! I will definitely make this as a full recipe for a cake or for cupcakes in the future. Nobody would even know they were vegan!

    1. Hi Joanna. I’m so glad you loved the cake recipe! Thank you for taking time to share your wonderful feedback and review! Happy baking!

  6. Absolutely delicious and light cake!! Next time will use a bit less sugar, was a bit sweet for my taste. Filled with a homemade pineapple curd and frosted with an Italian meringue!! Great recipe for a lactose free piña colada cake ??

  7. Could I make this cake in a 9 by 13 inch pan? If so, what would be the baking time for it? Would I still make the full recipe, or cut it in half? Thank you!

    1. Hi Bekka. Yes, you can bake this in a 9×13″ sheet pan. Cut the amount of batter in half and bake the cake for around 30 to 35 minutes. Hope this helps!

  8. Cake was amazing! Not heavy, light and delicious. I used the vegan buttercream frosting with the coconut and vanilla extracts. Rave reviews!!!

    1. I’m so glad you loved the cake! Thank you for your great feedback and review! I’m glad the cake was a hit!

  9. Do you have a substitute for the oil in the recipe?  We’re looking for cakes that are fat-free to keep our cholesterol numbers low.  

    1. You can try replacing the oil with applesauce or maybe vegan yogurt instead, but I’m not sure if it will work.

  10. I look forward to make this cake!!!
    For the 8 ounces vegan cream cheese, which one do you use ? can we replace it with something else?
    Thanks a lot 🙂

  11. Hi.
    Can I used regular milk?
    I’m not looking for full vegan. Just don’t want to use eggs.
    So can I go ahead and use regular milk in this cake? And would they stack well?
    I have to make a 3 layer birthday cake, fully frosted with buttercream and flowers on top

  12. It looks delicious!! I was wondering since u mentioned that u used coconut milk but not from a can. Can I use coconut milk from a can or that would mess up the recipe? Thank u in advance

    1. Thanks Erika! Canned coconut might work, but I haven’t tried it to know for sure. I’m a little afraid the cake will turn out dense and heavy, because it’s so much richer than what I used.

  13. Delicious !! Turned out perfect and fluffy. Made with vanilla buttercream (adding 1 tsp coconut per your suggestion) instead of the cream cheese frosting because I didn’t have any vegan cream cheese on hand. Next time I’ll try with your cream cheese frosting recipe. 

    1. I’m so glad you loved the cake! It sounds great with vanilla frosting! Thank you for sharing your review and feedback! Happy cooking!

  14. I made this cake for my birthday and it was awesome. My family, specifically my dad always complains about how “”awful”” is vegan food (eventhough he never tries the food!!) but he absolutely loved this one. For sure I’ll make the same cake next year ♡.
    Greetings from Argentina!

    1. Hello in Argentina! Thank you for sharing your great review and comments! I’m so glad the cake was hit! Happy birthday to you! Happy cooking!

  15. HI Nora,
    Thank you for all the wonderfully delicious vegan recipes. Please tell me if I can substitute Tapioca or Arrowroot starch for Cornstarch when making the Coconut Cake?

    1. Hi Valarie. You are welcome! I’m glad you are loving my recipes! The cornstarch + all purpose flour stands in for cake flour, making the cake a bit lighter and fluffier. You could probably sub arrowroot, though I haven’t tried it myself. I hope you enjoy the cake!

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