Finished layer cake with white butter frosting applied and shredded coconut spread over the top.

Gluten-Free Coconut Layer Cake

When I was teenager, my mother used to buy these coconut layer cakes made by Pepperidge Farms (I can’t believe they still make them!). They were one of my favorite desserts and I really missed them after being diagnosed with celiac disease. When I found Karina’s recipe for a gluten-free coconut layer cake I was very excited about having this kind of treat available once again!

I made this cake over the Labor Day weekend. The only things I changed from Karina’s recipe were in the icing ingredients – I used real butter and almond milk instead of non-dairy butter and coconut milk.

My icing turned out slightly thin, so it oozed down on the sides a little bit. My cake wasn’t as pretty as Karina’s but I thought it turned out pretty well, since this is only the third time I have ever made a layer cake!

The cake was very moist and was so good I wanted to eat the whole thing at once! But I knew I would have a sugar overdose if I did that, so I took it to work with me on Tuesday to share with my co-workers. It was gone by the end of the day, so they must have enjoyed it, too!



  • 1 1/2 cups potato starch (not potato flour)
  • 1 1/2 cups sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup organic coconut flour
  • 1 1/2 cups organic cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 eggs, beaten, or egg replacer
  • 1/2 cup light olive oil
  • 1 14-oz can organic light coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Use parchment paper to line two 9-inch round cake pans. I had never used parchment paper for baking before, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to try it out. I was very pleased with the results!

Two round cakes pans with round pieces of parchment paper in the bottom of each one.

Parchment paper in the bottom of the round pans.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Mix the flours and dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Add eggs, oil, coconut milk, lime juice and vanilla. Mix until smooth – I used a hand mixer. The batter was very thick and sticky and wanted to crawl up the beaters. I had to be careful not to push the beaters directly down into the batter, keeping to the sides of the bowl.

large brown mixing bowl with cake batter and beaters.

The batter was very thick and sticky.


Close up of mixer beaters with cake batter on them. Some of the batter has gone above the main part of the beaters.

The batter was so sticky it wanted to climb up the beaters.

Spoon the cake batter into the two prepared cake pans. I used a large spoon to spread the batter out to the edges of the pans.

Sticky cake batter sitting in the middle of round cake pan.

The batter was so thick it didn’t spread out when I put it in the pan.


Cake batter in round baking pan spread out to edges of pan.

I used a large spoon to spread the batter out to the edges of the pan.

Place cakes in the center of the oven, side by side and bake for 33 minutes, until firm and springy. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting.

Two golden, round cakes cooling in the baking pans.

Baked cakes fresh out of the oven.


Close up of cooked coconut cake in baking pan - the surface is wavy.

As the cakes began to cool there were sunken areas across the top, but it didn’t seem to effect the levelness of the layers when stacked.



  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pound powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup almond milk, a little at a time
  • Flaked, sweetened coconut for topping


Cream the butter and vanilla with a mixer. Add in the powdered sugar and less than half the almond milk, and mix until smooth. Slowly add the remaining milk, a little at a time, mixing after each addition, until the icing is smooth and creamy.

White mixing bowl with creamy butter mixed up in the bottom.

While the cakes were baking I mixed up the icing.

Icing the Cake:

After the cakes are completely cool, remove one from the pan and peel off the parchment paper. Top side down, center the first layer on a plate.

Bottom layer cake turned out of pan onto a plate.

The bottom layer came out of the pan perfectly and the parchment paper peeled off nicely without any major divots.

Place about ¾ cup of the icing in a bowl and mix with some of the flaked coconut. Cover bottom layer of cake with the mixture.

Bottom layer of cake with coconut icing spread over it.

I mixed a little coconut in part of the icing to use on the bottom layer.

Carefully remove second cake layer from pan and place on top of the bottom layer.

Plate with both layers of cake, icing in between - no icing on outside yet.

The top layer came out easily without cracking and fit nicely on the bottom.

Spoon out about a cup of icing and spread evenly over the top of the cake. Carefully spread frosting over the sides of the cake as evenly as possible. Spread flaked coconut over the top.

Finished layer cake with white butter frosting applied and shredded coconut spread over the top.

Allow the icing to set before cutting. The cake can be wrapped and frozen for serving at a later time, if you wish.

Makes one 9-inch layer cake.

Recipe Source: by Karina Allrich


Milo graphic

Milo says….

Maizy won’t let me eat anything with SUGAR in it because it makes me chase my tail. I bet if Maizy had a TAIL she wouldn’t be able to eat sugar either!

2 thoughts on “Gluten-Free Coconut Layer Cake

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