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Southern-style Coconut Pecan Caramel Butter Cake. Taking some cues from the south with this DELICIOUS coconut layer cake. Picture a buttery vanilla cake made with sweet coconut and toasted pecans. Each layer of fluffy cake is covered with a delectable, roll your eyes back good – brown sugar frosting that’s sweet and creamy with notes of caramel and coconut mixed throughout. The cake is then topped with a light and creamy vanilla cream…and plenty of toasted coconut. Sooo much to love here! Every bite is sweet, nutty, light and fluffy, and truly delicious. The perfect cake to enjoy any day, but especially fun and fitting for Easter.

overhead photo of Coconut Pecan Caramel Butter Cake slices on plates

Happy Friday, happy weekend guys! I am 100% ready for the weekend ahead. ‘Twas a very long week to say the least, but not in a bad way, just a busy way! Thankfully we get to end the week with cake, so all is good.

And this cake? It really is something special. It’s one I have been dreaming up for well over a year now. Yes, over a year. I first had the idea to make this cake around early March of last year. A coconut cake for Easter sounded just right with everyone home baking. I also figured cake was greatly needed.

Long story short, I made the cake, but it didn’t end well and I never ended up sharing the recipe. Yes, I told you guys, I too have recipe fails and that cake I made a year ago was a fail. I was bummed. But sometimes recipes just don’t work out the way I envision them and then they have to be scrapped.

And that’s what brings me to the cake we have here today. It’s a version of that cake from last year, but this one is better. It has been adjusted and perfected…I  finally got it right.

So you see, I’m excited! This cake has been such a long time coming.

prep photo of Cake batter

Here are all the details

For the cake itself, I adapted my vanilla butter cake to be a vanilla coconut butter cake, adding in coconut and toasted pecans. It’s very simple, just beat the butter with the sugar, then add in all the wet ingredients, then the dry.

The key I’ve found is to finely grind the coconut and pecans until they are fine crumbs. If you have a food processor, this is super easy to do. If you don’t have a food processor, give everything a very fine chop, the smaller the better.

overhead photo of Coconut Pecan Caramel Butter Cake

For the filling, I like to use my go-to brown sugar frosting that has notes of sweet caramel.

The brown sugar melted down adds hints of warm molasses and really deepens the flavor to create an icing that’s perfectly rich and caramel-like. And when you add a touch of vanilla and sea salt along with sweet shredded coconut? Well, it’s hard to say no to a second piece.

The final step is to finish off the cake with a creamy layer of whipped vanilla cream. Then cover the whole cake in toasted coconut for that classic coconut cake look.

front on photo of Coconut Pecan Caramel Butter Cake slice

Slicing those cake layers…

The trickiest part of this cake is slicing the layers in half. Please don’t let this deter you from making this cake. If this step sounds like too much, simply leave the cake as a two-layer cake. It may not be quite as fancy…but still very pretty, and of course delicious!

If you’re willing to give the slicing a try it’s really not that hard. Let me walk you through it.

One, don’t stress about creating a perfectly even cut. As you can see, my layers are nowhere near perfect, but all turned out OK.

Two, use a long serrated bread knife to cut the cake in half. This helps so much with making an even cut all the way through.

Three, make sure to cool the cake completely before slicing.

Bottom line, don’t stress about having to cut the cake layers in half. It’s not as scary as it may seem and once you layer everything together the cake is going to be beautiful no matter what. And, if you do have trouble and the cake crumbles a bit, don’t worry, those crumbs make for a delicious snack. So embrace those uneven layers…imperfect is in these days. The uneven layers, make each and every cake unique and beautiful.

Coconut Pecan Caramel Butter Cake | halfbakedharvest.com

And with that, I’m hoping you now have the inspiration you need to jump up and spend a couple of hours in the kitchen baking this sweet, extra special, coconut cake. Not only is it fun and pretty, but it’s also amazingly good. I mean four layers of coconut pecan cake, caramel/brown sugar icing, and whipped vanilla cream, plus all the toasted coconut you can find – yep…delicious!

