This post may contain affiliate links, please see our privacy policy for details.

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.
View Recipe Comments

Coconut Pecan Caramel Butter Cake |

Add a Comment

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. 5 stars
    Hi Tieghan,
    I just made this cake for first time for my father’s birthday. The cake seems very dense, I followed the directions, but I just read everything again and in your details it says, “beat butter and sugar, then add all wet ingredients and then the dry”, but in the directions for the cake in the recipe section it says to add the coconut milk after the dry ingredients….which is correct? Could that have made a difference? Also, is the canned coconut milk supposed to be sweetened or unsweetened? I see that it is either for the shredded coconut, just wanted to verify the coconut milk. Thanks! It looks delicious, can’t wait to have it tonight!!!

    1. Hi Pamela,
      Thanks so much for making this cake!! You can follow the recipe directions as written:) I like to use unsweetened coconut milk. I hope it’s delish and happy birthday to your father! xT

    1. Hi Leighton,
      Yes, that would work well for you! Please let me know if you give this recipe a try, I hope you love it! xT

  2. Hi Tieghan. This looks so good! I’m planning on making this but a guest has a nut allergy, would this be okay to just omit or do you think something else in the recipe would need to be adjusted to accommodate. Thank you!

    1. Hi Caitlin,
      I think you should be okay just omitting the pecans:) I hope this cake turns out well for you, let me know if you have any other questions! xT

  3. Hi! This looks delicious, I have a ton of gluten free people coming for dinner and was wondering if I could sub GF flour and if I needed to change liquid ratios at all? Thanks!