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Ultimate Coconut Cake


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

  • Yield: Makes one 6-layer cake

Source: The Martha Stewart Show, Episode 2112



  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread coconut flakes in an even layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake until golden, 5 to 7 minutes; set aside to cool.

  2. Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes to make level; discard trimmings. Cut each cake into 3 even layers. Place four strips of parchment paper around perimeter of a serving plate or lazy Susan.

  3. Place one layer on the cake plate. Brush with about one-fifth of the simple syrup. Spread over 2 cups of filling. Place a second layer on top. Repeat process with the next four layers and top with last remaining layer.

  4. Spread top and sides of cake with frosting, keeping in mind you may not need to use all of it. Press toasted coconut into sides of cake; remove parchment paper strips. Chill cake at least 5 hours and up to 5 days. Slice immediately; bring to room temperature before serving.

Reviews Add a comment

  • MS10988074
    29 JUN, 2017
    I requested this cake for my 40th. It was absolute, delicious, perfection. Rich to be sure, as a celebration cake should be. .Loaded with coconut flavor and a great combination of textures. It is worth the hassle.
  • kcscakes
    23 APR, 2015
    BEST cake Ever!! I have made this cake several times for family and friends and everyone agrees that it is thee best coconut cake they have ever had. Sadly, I am unable to access the recipe online from marthas website. Im not sure if she took it down or what the problem is, is anyone else having this issue? Please Help, I need to make this cake soon!
    • kashbrow
      23 APR, 2015
      These links don't seem to work either.
    • MSModerator601
      23 APR, 2015
      Sorry, hyperlinks for recipe components are redirecting to the homepage. Recipes are posted: Coconut Cake: Filling: Simple Syrup: Frosting:
  • Linpatse
    28 MAR, 2015
    I made the the coconut filling yesterday. Today I made the cake and frosting. All was going well until I began beating the filling to make it creamy. Since it said mix for 4 or 5 min, I walked away from it. I looked over at about 3 min. It had changed and was very smooth and creamy. But I thought, since it said 4 or 5, it must get better...right? But when I went to turn it off, it had turned to a mixture that looked like butter and coconut mashed together. I needed "caution, don't over mix!"
  • laurie093
    25 FEB, 2015
    FIVE stars!!! I made this for my daughter's 25th birthday, which was on a Wed. Began the cake on Monday, starting with the filling and cake layers. On Tuesday, I made the simple syrup, and assembled the cake, then refrigerated it. Took it out of the fridge at 2pm in order to bring to room temp by dinner time. Did not toast the coconut that was on the outside as I like the look of white coconut. Outstanding...and very LARGE cake. Will make half the recipe next time!
  • Brenda Bennett
    11 MAY, 2014
    Made this cake today :) It turned out well...wish I could post a picture...made it for my mother-in-laws 87th birthday, coconut is her favorite cake :)
  • triana67
    9 MAR, 2014
    I made this cake and loved it, except I had to add an egg more to the cake mixture because the first time the cake came out to dry and cracked in many places…..
  • ashleyannz
    23 SEP, 2013
    This recipe is really excellent. I've has the cake from the restaurant and it really is identical. The only issue I have with this recipe is that it is not written well. The first time I made it the filling was soupy bc it did not say to cook it very long so I had to re-cook it. I would recommend letting it simmer on low heat for a while after adding the corn starch. Also some of the steps for the cake seem out of order. As long as you read the recipe thoroughly beforehand it's excellent.
  • Cakesthatrock Kourtnie Cakes
    30 MAR, 2013
    Do not only beat the filling for 4 minutes. The best way to beat the filling is to treat it like normal whipping cream chill your metal stand mixing bowl and whisk in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes. Whip the filling on medium speed for 8 to 12 minutes depending on your mixer. The filling will become much lighter in color and texture. You could beat the filling on high for less amount of time. The filling is very good!
  • LisaMHarper
    25 MAR, 2013
    This cake is outstanding! Only problem I had was with the filling. Made it the day before so it could chill. When I beat it with my flat beater (just before assembly) it went from luscious coconut cream dreaminess to coated bits of coconut that wouldn't spread. Used it anyway. End result was so delicious it was ridiculous. My mission in life is to eat light next time we go to Pen Grill so I can compare. I live in Chas and never have room for that cake. I just ogle other people's pieces.
  • ElizaBake81
    22 DEC, 2012
    Both homemade and at Peninsula Grill, this cake is delicious - but very time consuming and expensive. It costs about $60 (excluding staples) with finer ingredients. Although it's ridiculously big! So to save $ and calories, I've cut the cake ingredients in half (made 3 - 9"rounds) and only made 1/4 the filling recipe (because it makes way too much as is, unless you like more filling than cake). The shorter cake only needs 1c toasted coconut for outside. I typically don't cut the icing - that would be just silly. Also suggest adding extra COLD water to dissolve the cornstarch slurry before adding it to filling mixture - otherwise will clump. Waiting overnight to chill filling and 2-3 days after assembly to serve is a must!