Perfect for spring and upcoming Easter!

front on close up photo of Coconut Pecan Caramel Butter Cake slice

Looking for other Easter cake recipes? Here are a few to try:

Coconut Carrot Cake with Jam Swirled Buttercream

Lemon Poppyseed Cake with Citrus Honey Glaze

Lemon Coconut Naked Cake with Whipped Vanilla Buttercream

Lastly, if you make this Coconut Pecan Caramel Butter Cake be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Coconut Pecan Caramel Butter Cake

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings: 20
Calories Per Serving: 438 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ingredients

Brown Sugar Icing

Whipped Cream

Instructions

  • 1. In a food processor, pulse together the pecans and coconut until finely ground. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pulse to combine.
    2. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter 2 8-inch (9 inch works too) round cake pans and line with parchment paper. 
    3. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, beating until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Add the flour mix, beat to combine. Stream in the coconut milk, beating until just combined. Pour the batter among the 2 cake pans.
    4. Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, until the center is just set. Let cool 5-10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake and invert the cake onto a plate, flip it back over onto a cooling rack. Let the cake cool completely before assembling.
    5. To make the brown sugar frosting. Melt together the butter, brown sugar, and cream in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved. Add a pinch of salt. Remove from the heat and add to the bowl of a stand mixer. Sift in the powdered sugar, then add the vanilla. Beat until well combined. Stir in the coconut. If it feels too runny, add more powdered sugar to thicken it.
    6. Optional - for a four-layer cake: Using a large serrated knife, carefully cut each cake in half horizontally. Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread 1 cup of the icing over the cake. Repeat with the remaining 3 cake layers.
    7. For a two-layer cake: Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread 1 cup of the icing over the cake. Repeat with the remaining cake layer. * You will have extra frosting.
    8. Using an electric mixer, whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla until soft peaks form. Spread the cream on the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle the coconut all over the cake. The cake will keep for up to 4 days in the fridge.

Coconut Pecan Caramel Butter Cake | halfbakedharvest.com

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Comments

  1. 4 stars
    Made the cake recipe (haven’t tried out the frosting yet!) and it came out with great flavor but didn’t match the pictures, I’m wondering why yours came out so dark? Mine was much lighter in color, and that’s even with replacing some of the white sugar in the recipe with brown sugar.

    1. Hey Alexa,
      Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try, I love to hear that is was enjoyed:) Hmmm, was there anything you adjusted? It’s hard to say without seeing what yours looked like. xTieghan

  2. 5 stars
    I made cupcakes out of this recipe it was delicious. It made 29 cupcakes and I cooked them at 350 for 20 mins. I skipped the whipped cream, I just dipped them into the brown sugar frosting and topped with toasted coconut.

    1. Hey Allison,
      Happy Friday! So glad to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks for giving it a go! xTieghan

  3. 5 stars
    I want to make this recipe, but I need to make cupcakes. Any tips for me before to attempt this tomorrow. Thanks!

    1. Hey Allie,
      Wonderful! Thanks a lot for making this recipe, I am so glad to hear that it was enjoyed! xxTieghan

  4. 4 stars
    Made this for my husband’s birthday and it had a lovely flavor but we ran into a couple of issues. First, we followed the directions exactly but this cake hardly rose. The layers were definitely not high enough to slice in two. I even double checked the expiration dates on my baking powder and baking soda afterward to be sure, but the baked layers were only an inch high. It made for a dense moist cake, more like a pound cake than what was pictured — great tasting but wasn’t what I expected. The other thing is that while the whipped cream was delicious, even in our air conditioned house here in Georgia the kitchen was warm enough from the oven being on that the whipped cream was melting and drippy after a little while despite having been beaten enough to hold the peaks. Not a dealbreaker but a consideration for warm weather. As another reviewer noted it’s difficult to store because the fridge tends to dry it out but your can’t leave it out at room temp with the whipped cream on it. But the caramel filling was definitely a keeper — very delicious and easy to make and might go well with some other cake flavors. It solidified right away despite the warm kitchen — we used all of it even though we only had the two layers! I may try again on the cake itself and double the baking powder to get it to rise, but I’d love to hear your advice! Thanks for a yummy recipe.

    1. Hey Kate,
      Thanks so much for giving the recipe a try, sorry it did not turn out to your liking. I am not sure why the cake did not rise for you if you followed the recipe as is:) Was there anything you may have adjusted? xTieghan

    1. Hey Steph,
      Sure, that will work just fine. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  5. 5 stars
    Delicious cake! I’ve made it twice. Moist and all of the flavors come through great! I could not cut this cake into four pieces, the first time I did it, it all fell apart. I salvaged most of it but didn’t work for me. Second time I made it, I left it as a two layer cake and that went so much better. I also always have to double the time on her recipes. It took me a solid two hours since I started making it, until it completely cooled and I finished assembling. What am I doing wrong? 😂 all in all, loved this recipe!!

