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Coconut Sheet Cake

A frosted coconut sheet cake cut into 12 squares on a piece of parchment with a person grabbing a piece.
This coconut sheet cake, topped with a tangy cream cheese frosting and a dusting of desiccated coconut, is the lightest, fluffiest sheet cake we've ever tried.
Edd Kimber

Prep 1 hr
Cook 30 mins
Total 2 hrs
Dessert
American
12 to 16 servings
748 kcal

Ingredients 

For the coconut sheet cake

  • 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter at room temperature, plus extra for the pan
  • 1/2 cup virgin coconut oil
  • 1 3/4 cups superfine sugar (or just blitz granulated sugar in a blender until finely ground but not powdery)
  • 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons coconut extract
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 1/3 cups plus 2 tablespoons full fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup desiccated or shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)

For the cream cheese frosting

  • 2/3 stick (2 3/4 oz) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon full-fat cream cheese at room temperature
  • 3 1/3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup desiccated or shredded coconut

Directions 

Make the coconut sheet cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) baking pan and line with parchment paper long enough to hang over the 2 long sides.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed, combine the butter, coconut oil, and superfine sugar, and beat until light and fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a separate large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Add the vanilla and coconut extracts to the butter mixture and mix briefly to combine. Then add the egg whites, 1 at a time, mixing until completely combined before adding another.
  • Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the coconut milk, starting and finishing with the flour. Fold in the desiccated or shredded coconut.
  • Scrape the cake batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Bake until the cake springs back to a light touch or a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, 27 to 35 minutes.
  • Let the cake cool in the pan for about 15 minutes. Use the parchment paper to lift it out of the pan and place it on a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the cream cheese frosting

  • In the clean bowl of a stand mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth, creamy, and fully combined, about 2 minutes. We can’t overstress the importance of using room temperature butter and cream cheese to achieve a smooth consistency—it makes all the difference.
  • Reduce the speed, to low, add the confectioners’ sugar, salt, and vanilla, and mix until the sugar is incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high speed and beat until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Spread the frosting over the cooled cake and then sprinkle with the desiccated or shredded coconut. (This cake will keep for 2 to 3 days but is best eaten within a day of frosting.)