This Dairy Free Gluten Free Coconut Layer Cake is a stunning spring dessert. The toasted coconut sprinkled all over the silky dairy free coconut buttercream hides any imperfections making this is an easy, show-stopping dessert for Easter.
This post is Sponsored by Glutino and Earth Balance. As always, all opinions are entirely my own.
Coconut Layer cake is a classic, especially in the spring. I actually planned to make a dairy free gluten free coconut layer cake before Easter last year. And the year before that.
A layer cake can seem like a daunting and difficult dessert. Last year starting one just took more energy that I had because I had a 5 month old and my house was on the market. The year before I was still in the midst of morning sickness so baking a gluten free coconut layer cake was not in the cards.
But that was because I was planning to make a gluten free coconut layer cake completely from scratch.
You (and I) don’t need to make everything from scratch!
Especially during any holiday season. There is already enough going on. Baking all of the holiday classics from scratch takes time away from the holiday that you could be enjoying with your family and loved ones.
That is why holidays are one of my FAVORITE times to use some shortcuts- like using Glutino’s Old Fashioned Yellow Cake Mix- to make this stunning gluten free coconut layer cake.
Using a cake mix takes a lot of the “guess work” out of baking and frees up more of your time to dye eggs, eat ham, or do whatever else you love to do during Easter (or any other day.)
I made just a few tweaks to the instructions on the back of the box to make a white cake (instead of a yellow cake) and to add several different layers of coconut flavor. This is no “white-cake-with-coconut-frosting.” It is a dairy free gluten free coconut layer cake, with coconut all the way throughout it.
Did you catch my recipe for Homemade Coconut Extract? The whole reason I made Homemade Coconut Extract is because I wanted to really pump up the coconut extract in this dairy free gluten free coconut layer cake. The homemade coconut extract does just that! Obviously, you can substitute a store-bought coconut extract if you’d like. Making the coconut extract only takes a few minutes of prep, but you have to start it at least a few days before you plan on baking your cake.
I also used full-fat coconut milk in the frosting and in the cake. I refrigerated my coconut milk to separate the creamy solids to use for the frosting and then I used the remaining liquid for the cake.
Using Glutino’s Yellow Cake Mix, baking the cake layers was quick and easy.
The frosting was pretty simple to make too.
I just whipped up 2 Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks (to keep it dairy free) with the creamy solids from the coconut milk. Then I added powdered sugar and some of my homemade coconut extract and whipped it up some more. The coconut cream, or whatever you call it, made the frosting silky smooth. It is so light and creamy, and not overly sweet or rich. It really is something else!
If you don’t want to go to the extra effort of separating a can of coconut milk just use the dairy-free option for my easy American buttercream, using Earth Balance, and then add some coconut extract.
The last secret to the ease of this cake is covering the entire dairy free gluten free coconut layer cake in toasted coconut. It hides any and all cake layering imperfections in its fluffy coconut goodness making this dairy free gluten free coconut layer cake look impressive.
This dairy free gluten free coconut layer cake is sure to be the center of attention during your Easter dinner. The shortcuts will be our little secret😉.
If you are looking for more coconut-covered treats I think you'll love my friend Nicole's (Allergylicious) Blueberry Lemon Snack Cake. It is covered with coconut, no icing required.
For the Cake
- 2 Glutino Old Fashioned Yellow Cake Mixes
- 1 cup oil (melted coconut oil or vegetable oil)
- 6 egg whites
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 Tablespoon (or 2) homemade coconut extract (will need less if using a commercial coconut extract)
- 1 cup coconut milk (I used the liquid separated from the solids in a chilled can of full-fat coconut milk. See note)
For the Coconut Buttercream
- 2 Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks OR ½ a 15oz container or Earth Balance Original
- ¾ cup chilled coconut milk solids (solids from one full fat can of coconut milk. See note)
- 1 (2lb) bag powdered sugar
- 1-2 Tablespoons homemade coconut extract
For the Toasted Coconut
- 1 bag of shredded coconut (mine was sweetened, but you can use unsweetened if you prefer)
To Bake the Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line 2 9inch round cake pans with a parchment paper circle and lightly grease OR lightly grease and dust with gluten-free flour.
- In a bowl, whisk together all of the cake batter ingredients until smooth.
- Divide evenly between the 2 pans and bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 25-28 minutes.
- Let cool before removing from the pans.
For the Coconut Buttercream
- In a stand mixer, or using a heavy-duty hand mixer, whip the Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks and the coconut milk solids for approx 5 minutes. It should become fluffy and smooth. If it isn't there yet, just keep whipping. Mine tend to look curdled at first.
- Add about half the powdered sugar and the coconut extract, and whip until smooth.
- Gradually add more powdered sugar until you have a smooth, spreadable, and not runny frosting. I used the whole bag, but you might need less depending on how much liquid was left in your coconut solids.
To Toast the Coconut
- Preheat the oven to 325F. Spread the shredded coconut evenly on a baking sheet. Bake, stirring every 2 minutes for 5-10 minutes or until it is beautifully toasted. It will toast quickly, so keep a close eye on it.
To Stack your Cake
- Carefully trim any dome off of the top of each cake layer using a serrated knife.
- Place the one layer in the center of your cake plate or stand, securing it with a dab of frosting (optional.)
- Spread a layer of frosting on the top, sprinkle with toasted coconut (optional) and then center the second cake layer on top.
- Place strips of wax paper on the cake plate, slightly under the edge of the cake, so that the cake plate stays clean while frosting(optional.)
- Spread the rest of the cake with an even layer of frosting.
- Sprinkle and gently press toasted (or untoasted) coconut all over the cake.
- If you used wax paper strips, gently pull them away from the cake before serving.
Before making the cake or frosting chill a full fat can of coconut milk overnight in the fridge. Open it and then carefully drain off all the liquid, separating the solid coconut cream. I had approx ¾ a cup of solids and 1 cup of liquid, which was exactly what I used in this recipe. If your can of coconut milk has less solids, or a little more, it will be just fine. If you don't have enough liquid, just add enough dairy-free milk to equal 1 cup.
Nutrition InformationYield 12 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 829Total Fat 63gSaturated Fat 29gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 31gCholesterol 0mgSodium 538mgCarbohydrates 59gFiber 2gSugar 36gProtein 6g
All nutrition info is a guestimate and will vary depending on the ingredients you use.