Calling all coconut and coffee lovers – I have the perfect coconut coffee cake for you! My Kahlua Coconut Cake is beyond delicious – every bite tastes like tropical paradise! It’s made with delicate coconut cake layers, which are soaked with Kahlua coffee liqueur and then frosted with the silkiest coffee French buttercream! And to take this cake to another level, I garnished the cake with chocolate ganache, cookies, truffles and more buttercream! You’ll love every bite!
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How to Make a Kahlua Coconut Cake
This incredible coconut and coffee flavored cake is easy to make and easy to put together! Here’s how I make it:
- Coconut Cake Layers: I start by preparing three, 8-inch cake layers made with coconut milk and flavored with coconut extract. These soft and moist cake layers are so flavorful! Once the cake layers are cooled, I let them cool completely on a wire rack.
- Kahlua French Buttercream: this is my all-time favorite frosting because it’s super smooth! Follow my French Buttercream Recipe and add Kahlua to the mix!
- Cake Syrup: I use more Kahlua coffee liqueur for soaking the cake layers before frosting them. This adds extra moisture!
- To assemble the cake: I first soak the cake layers generously with Kahlua, then I spread a generous amount of the French buttercream between each layer before frosting the outside of the cake.
- Chocolate Ganache: the ultimate finish to any cake! Adding chocolate ganache just elevates this coconut cake to another level!
- Garnishes: garnish the sides with toasted coconut flakes, coconut cookies and more candy and cookie options!
Kahlua French Buttercream
I use my chocolate French Buttercream recipe for frosting this stunning coconut cake. It’s super silky and smooth and my all-time favorite frosting! I made the recipe exactly like in my video recipe and cookbook, then added a teaspoon of coffee extract. If you want to add more Kahlua flavor, add a tablespoon to the buttercream, too. I have a separate video recipe for the French Buttercream. Watch it here for all the details!
Common Recipe Questions
Can I make this cake without the alcohol?
Yes! This cake will also taste great with sweetened espresso or strong coffee, used in place of the Kahlua coffee liqueur.
Can I make this cake ahead of time?
Yes, I even recommend it! Assembling this Kahlua Coconut Cake the day before and letting it set overnight in the refrigerator is a great idea!
Can I make this cake without the coconut extract?
Technically, yes, but I recommend adding it. It will increase the coconut flavor!
Enjoyed this delicious coconut Kahlua cake? Check out some of my other recipes you’re sure to enjoy!
- Triple Coffee Cheesecake – coffee cheesecake with coffee mousse and whipped cream!
- And, try my ‘Coffee Tres Leches Cake’ – made with coffee sponge cake and milk syrup!
- Italian Wedding Cake – light-as-air coconut cake with fluffy frosting!
- Coconut Cupcakes – the best cupcakes with bakery-style meringue frosting!
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Coconut Kahlua Cake Recipe (video)
For Coconut Cake Layers:
- 1 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
- 6 large eggs
- 1 tbsp coconut extract
- 1 1/2 cups whole-fat coconut milk
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/3 tsp salt
For French Buttercream:
- 5 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- 2 cups unsalted butter, softened
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 tsp coffee extract or emulsion
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
For Chocolate Ganache:
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp shortening, if needed
- 1/4 cup Kahlua liqueur or espresso, for soaking cake
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line three, 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper and grease the sides with butter or a baking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar for 2 minutes using a hand mixer, until light and fluffy. Add the coconut extract and begin adding 1 egg at a time, mixing well after each addition. Pour in the coconut milk.
- In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Sift the dry ingredients into the cake batter and then mix, mixing just until the flour is incorporated.
- Divide the cake batter evenly between the three pans. Bake in preheated oven for 28 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the layers from the oven and cool completely on wire rack. Once cooled, level the top of each layer using a serrated knife.
- For French Buttercream: place the egg yolks into a stand mixer bowl and whisk on medium-high speed for a few minutes until thick and pale. Meanwhile, combine the water and sugar in small saucepan. Heat the sugar, not stirring, over medium-high heat until the temperature reaches 238F/115C, about 5 minutes. Keep the mixer running on medium speed and pour the hot syrup in a slow and steady stream into the egg yolks.
- Once all the sugar syrup has been added, turn the mixer up to high speed and whisk for 5 to 7 minutes, until mixture is thick and pale in color. It also needs to be just lukewarm to touch. Begin adding the butter, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, mixing for about 15 to 20 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl often to get all the butter mixed in well. The buttercream will start to thicken as more butter is added.
- After adding the butter, add the melted chocolate, salt and coffee extract. Mix again for a few minutes until a uniform and fluffy frosting forms.
- To assemble the cake: make sure the cake layers are completely cooled. Use a pastry brush to soak each layer generously with Kahlua coffee liqueur or espresso. Spread a generous amount of buttercream between the layers, then frost the top and sides. Smooth down the buttercream with a flat spatula. If desired, press toasted coconut into the sides of the frosting before it sets. Set the cake into the refrigerator while preparing the chocolate ganache.
- For Chocolate Ganache: heat the cream in a measuring cup until steaming hot. Add the chocolate chips and shortening (if desired, for shinier ganache) and let the chocolate stand for 5 minutes. Use a small whisk to blend the chocolate and cream together until a smooth ganache forms. If the chocolate isn’t melted after 5 minutes, place the ganache into the microwave and heat for 30 seconds. If ganache is too thick, add a tablespoon of cream; too thin, add more chocolate chips.
- Pour the ganache over the edges and the top, letting the chocolate drip down the sides of the cake. Garnish the top with coconut truffles, pirouette cookies, macaroons, chocolate malt balls and any remaining buttercream. I used decorating tip #8ft.
- Keep cake refrigerated if not serving the same day. For best results, remove the cake from the fridge at least 1 hour prior to serving; this will allow the layers and buttercream to soften.