Ultimate Tropical Coconut Cake With Mango Filling
Moist and fluffy, this coconut cake tastes like the tropics in a bite! The sponge is filled with texture-rich coconut flakes and creamy coconut milk, while the filling is a tart and juicy mango curd. The best part? It's all topped off with a toasted coconut cream cheese frosting that's out-of-this-world delicious. If you love coconut, this cake is definitely for you!
This mango coconut cake is perfect for any tropical celebration or summer party! It's easy to make and can be made ahead of time. Plus and the addition of mango puree to the curd filling makes this cake extra special. The cream cheese frosting is light and not too sweet, and it's a perfect complement to the moist cake. Topped off with some tropical fruit, this cake is sure to impress your friends and family!
Why You’ll Love This Coconut Cake with Coconut Milk
- The coconut is front and center. I may be a little biased, but if you're looking for the best coconut cake where the coconut shines through, this is it! It's moist and fluffy with the perfect amount of sweetness. The addition of coconut milk makes the cake extra moist and gives it a lovely richness.
- The mango curd filling is out-of-this-world delicious! It's tart and sweet with just the right amount of mango flavor. Plus, it's made with fresh mango, so it's super easy to make, and the freshness really shines through.
- Balanced sweetness. This cake is not too sweet, which I love. The mango curd filling and the coconut cream cheese frosting are both lightly sweetened, so they don't overwhelm the cake.
- It will make you feel like you're on vaca in Hawaii. Seriously, one bite of this cake and you'll be transported to the tropics! The flavors and aromas of coconut and mango are so intoxicating and will have you dreaming of white sandy beaches.
What is Mango Curd?
Mango curd is a thick, tart, and creamy filling made with fresh mango, lime juice, sugar, eggs, and butter. It's similar to lemon curd but with mango instead of lemon. The addition of mango makes this curd extra special and gives it a beautiful color.
Mango curd is one of my favorite curds to make. The fruit is naturally smooth and tart, making the curd a delightfully delicious spread. I had leftover curd from the cake and used the curd in my morning oatmeal, spread on toast, and even put a dollop on my ice cream! But, I must say my favorite way to eat it was with this coconut cake.
Spending part of my childhood and teen years in Hawaii, I really grew to love the tropical flavors such as mango and passion fruit. They are so exotic, fresh, and delicious. The slightly tart flavors pair beautifully with buttery sweet baked goods just as well as they do with savory dishes such as chicken or pork.
My family always jokes with me that I have a slight obsession with fruit curd. Whenever there is a sale on fruit, I always buy extra to make a curd with it. I’ve made Meyer Lemon, Pineapple, Blackberry, and even Guava curd!
Equipment Needed To Make This Coconut Cake with Coconut Milk
- Food processor or blender
- 2-quart saucepan
- Glass bowl or jar with lid
- Two 8-inch pans or three 9-inch round cake pans
- Parchment paper
- Medium-sized bowl
- Stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment & wire whip attachment
- Large bowl
- Stand mixer fitted with a wire whip
- Balloon whisk
- Cakes racks
- Cake plate
- Piping bag
Ingredients For Your Ultimate Coconut Cake
- Ripe mango
- Lime juice
- Pinch of salt
- Unsalted butter
Coconut Cake Layers-
- Cake flour
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- Unsweetened coconut milk
- Vanilla extract
- Sweetened shredded coconut
- White sugar
- Egg whites
- Cream of tarter
- White sugar
Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting-
- Unsalted Butter
- Cream cheese
- Powdered sugar
- Coconut extract
- Toasted Shaved Coconut for garnish
How To Make This Mango Coconut Cake
I'll admit this cake is not for the faint of heart. It's definitely not one that I'd label "easy or simple". That being said, some of the best things in life are worth working for, and this cake is definitely one of those things. I promise it's worth the effort, and you'll be so proud of yourself when you take that first bite!
Step One: Make the Mango Filling
Start by making the mango curd. The curd can be made up to a week in advance, so it's great for meal prep or if you want to get a head start on the cake.
- To make the curd, add the mango, sugar, lime juice, and salt to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
- Once smooth, add the egg yolks and puree for about 15 more seconds. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times during this process.
- Next, add the mixture to a saucepan over low heat. Cook the mixture while frequently whisking until it thickens.
- Once your curd reaches 170 degrees F, remove it from the heat and whisk in the butter one piece at a time until melted.
- Pour the curd into a glass bowl or jar and press plastic wrap onto the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming.
- Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.
Step Two: Make The Coconut Layer Cake
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F and prepare two or three cake pans by greasing them with butter and lining the bottom with parchment paper.
- In a sifter, combine the cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Sift the ingredients into a medium bowl and set aside.
- In a separate bowl, combine unsweetened coconut milk and vanilla; whisk to blend, add coconut and stir to blend. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter on medium speed until light and fluffy.
- Gradually add sugar, beating until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add eggs, one at a time, and mix until incorporated; transfer batter to a large bowl.
- Alternate the flour mixture and coconut mixture, incorporating them into the creamed butter in 3 batches, until a batter is formed.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the wire whip attachment, beat egg whites on medium-high speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Gradually add sugar, and continue to beat until glossy and stiff peaks form; do not overbeat.
- Using a rubber spatula, fold the egg white mixture into the batter in three additions until just blended.
- Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly. Tap pans on the counter to eliminate air bubbles.
