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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 |

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: 544 kcal

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


Brown Sugar Icing

Whipped Cream


  • 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.
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Coconut Pecan Caramel Butter Cake |

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  1. 5 stars
    Made this for our cookbook club and it was incredible! We couldn’t get enough of it. Honestly one of the best cakes I’ve ever had. Delicious!!!

  2. Hello!
    I baked the cake in 9″ pans which made them a perfect thickness which really didn’t need to be cut. Not my intention but worked out well. Baking time was 28 minutes.
    As for the runny/too sweet frosting, I started with the butter and sugar in the pot. Boiled it, put in the mixer with 2.5 cups powdered sugar, and cooled it. I then then whipped it like butter and sugar whips well, then found I only needed 1 tbsp cream for perfect spreading conistency. I put the coconut, stirred it with a spatula: perect for spreading. I still find it very sweet but hope that paired with the cake, it will be perfect.
    So far, everything is working out well. I’ll try to write again once tasted lol

    1. Hi Aggie,
      Amazing!! Love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed and sharing your feedback! Thanks for making it:) xx

  3. 5 stars
    Made this for my daughter’s birthday and it was a huge hit. Our other two (adult!) kids now want this cake for their birthdays! The flavors were a perfect blend, and nicely paired with French vanilla ice cream. The icing was pretty sweet as it needed a lot more powdered sugar (but was still raved about). Next time I will try backing off the butter by 2 tablespoons and seeing if that helps the need for more. I did slice the cake to have 4 layers, and it made a beautiful presentation. Tieghan’s advice not to worry about imperfect cuts gave me confidence (thank you!) I had a little trouble placing the coconut along the sides of the cake (any advice?) but it wasn’t a big deal. Five out of five stars! The cake was gone in two days.

    1. Hey Jennifer,
      Wonderful!!🌴🍍 I appreciate you making this recipe and sharing your review, love to hear that it turned out well! The coconut can be a little tricky, I just use a handful and gently try to press it onto the cake. I hope this helps! Happy Birthday to your daughter! xx

  4. This cake was absolutely delicious! Good balance of coconut to other flavors – mine cooked for about 4 more minutes than called for. Big hit at Easter!

    1. Hey Madison,
      Awesome!! Thanks a bunch for testing this recipe out, so glad to hear it turned out well for you! xT

  5. 4 stars
    Flavor was SO good! The cake needed 10-15 min longer baking in my oven. The icing needed about 2 more cups of powdered sugar even after cooling it to room temp. I ended up putting it in the fridge overnight to make it sturdier after it oozed off the bottom layer so I could taste the delicious icing in the center.

    1. Hey Valerie,
      Awesome!! Thanks a bunch for testing this recipe out, so glad to hear it turned out well for you! xT

  6. Super excited to try this recipe as all of your recipes come out amazing for me! Unfortunately, the middle of my two cakes did not bake. They were super gooey. I kept them in for an extra 5 minutes but still undercooked. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Skylet,
      Thanks for trying this recipe, sorry to hear the cakes are under baked. I would bake them longer to finish baking:) Let me know how I can help! xT

  7. 5 stars
    Honestly was nervous to make this after reading the comments but SO glad I did anyways. Had zero problems with it and cutting the cake was super easy to make the four levels. I had so many compliments on this cake. Hubby even said it’s his new favorite cake!
    Thank you for sharing this recipe!

    1. Hey Jenna,
      Happy Wednesday! ⛅️🌈 I’m so glad to hear that this recipe worked well for you and I appreciate you giving it a try! xx

  8. I’m hesitant about the slicing the cakes in half thing. I’m considering separating the batter in three separate 8” pans, and frost between making it a 3-layer cake. What are your thoughts?

    1. Hey Mike,
      Sure, you could do that if you wanted:) Let me know if you give this recipe a try, I hope you love it! xx

  9. 5 stars
    Many thanks Tieghan,
    The flavours were fantastic – yum! However, the cake was really crumbly – any ideas how to fix that?

    1. Hey Tony,
      Happy Friday!! I appreciate you making this recipe and your comment, so glad to hear it was delish! Hmmm, is it possible the batter was over-mixed? xx

    1. 5 stars
      Love this recipe ! Making it for the 2nd time tonight for my sisters birthday. The first time I used self raising flour and it rose perfectly !! Using plain flour tonight and the cakes aren’t as big. So tasty though !!

    1. Hi Brooklyn,
      Yes, that will work well for you! I hope you love this recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xx

  10. Hi! For a dairy allergy would you recommend substituting the heavy cream and whipping cream for full fat coconut milk or coconut cream? I typically substitute DF butter for regular butter without any big issues but I’m still learning! Thank you so much!! This looks delicious.

    1. Hey Meghann,
      Yes, that should be just fine for you to do! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions!! xx

  11. I really was hoping to try this out but I do not own a food processor. What would you suggest instead? Thank you!

    1. Hi Shelby,
      You could try a blender or smashing in a plastic bag. Please let me know if you give the recipe a try, I hope you love it! xx

  12. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for such an awesome recipe. I made this cake for my sister’s 60th birthday bash and everyone said how wonderful it was after their first bites…a unanimous chorus of thumbs up. I was so pleased. I regularly check in to see your latest recipes and am never disappointed with the ones I choose. You have definitely found your calling and your joy in what you do comes through with your great recipes.

    This cake is a must try…I will definitely be making it again ?

    1. Hey Tracy,
      Love to hear that this recipe was a hit, thanks for making it and sharing your feedback! Thanks so much for your super kind message and happy birthday to your sister! ??xTieghan

  13. 5 stars
    This was so delicious! My husband said it might be his new favorite cake.
    I made it gluten free using Pamela’s all -purpose flour. I made the two tier cake! Turned out great! Seriously so good. Also do you serve this cold Tieghan and keep in fridge?

    1. Hey Jenni,
      Thanks for your comment! Love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed:) I do keep it in the fridge, I typically let it sit at room temp for a bit before serving. Have a great weekend! xxTieghan