July 8, 2022

Coconut Carrot Cake

This Coconut Carrot Cake makes an extra-sweet addition to any spring party. It’s a twist on a classic recipe, with coconut added to every layer!

Carrot cake holds a very special place in my family. There is exactly one special carrot cake, baked by one special person, eaten for one special occasion each year. My dad has been gifted a carrot cake by his (now former) co-worker and long-time friend Ann for my entire life. It simply would not be my dad’s birthday without it! The best part about Ann’s carrot cake is that the cake and frosting layers are nearly equal, plus there’s always an extra tub of cream cheese frosting on the side with those bear-shaped graham crackers for dipping. The cake gets stored in the fridge because my dad’s birthday is in August, and ice-cold carrot cake never fails to hit the spot, no matter how hot it might be outside. 

Ann shared her recipe with me last year, and I am nowhere near ready to infringe on her territory as the birthday carrot cake baker. But I did start with her recipe as the base for this Coconut Carrot Cake, and played with it to put my own spin on it. I endeavored to give this cake as much coconut flavor as I could. Starting with coconut oil in the cake, to coconut oil and coconut extract in the frosting, and finally topped with toasted shredded coconut, I think I did just that! 

This Coconut Carrot Cake is a new springtime family favorite, with its own unique place in seasonal menu rotation. Nothing will ever take the place of the classic, this will just tide us over until August arrives. 

Ingredients assembled for Coconut Carrot Cake
Assemble your ingredients.

Grated carrots in a bowl with the grater and carrot tops next to it and shredded carrot bits scattered everywhere like confetti
Start by grating your carrots on the large holes of a cheese or box grater. It's carrot confetti!

Stages of mixing up the carrot cake batter
Next, mix up your dry and wet ingredients separately, then combine and gently mix. Fold in the grated carrots. This will be a very thick batter!

Stages of cake batter in the pan, then baked, then frosted, then topped with toasted, shredded coconut
Bake the cake and let it cool completely before frosting it. Top the frosted cake with (cooled) toasted, shredded coconut.

Coconut buttercream frosting in a metal mixing bowl with a pink spatula
While the cake is cooling, make the coconut buttercream frosting using a stand mixer or hand mixer to ensure ingredients are well-combined and fluffy.

Finished Coconut Carrot Cake ready to slice and serve on pink Depression glass plates
Coconut Carrot Cake is the perfect springtime party dessert!

A square of Coconut Carrot Cake on a square pink glass plate next to a grey linen napkin and fork
Slice into squares and serve.

A slice of Coconut Carrot Cake with a bite taken from it

Coconut Carrot Cake

This Coconut Carrot Cake makes an extra-sweet addition to any spring party. It’s a twist on a classic recipe, with coconut added to every layer!


Kira Freed - The Joyful Plateful











For the cake: 

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup light brown sugar, loosely packed

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled

4 large eggs

3 cups grated carrots (about 5 large carrots)

For the frosting:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup coconut oil, room temperature (not melted)

3 cups powdered sugar

2 Tbsp. coconut milk

1/2 tsp. coconut extract

For topping:

3/4 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut, toasted and cooled


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. 
  2. Lightly grease and flour a 9x13-inch baking dish, and set aside. 
  3. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients: flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, and cinnamon. 
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together wet ingredients: melted coconut oil and eggs. 
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and gently stir to combine. Once they are nearly incorporated, fold in the grated carrots until the batter is fully combined. The batter will be very thick. 
  6. Transfer the batter to the prepared baking dish, gently smoothing into an even layer. Bake at 325 degrees F for 45-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting. 
  7. Once the cake has completely cooled, make the frosting. Use either a stand mixer or a hand mixer to beat together the butter and coconut oil until well combined, about one minute. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating until each addition is fully incorporated. Use the coconut milk to thin the mixture and help the ingredients come together. Add the coconut extract. Once all the ingredients have been added, beat the frosting mixture for at least one more minute on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy. 
  8. Dollop the frosting on top of the cooled cake, and use an offset spatula to spread the frosting evenly over the top of the cake, until it is completely covered. 
  9. Scatter the toasted shredded coconut evenly over the top of the frosting. 
  10. Slice and serve, and enjoy! 
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