Coconut shag cake



25 min


1 h



* PLUS 40 mins cooling time
Coconut shag cake

Photo, Roberto Caruso.

Coated with crisp coconut flakes, each forkful is light, airy and unbelievably delicious — everything you want in a cake.


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter , softened
  • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp coconut flavoured extract
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup coconut milk


  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp coconut flavoured extract
  • 4 cups icing sugar , sifted and divided
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 to 4 tbsp coconut milk
  • 2 cups unsweetened flaked coconut , see Kitchen Tip


  • PREHEAT oven to 350F. Spray 2 8-in. round cake pans with oil and line bottoms with parchment.
  • CAKE: Stir flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium, until light and fluffy, 3 min. Beat in oil and coconut extract. Beat in yolks and eggs 1 at a time, scraping sides of the bowl after each addition.
  • ADD coconut milk and beat on low speed until just combined. (Don’t worry if batter looks scrambled; it will come together with flour.) Use a wooden spoon or spatula to gradually stir in flour mixture until just combined.
  • DIVIDE batter between prepared pans and tap on counter to eliminate air bubbles. Bake until golden and a cake tester inserted in centre of cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 min. Cool in pans on a rack for 10 min, then run a paring knife around edge of pans and invert onto rack. Remove parchment and cool completely, about 40 min.
  • FROSTING: Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium, until creamy, 2 min. Add coconut extract and 1 cup of the icing sugar and beat 1 min. Reduce speed and beat in remaining sugar in 3 parts, alternating with coconut milk in 2 parts. Beat on medium-high, scraping down sides of bowl as needed until fluffy, about 2 min.
  • ASSEMBLE cake on a cake stand. Place 1 cake layer, slipping 3 or 4 short strips of parchment paper under edges of cake to protect the stand. Spread 1 cup frosting evenly over first layer. Place second cake layer over frosting. Spread a thin layer of frosting on sides and top of cake. Spread remaining frosting on top and around the cake. Gently press flaked coconut on top and sides. Remove parchment strips.


The three best ways to separate an egg

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Nutrition (per serving)

  • Calories
  • 808,
  • Protein
  • 7 g,
  • Carbohydrates
  • 91 g,
  • Fat
  • 49 g,
  • Fibre
  • 3 g,
  • Sodium
  • 340 mg.
  • Excellent source of
  • vitamin A

Kitchen Tip: We like Bob’s Red Mill unsweetened flaked coconut; it’s a thinner coconut chip but heavy on coconut flavour. Bulk Barn’s variety is another good option.

Kitchen Tip: To avoid a mess while adding flaked coconut, place frosted cake and cake stand on a baking sheet. Pick up fallen coconut from baking sheet and press to adhere.

Kitchen Tip: Cooling cakes top-side down on the rack will flatten the tops if there is doming.

Make-Ahead Tip: This cake can be baked and frosted a day ahead. Refrigerate overnight. Let stand at room temperature 2 hours before serving.

Variations: Classic Yellow Cake: Replace coconut extract with 2 1/2 tsp vanilla, and replace coconut milk with 3.25% milk.