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
4.85 stars (82 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 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
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 made this cake for Easter and it was wonderful!! Everyone loved it, and could not believe a cake this good was vegan. I will be trying the Hummingbird Cake next week. Thank you for this recipe.

    1. You are welcome, Deborah! I think you will love the hummingbird cake! Thanks for taking time to share your fabulous review and feedback! Happy baking!

  2. Measuring cornstarch by volume can be a pain because of how it compresses. I’ve started weighing it instead, and for this recipe I used 16g. Flour weighed in at 350g. I also ended up using double-acting baking powder since it’s what I had, and the texture was fantastic.

  3. Nora, like the gal who posted on March 6th, I too made this twice for my birthday celebration. I thought cornstarch was a weird ingredient but both times it was very dense and like a brick. I had to toss. I followed all of the recipe and the hints too! Help.?

    1. Hey there, so the cornstarch + flour is kinda like cake flour, which makes for a lighter cake. Also, sometimes it’s used in vegan baking in place of eggs. To prevent a dense cake, be very careful to not over mix the batter. If you mix it really hard and a lot, your cake will be dense. You can also try substituting the flour and cornstarch for cake flour, which is my preference for most cakes these days. And for this particular recipe, don’t used canned coconut milk, but rather the low fat coconut milk in a carton.

  4. I so wanted this to work—it looked great in the picture. Turned out dense like a brick. Tried again with the same result. Did not overmix. Followed the recipe to a T. So disappointing. A wast of time, effort and ingredients. Maybe it needed more liquid, as mine didn’t pour like in the picture, but I’m not willing to try this again.

    1. I’m sorry this didn’t work out for you. I’m not sure what happened, but it should not turn out dense like a brick. Did you use canned coconut milk by chance? Or a different flour? Because either of those could have made the cake dense.

  5. Another winner! I have literally made this two days in a row because every member of my family was sad the first one was gone, haha! None of us are huge coconut people, but something about this cake just hits. It’s so easy to whip together and the flavour and texture are spot on! I baked it in a bundt pan, and 48 minutes was perfect.

    1. Hi Kate. Wow, thank you for sharing your incredibly encouraging feedback and positive review! I’m thrilled the cake is a hit with your family! Happy cooking!

  6. This was a HUGE hit for my vegan and non-vegan family/friends! I used unrefined coconut oil to give more of a punch, but I didn’t have coconut milk so I used soy.

    Nora, can you sub coconut cream from a can? I know it says don’t use coconut milk from a can but I was wondering if it’s because its too thin, and in that case would coconut cream work? Or should we just stick to plant milks not in cans?

    1. I’m so glad it was a hit! No, I would not use coconut cream or full fat coconut milk from a can, it’s just way too thick and rich and will weigh down the cake. You can totally just use soy milk, the cake should still have plenty of coconut flavor. Hope that helps!

  7. Can I make this cake with lavender extract and omit the coconut extract? I’m looking to make a lavender cake and I was thinking this recipe might work well?

  8. Hi Nora,
    Looks fab!
    I’ve not heard of or ever seen coconut extract, is there an alternative I could use?

    1. There’s no alternative, it just adds extra coconut flavor. Leave it out if needed, but it’s at most grocery stores.

  9. I made is with screwpine (pandanus) extract as well. Blended screwpine leaves with 1 cup almond milk, then strained it and topped up the extract with coconut milk to make it 1 1/2 cups of milk as per recipe. I also used 1 1/2 cup plain flour and 1 1/2 cup desiccated coconut. Baked it in one 8 innchneoi d pan for 40mins. Turned out amazing

  10. Is there a general guideline for adjusting this (and other) cake recipe to make cupcakes instead? Thanks. Love your recipes so much.

    1. Hi Tracy. Most of my cakes can easily be made into cupcakes. The main adjustment is the baking time. For cupcakes, place in a regular sized muffin pan and bake them for 18-22 minutes. Enjoy!

  11. I made this twice and I LOVE it. Very simple to make, turns out great, super fluffy, coconutty perfection!! No one would believe me it was vegan as they expected some misshapen cake. Ha! Obviously, this is only for the true coconut lover, and it turned out half of my family hates coconut. Oh well, more cake for me!

    1. Hi Lilly. I’m glad the cake turned out wonderful, and that you loved it! Thank you for your wonderful review!

  12. Hi Nora. Can’t wait to try this recipe. I want to make it for Easter in the form of a cross. The cross pan is 15.25 x 11.75 x 2 in. Do you think this recipe would work and if so, how long to bake for?

    1. I think it will work, but I’m not sure what the bake time will be. I would personally check it after 30 minutes with a toothpick. Check every 5-10 minutes; when the toothpick comes out clean, it’s done. Hope it turns out wonderfully!

    1. You could try baking this Lemon Cake and decorating the layers with the coconut icing/shredded coconut from this recipe (or vice versa). Hope this helps!

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