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Coconut Filling

This delicious coconut cake filling is courtesy of Robert Carter from the Peninsula Grill, in Charleston, South Carolina.

  • Yield: Makes enough for 1 cake
Coconut Filling

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, July Summer 2007


  • 5 cups heavy cream
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 9 cups shredded sweetened coconut


  1. Place cream, sugar, and butter in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved

  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together cornstarch, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon water. Add to cream mixture, bring to a boil, and simmer until thickened, about 1 minute.

  3. Place coconut in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until coconut is finely chopped. Remove cream mixture from heat and stir in coconut until well combined. Transfer to a large baking dish; let cool.

  4. Cover filling with plastic wrap and chill overnight. Just before using, place mixture in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until smooth and creamy, 4 to 5 minutes

Reviews (12)

  • jenycarden 31 Mar, 2013

    When I follow instructions as written, my slurry immediately turns into gelatinous lumps when I add to cream mixture. May I suggest some alternative instructions...
    (a) Stir the cornstarch into the sugar, then boil cream, butter, and sugar/cornstarch together.
    (b) Sift the cornstarch gradually over the hot cream/butter/sugar. Pour hot mixture through a fine sieve before adding coconut.
    Either (a) or (b) should result in a smooth base.

  • cakesthatrock 30 Mar, 2013

    I have read some negative reviews on the filling. Chill a metal bowl and whisk for 15 to 20 minutes. Beat the filling on medium for 8 to 10 minutes until light in color and texture. Beating on high would take less amount of time. If you are only beating for 4 to 5 minutes and the filling is in clumps or looks separated you did not beat the filling long enough. Be careful not to overbeat, you will know if this happens if the filling separates for a second time. This is why I beat on medium speed.

  • mesmeria 27 Jan, 2013

    I made this cake for my step daughter 2 years ago tomorrow and will be making it again tonight for her. It turned out absolutely delicious however I am cutting the recipe in half this year. It makes a LOT of cake! It weighed like 20 lbs and was a pain to spin while covering the sides with toasted coconut but OMG so worth it! This year I am sending it back to college with her. I'm sure it won't go to waste! A definite recipe to keep for the coconut lovers in the family!

  • skschic 9 Jul, 2012

    The filling alone is delicious+ the cake it is heaven.
    Success :)

  • lauralee422 1 Sep, 2011

    Has any one refridgerated this filling more than overnight? My cake is not needed till Sunday now (today is Thur) but I want to get it done.
    I was going to make/torte/crumb coat the cake tomorrow and freeze it. Anyone do that at all? The filling is cooling now, and it smells amazing!

  • kg1too 22 Feb, 2011

    It's a Southern Cake... it's supposed to be sweet ya'll :)

  • ewaali 6 Oct, 2009

    isn't there any possibility to replace butter with something less heavy? Any ideas?

  • LisaGThomas 31 Jan, 2009

    Hi Y'all...I was just saving this Recipe and then decided to read the Reviews for any tips or problems anyone might have had...(so I would know them ahead of time, not to make them). I saw that a few people thought the "Filling" was missing...Martha has the Cake Recipe separately from the Frosting and the Filling...ALL ARE SEPARATE...(I am NOT used to that either). BUT...They ARE all there. Look up the cake again (Coconut Cake; Robert Carters Recipe), and you will see it listed about the 4th or 5th one dow

  • loveat1stbite 12 Aug, 2008

    I need a recipe for a creamy coconut filling that does NOT have to be refrigerated. I will be covering the cake in fondant and therefore the cake will need to sit out for a while. Please help!!!!!

  • Hamppon 7 Aug, 2008

    I noticed after whipping my filling in the mixture that it started to "break." Does this make sense? Could it be due to over-whipping? I only did so for about four minutes. It tastes great but the fluffiness is totally gone now.

  • BakingNook 19 Jul, 2008

    I found this super sweet, friends were bouncing off the walls from the sugar rush..... so I used cream of coconut instead of all the heavy cream, and using unsweetened coconut took the edge off greatly. Such a wonderful cake! (Just wanted to be able to have another slice!)

  • cae_021 13 Apr, 2008

    I made a quarter of this recipe today to use in my version of coconut cake, it's very delicious and I can't wait till I put everything together to see the result. I'd probably cut back a bit more on the sugar (I don't have much of a sweet tooth).

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