- Bake cakes until a cake tester or wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes for two pans or 30 minutes for three pans.
- Cool cakes in pan(s) on a wire rack for ten minutes; remove from pan(s), and cool completely on wire racks.
Step Three: Make the Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, and cream cheese on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
- With the mixer on low speed, gradually add powdered sugar, and mix until well blended.
- Add milk and coconut extract; mix until smooth.
Step Four: Assemble The Cake
- Place one cake layer, top side down, on a plate or cake stand.
- Pipe a thick ring of frosting along the edge of the cake to hold in the mango filling.
- Then using an offset spatula, spread the mango curd over the surface of the cake.
- Repeat with the remaining layers (if you made 3 cakes) and place the cake in the fridge to set.
- Once set, frost the outside of the cake with the coconut cream cheese frosting.
- Press toasted coconut onto the sides and top of the cake. Refrigerate for at least an hour to finish setting the frosting.
Step Five: Decorate Your coconut Cake
- Top the cake with tropical fruit like mango, pineapple, and kiwi.
- You can also garnish the cake with edible flowers if you like.
How To Store Your Tropical Coconut Cake
This cake needs to be refrigerated and will last for up to five days. Be sure to store your cake in an airtight container, so it doesn't dry out. You can also press plastic wrap against the cut edge to help retain moisture.
Don't forget! If you have any leftover mango curd, it can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.
Coconut cake is best served at room temperature, so be sure to take it out of the fridge an hour or two before serving.
Can I use boxed cake mix in this coconut cake instead of making it from scratch?
Yes - you can. I'd go with a white cake mix and use coconut milk instead of water or milk and add in the shredded coconut. That being said, I would love it if you tried to make it from scratch. It's not as difficult as you think, and the flavor is so much better.
Is it possible to make this cake without using eggs?
Yes, it is possible to make a vegan version of this cake. I would recommend using a flax egg in place of the regular eggs. I would like to note that I have not made this recipe using a flax egg substitute, so I am not sure how it would turn out. You may want to make a few test batches.
To make a flax egg, mix together one tablespoon of ground flaxseed meal with three tablespoons of water. Let it sit for a few minutes to thicken up, and then use it in the recipe as directed.
Can I use a different kind of fruit filling in this cake?
Yes - you can use any type of fruit filling that you like. Passionfruit curd would be amazing in this cake or even a pineapple! Get creative and use your favorite fruits.
I hope you enjoy this recipe for tropical coconut cake! If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below, and I'll do my best to answer them. Bon appétit!
Other Cake Recipes You’ll Love
- CHERRY CREAM CHEESE BUNDT CAKE
- BLUEBERRY LEMON CUSTARD CAKE
- MARBLE CAKE RECIPE
- APPLE CIDER CAKE
- BLACK FOREST CAKE
- Mango Curd
- 1 large mango peeled, pitted, cut into ½-inch pieces
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- Pinch of salt
- 4 large egg yolks
- ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- Coconut Cake Layers-
- 2 cups cake flour
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2½ cups unsweetened coconut milk
- 1½ tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 8 oz unsalted butter room temperature
- 1½ cups granulated white sugar
- 2 eggs , extra-large
- 1 cup egg whites (about 7 to 8 extra-large eggs)
- ½ teaspoon cream of tarter
- 1½ cups granulated white sugar
- Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting-
- 8 ounces unsalted butter , softened
- 8 ounces cream cheese , softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 teaspoon coconut extract
- 2 cups toasted coconut for garnish
To make the curd, puree mango, sugar, lime juice and salt in processor or blender.
Add yolks; puree 15 seconds longer.
Pour the mixture into a 2 quart saucepan and cook over low heat until thickened (about 10 minutes), stirring constantly.
The curd will thicken at about 170 degrees F, or just below simmer.
Whisk in butter 1 piece at a time.
Remove from heat, carefully transfer to a glass bowl or jar and cover and refrigerate overnight.
For the Coconut Cake Layers-
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Butter two 8-inch pans or three 9-inch round cake pans. Line with round parchment paper; butter parchment, dust lightly with flour and shake off excess.
Sift together cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt.
In a separate bowl, combine unsweetened coconut milk and vanilla; whisk to blend, add coconut and stir to blend.
In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and 1½ cups sugar for 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until incorporated; transfer batter to a large bowl.
Alternately add flour mixture and coconut mixture to batter in 3 batches, until blended.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a wire whip, beat egg whites with cream of tartar and 1½ cups sugar to form medium stiff peaks; add to batter, stirring slowly with a balloon whisk until incorporated.
Spread batter evenly in pans; tap pans on counter to eliminate air bubbles.
Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean; cool on cooling racks for 5 minutes. Run a knife around outer edges of pans and invert cakes onto racks.
To make the Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting, cream cream cheese and butter together until fluffy.
Turn mixer to low and beat in powdered sugar, add coconut extract.
Beat on high for 5 minutes.
To assemble the cake, place cooled cake layer on cake plate.
Pipe a thick ring of frosting along the edge of the cake, then fill with about ½ cup of mango curd.
Top with next layer and repeat. Once middle layers have curd, place cake in fridge for 1 hour.
Once set, frost the outside of the cake and garnish with toasted coconut shavings.
You'll notice in the cake recipe that there is sugar added twice. It will be added once to the butter mixture and once to the egg whites. The egg white mixture will be folded into the butter mixture resulting in a very light cake.