    1. Hey Darlene,
      Awesome! I am so glad you enjoyed this recipe, thanks so much for making it! Sorry, you just have to be extra careful when cutting. Have a great weekend:) xTieghan

    1. Hey Roshni,
      I only use the whipped cream for the outside of the cake. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  6. 4 stars
    Fresh, this cake is great! Really delicious! But it does have to be stored in the refrigerator. Because it’s so large, there’s pretty much no way to avoid the fridge unless you’re having a pretty large gathering. Once it’s in the fridge, the cake gets pretty dry and hard :/ leaving it out on the counter before eating is a tricky game because the whipped cream will start to get sad. Just something to keep in mind if you want to have it across days— otherwise it’s great!

    1. Hey Bianca,
      Happy Friday!! I am so excited that this recipe was enjoyed, I appreciate you giving it a try!! xTieghan

    1. Hey Charley,
      I am delighted that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for giving it a go! xxTieghan

  7. I would love to try this recipe. Was thinking to cut the recipe in half and make cupcakes??? Thoughts?

    1. Hey Karen,
      Sure, that would work well for you! I hope you love them, please let me know how they turn out! xTieghan

  8. 5 stars
    I can’t wait to try this recipe this afternoon – it looks like perfection and your recipes have never let me down! 😍

    Quick question though- Would you store this in the refrigerator? (Even with my boyfriends best efforts and family around I’m thinking this won’t be gone in one sitting and don’t want it to go to waste!)

    1. Hey Alice,
      I hope you love this recipe! Yes, this cake will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days. xTieghan

  9. 5 stars
    Loved this recipe! I adapted to a gluten-free dairy-free version by replacing all butter with vegan butter and GF flour (I used Krusteaz all purpose), coconut cream instead of heavy cream! It turned out so well and was a big hit among even my non gf/df friends! Would definitely recommend this coconut cake for your next party! I went with the two layer option to make it easier for myself lol

    1. Hey Liz,
      I am so excited that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a bunch for giving it a try! 💕Tieghan

  10. 5 stars
    Made this for Easter and there was two pieces left! I took them both home and ate one before bed and my daughter got to the other before i could. i will be making this time and time again! DELISH!!!

    1. Hey Lauren,
      Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try, I am so glad it was enjoyed. Have a great Wednesday! xTieghan

  11. 5 stars
    This cake was absolutely delicious!! Everyone was raving about how great it was!! Will for sure make again!! 🙂

    1. Hey Caitlyn,
      Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try, I am so glad it was enjoyed. Have a great Wednesday! xTieghan

  12. 3 stars
    This was the first cake my husband and I ever made. It tasted great! As a first time baker, I found the recipe hard to follow. I had to google a lot to find out what you meant by certain things. Roasted pecans? Do I roast them myself? What speed are we mixing things on? Are we toasting the coconut? How?

    1. Hey Lauren,
      Thanks so much for giving the recipe a try, sorry you found it to be confusing! I would definitely say this is a more advanced cake for a first time baker. You can purchase roasted pecans or lightly roast them in a skillet, same with the coconut. Usually medium speed works best for mixing. Please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  13. 5 stars
    This was a huge Easter hit!! It will definitely be a new tradition. Thank you for an incredible recipe!

    1. Hey Danielle,
      I am delighted that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for giving it a try! Happy Easter 🌷Tieghan

  14. Should the brown sugar frosting be left to cool/chill before using or is it used warm? Looking forward to making this ☺️

    1. Hey Naomi,
      No need to chill the frosting. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

    1. Hey Steph,
      I would bake for 25-30 minutes. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  15. Is it really 1-2 cups of powdered sugar for the whipped cream? I usually only see 1-2 tbsps. The whole thing sounds delicious!

    1. Hey Jen,
      So sorry for the confusion, you will want to 1-2 tablespoons of powdered sugar in the whipped cream. I hope you love this cake, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

    1. Hey Ashley,
      You can just skip the pecans. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  16. I made this and it was delicious!! I even forgot to put the coconut in the filling – but no problem!

