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!
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!
How to make it
It really could not be easier!
- Whisk the dry ingredients in a bowl – flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and sugar.
- Add wet ingredients and mix until just combined – oil, non-dairy milk, vinegar, vanilla and coconut extracts.
- Pour into greased pans and bake.
- Let cool, then frost.
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.
Want more vegan cakes?
- The Best Vegan Chocolate Cake
- Vegan Vanilla Cake
- Vegan Chocolate Sheet Cake
- Vegan Carrot Cake
- Vegan Lemon Cake
- Vegan Red Velvet Cake
- Vegan Strawberry Cake
1 Bowl Vegan 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
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!
- 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.
- I used melted coconut oil, but you can use canola oil or melted vegan butter as well.
- 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.
This cake is super easy to make and turned out with a delicious crumb! I would however suggest greasing AND flouring your pan – I only buttered mine and the cake stuck to the dish making it crumble as I flipped it onto the cooling rack. I hope to salvage it!
What does the cornstarch do? I ask as I don’t use it but I do use arrowroot. Would that substitute for the cornstarch?
Hi there! 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!
Love your recipes. The recipes are so easy and come out right every time. This cake is delicious. I made it with GF Bob’s 1:1. And yum
I am so thrilled you love the cake, Emily! It’s also great to know the recipes are easy to follow! Thank you for your fabulous feedback and review!
Nora, first let me say that I use your vegan recipes more than anyone else’s on Pinterest! I enjoy making up my own vegan recipes as well, but yours always turn out perfect! Have you ever added coconut to the cake batter as well as on top of the frosting. I have made an Italian coconut cake like that years ago before we became vegans, and it was awesome. I think I will try doing it! Thanks for all your wonderful recipes!
Hi Sandy. I appreciate you using my recipes and am thrilled you are loving them! I’ve never tried adding coconut flakes to the cake batter, so I’m not sure how it will turn out. It sounds delicious! Let me know how it turns out for you. Happy cooking!
I used my 10 inch bundt cake pan to make this cake and frosted it with the butter cream frosting. What a fantastic dessert it turned out to be. My Easter guests and my husband absolutely loved it, as did I. I use your recipes very often, and always am confident that whatever I choose will be a winner. Thanks Nora. This won first prize. I certainly will make this again.
Thank you for a wonderful recipe. We had our first set of birthday celebrations since becoming vegan and this cake was perfect. I used it as the foundation for a PB&J and banana layer cake – a special request from my husband. It was delicious.
I will be making this cake on Saturday and wondered if a bundt cake pan could be used instead of ones mentioned. This cake looks so good, I can’t wait to try it. Thank you
You should be ok to make it in a bundt pan instead. Just bake it for 40 to 45 minutes.
Should the shredded coconut be sweetened or unsweetened?
I like to use sweetened coconut personally.
Can I use this recipe for cupcakes?
Yes you can. Fill paper liners in a cupcake tray about half full and bake for 18-20 minutes.
They ended up needing 24 minutes to bake! I had halfed the recipe so it made 7 cupcakes
What size cake pans do you use?
I use 8 inch round cake pans.
I followed directions on the frosting and it was runny. Used extra sugar and put it in fridge and it was still runny. It might taste good but it’s very unattractive.
Hi Jackie. If your frosting was runny, it’s likely that your vegan butter was either melted or way too soft and almost melted. This is why your frosting has no structure; the butter melted into oil. Make sure when you begin that your vegan butter is soft but not at all melted. Just no longer hard and cold. Hope this helps.
Nora! This cake is AMAZING! 2nd only to your chocolate cake 🥰 made this for a dinner party and there were no leftovers. Had to make this cake for myself the next day, made easier by the fact I had leftover icing! You are a genius in the kitchen!
I appreciate your awesomeness, Tayler! Your words are so encouraging! How thrilling that you loved the cake and it was a hit! Thank you for your fantastic feedback and review! Happy cooking!
Absolutely delicious! I put this recipe on a recipe card
Thanks for your awesome feedback and review! I’m glad you loved the cake!
Best vegan cake recipe ever!!!
This cake was delicious!! And what crumb! Will share and make again. TY Nora.