Coconut Caramel Cake

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Three layers of the softest coconut sponge cake, coated in caramel buttercream, and filled with gooey coconut caramel. This recipe is really easy to make, requires no eggs, and can be made without dairy.

First, we’ll make a simple one-bowl coconut sponge using dairy-free yogurt and buttermilk. The cake is sweetened with brown sugar and shredded coconut for a creamy caramel flavor. Each layer is separated by smooth caramel buttercream and my easy three-ingredient coconut caramel, making it the perfect cake for springtime.

Coconut Caramel Cake

Course Dessert


Coconut Cake:

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ½ cup canned coconut milk full-fat
  • cup melted coconut oil or vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp coconut extract optional for extra flavor
  • 1 cup shredded coconut

Coconut Caramel Sauce:

  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup dairy-free butter
  • ½ cup canned coconut milk full-fat
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Optional Topping:

  • Toasted shredded coconut or coconut flakes
  • Dairy-free whipped cream or coconut whipped cream


Prepare the Coconut Cake:

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Grease and line an 8-inch round cake pan or a 9×9-inch square pan with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • In another bowl, mix the applesauce, coconut milk, melted coconut oil, vanilla extract, and coconut extract (if using).
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring until just combined.
  • Fold in the shredded coconut.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly.

Bake the Cake:

  • Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the top is golden.
  • Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Prepare the Coconut Caramel Sauce:

  • While the cake is baking, make the caramel sauce.
  • In a small saucepan, combine the light brown sugar, dairy-free butter, and coconut milk.
  • Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the caramel thickens slightly.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract and a pinch of salt.

Finish the Cake:

  • Once the cake is completely cooled, place it on a serving plate.
  • Pour the warm coconut caramel sauce over the top, allowing it to drip down the sides.


  • Optionally, sprinkle with toasted shredded coconut or coconut flakes.
  • Serve with a dollop of dairy-free whipped cream or coconut whipped cream for extra indulgence.


  • Applesauce: Replaces eggs, providing moisture and binding the cake ingredients.
  • Coconut Milk: Full-fat coconut milk gives the best texture and flavor for both the cake and the caramel sauce.
  • Toasted Coconut: For an extra crunch and flavor, toast the shredded coconut or coconut flakes in the oven until golden brown.

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