    1. Hey Kelly,
      Thanks a bunch for giving this recipe a try, I am so excited that it was enjoyed! Happy Friday! xTieghan

  17. If I made these as cupcakes how would you suggest layering? What would be your recommended cook time? and could you make a day ahead? Thank you for your time! Excited to try these for Easter 🙂

    1. Hey Taylor,
      I would bake for 25-30 minutes. I would remove the middle of the cupcake with a pastry tip and insert the brown sugar icing and then top with the frosting. I hope you love the recipe, let me know how they turn out! xTieghan

  18. Hi!

    Planning to make this for Easter, if I have 4 round pans can I just use those and bake for less time to avoid having to cut the cake?

    Please advise. Thank you!

    Katelyn

    1. Hey Katelyn,
      That should work for you, just be sure to keep a close eye on the cakes so they do not over bake. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know how it turns out! xTieghan

  19. Hello there, I folowed your recipe step by step and it turned up sh##! Extremly sweet, crumbeling and just 🤦‍♀️
    I was very excited about it but it turned bad… I really LOVE your posts and recipes but this one just got me ……
    Looking forward to some new ones, thank you for sharing your creations 🙌🏻

    1. Hey Tiha,
      So sorry you did not enjoy the recipe, was there anything you adjusted? Let me know how I can help. xTieghan

  20. Hii! Cannot wait to make this tasty cake for Easter! Can you freeze leftover cake and for how long, and how long will it last in the refrigerator? We may not have leftovers but don’t want any of it to go to waste!! Looks amazing!

    1. Hey Marlow,
      This cake is good for up to 4 days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  21. Just wondering what adjustments should be made if I do the batter as cupcakes instead of an entire cake? Thank you!

    1. Hey Jen,
      I would bake for 25-30 minutes. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

    1. Hey Caitlin,
      Yes, that should work just fine for you. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

    1. Hey Nicolene,
      Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try, I am so glad that it was enjoyed! Have a great week:) xTieghan

  22. I just made this and will be serving tomorrow. Can’t wait. Everything I tasted individually was so yummy. How early should I take this out of refrigerator so Carmel in between layers can soften up?

    1. Hey Kathy,
      I would remove a few hours before serving. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  23. This looks so good! I want to make this for Easter but my parents hate pecans. Can I omit the them? If so, do I just substitute them with extra coconut? Thanks! All of your recipes are amazing 🙂

    1. Hey Emily,
      You can just omit the pecans. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  24. Can I make the icing a couple days ahead in the fridge and bring up to room temp to frost? Or Will the consistency change too much once it’s chilled?

    1. Hey Cindy,
      I think that would be totally fine to do. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  25. Hi Tieghan,
    I just wanted to first say how much I LOVE your blog! I make one of your recipes at least 3 times a week, if not more! I have always been intrigued by cooking thanks to my parents who both know their way around a kitchen. After I graduate NP school and survived planning a 2020 wedding (wohoo!) I wanted to pick cooking back up and found your blog shortly after. I have to say you have made me the best newly wed cook and my husband a very happy man! I always look forward to seeing what creative recipes you post. I’ve gotten my sister and friends hooked on you too and they have bought me both your cook books!

    Just had to brag on you for a second because you deserve it and because I think too many people are rude to you in the reviews, But my actual question was if this cake would still be good without the pecans (Husband’s allergic to all nuts, bummer I know). Thanks girl!

    1. Hey Alex,
      Thanks so much for your super kind message and reading along!! Yes, totally fine to skip the pecans:) I hope you love the recipe! xTieghan

    1. Hey Linda,
      Unfortunately, there will not be enough batter for that, you will either want to do 2 or 4 layers. I hope you love the cake, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  26. 5 stars
    Made this last night and 10/10 making it again. So so good. I took it to a church fellowship evening and it got rave reviews. The perfect blend of coconut, caramel and pecan. 😍😍😍

    1. Hey there,
      I really appreciate you giving this recipe a try, I am so glad it was enjoyed.🌷 xTieghan

  27. I made this last night and it is the best cake I have ever made! It was moist! The wipe cream frosting was a no-no made the whole thing way to sweet. So I made more with very little sugar and added to the side of served cake. I just order a birthday cake. I told the lady I will provide the cake portion. She can just decorate. This is awesome!

    1. Hey Stacy,
      I really appreciate you giving this recipe a try, I am so glad it was enjoyed.🌷 xTieghan

  28. Hi from Chicago- the coconut pecan cake looks amazing. I can almost taste it through the photos. Due to pandemic weight gain, partner and I are making miniature portions of the good stuff. For instance, little pies or small cakes so that we won’t have all the leftovers around. I’m trying to figure how to do the pecan cake but only with one layer without need to make the others and throw them out. I’m not even sure I would bother splitting the one layer. Any ideas of a conversion tool that might help.

    Thank you,
    Ray

    1. Hey Ray,
      If you want to do one layer, I would just simply cut the recipe in half! I hope you love the cake, please let me know how it turns out! xTieghan

  29. 5 stars
    This recipe was super easy to make and it tastes amazing! I added some toasted pecans to the outside of mine for some extra crunch and ended up using unsweetened coconut for the outside since it was all I had. I also had to increase the baking time by about 10 minutes. My 4 year old loved it, so this recipe is definitely a keeper!

    1. Hey Shannon,
      Thanks a bunch for giving this recipe a try, I am thrilled that it was enjoyed! Have a great week:) xTieghan

  30. You can also cut the cake with a piece of sewing thread or fishing line. (The fishing line is what I use more often) This is now the only way I cut my cakes, and it works and it is alot easier and less crumbs than using a knife.( I.M.O.) You just hold the thread against the side of cake and pull into and all the way through the cake. It slices it very easy and neatly. I can now cut 2 cakes and make 4 layers as before I was afraid to mess them up.

    1. Hey Meg,
      So sorry, but I am not familiar with that recipe, I put a lot of time and energy into the recipes that I create. I hope you love the cake! xTieghan

  31. We are going away for my mom’s birthday – I was going to make the frosting ahead of time and frost the cake where we are going – since it is made on the stove do you think it will be okay to keep in a tuber-ware for a day?

    1. Hey Natalie,
      Yes, that will work just fine for you. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know how it turns out! xTieghan

  32. 4 stars
    Made this but had enough of the brown sugar frosting to frost the entire cake! Left out the whipped topping and put pan-toasted coconut on top instead. Delicious!

    1. Hey Leslie,
      You could certainly use your square baking pans. I hope you love the cake, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  33. Made this tonight for grandparents birthday – it was total hit! My dad wants one for his birthday now too! It fell apart a little when I took it out of the cake tin but it was easy to fix with the caramel icing. It was hard not to consume the entirety of the cake batter and icing as I was making it. Thanks for this recipe!!

    1. Hey Sarah,
      I am delighted that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a bunch for making it. Happy Sunday! ☀️Tieghan

    1. Hey Taylor,
      I am delighted that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a bunch for making it. Happy Sunday! ☀️Tieghan

    1. Hey Lisa,
      Fresh coconut should work well for you. Are you wanting to use the coconut milk in place of the heavy cream? If so, I would recommend using coconut cream. I hope you love the recipe!! xTieghan

    1. Hey Sarah,
      I recommend baking at 325 for 5 minutes on a baking sheet. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  34. I’m looking forward to trying this for Easter, I’m curious though, does this really serve 20? Are you using a larger cake pan?

    1. Hey Martina,
      Yes, this will serve 20. Considering the 4 layers, you just don’t need as thick of slices per serving. I hope you love the cake, please let me know how it turns out! xTieghan

  35. This looks amazing! Are your baking recipes already adjusted for altitude since you are in Summit County? If not, is there a particular adjustment method you prefer? Thanks!!

    1. Hey Katie,
      You can follow the recipes as is:) I hope you love the cake, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

  36. Thank you for sharing this lovely recipe with us definitely will try it soon but I wanted to ask can we substitute the butter with oil in the cake batter? If yes how much will be?. Thank you

    1. Hey Dalal,
      Yes, that will work well for you, I would use an equal amount! I hope you enjoy the cake, please let me know how it turns out! xTieghan

  37. Looks delicious and I will be trying this but wanted to mention cutting a cake layer in two is easier using dental floss (unflavored); wrap the floss around the cake and where it meets just keep pulling the ends – it slices right through easily.

    1. Hey Kathy,
      I like to use unsweetened coconut. I hope you love the cake, please let me know if you make it! xTieghan

    1. Hey Theresa,
      I would do 30-35 minutes. I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  38. This is perfectly timed, I’ve been craving cake for no particular reason lately. So excited to make this one! Also, I listened to your “Good Life Podcast” episode today and LOVED it! You’re amazing. xo

  39. thanks for sharing this recipe i will try by today itself . and i will share this to my freinds and relatives