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Coconut angel food cake

Sat, 1 October, 2022

A cloud of coconut cream envelops the cloud of a cake – angel food. The combination is heavenly.

coconut angel food cake

The occasion

This was a request. A birthday cake request, almost squeezed out of the birthday boy who is so annoyingly unassuming, you have to extort food preferences, let alone requests, from him.

After a series of bashful toing and froing (‘but whatever is easiest’, ‘what is it that you all like best’, ‘everything you bake is awesome’) he finally admitted that he adored angel food cake and was partial to coconut flavours.

He even sent a picture of his heart’s desire: luscious and creamy, with layers and coconut flakes galore.

(I traced the pic and it wasn’t very coconutty nor a proper angel food so decided to do it my way.)

angel food cake with coconut frosting

The cake

Angel food cake was in my repertoire already, so that wasn’t an issue. I did scan the internet in search of improvements on mine (semper melius is my motto!) but found nothing to match my original inspiration from Joy of Baking.

Angel food cake is interesting: it looks and feels like the most fragile fluff of a cake, likely to collapse in a heap whilst unmoulding as it’s made from egg whites only and lifted with air trapped in the meringue bubbles. There is no baking powder there, there is no fat and only a little flour.

But as long as you bake it in the special angel cake tin, categorically ungreased, whose porous sides grab and trap the cake batter holding those air bubbles in place, it’s surprisingly sturdy, sliceable and fillable.

It is also easy to make, once you have come to terms there would be a dozen egg yolks left to utilise after the cake baking exercise.

The egg whites need to be beaten to soft peaks and not overbeaten or the cake might collapse, before you start adding sugar by a spoonful.

beating egg whites

The flour gets folded into the glossy meringue, and my additional flavour of choice here was lime: with juice incorporated into egg whites at the start to stabilise them and the zest folded in with the flour, to look pretty.

angel cake batter

The angel cake tin has a flute in the middle to relieve some tension on those airy bubbles, and funny little legs that puzzled me big time at first.

They have a specific purpose: when the cake leaves the oven it has to be immediately inverted and suspended in the tin to prevent collapse, which is counterintuitive but works. It will sit on those little legs, leaving the tin all up in the air.

And if you’re overcautious like me, you might even prop the cake tin on the middle tube – just in case that bit decided to break off and separate from the rest. Which never happened but you know – safe than sorry.

hanging angel cake

After it is completely cold, the cake may be released and cut into layers – with a cake wire which is a mighty nifty contraption – or a sharp bread knife.

The coconut filling

Those who tell you that coconut cream whips as easily as dairy cream are barefaced liars.

Those who claim you can use coconut milk to whip up cake filling should burn in hell.

There is nothing easy or straightforward about making coconut cream filling. It is by all means doable but there are very firm precautions you need to take.

First of all, coconut milk is completely useless here, unless you want to make some sort of panna cotta and set it with gelatine (not tried, not keen).

Secondly, you need to mix coconut cream with double cream to achieve any kind of whippage: it won’t budge on its own.

And thirdly, what’s in the cream tin is too watery to be whipped. The tins should spend the night in the fridge so that on opening you can scoop the thick cream and discard the watery liquid.

Together with double cream, it will agreeably beat into pillowy filling.

I also used coconut blossom syrup for an extra layer. It is a wonderful sweetener though with the taste redolent more of caramel than coconut. But it makes a great crumb-sealer on the cake base.

If the coconut blossom is unavailable, you can use a little good honey or date syrup stirred into double cream instead.

coconute and lime angel cake

The decoration

That at least is the easy bit: just shower the frosted cake with toasted, untoasted or a mix of coconut flakes.

I particularly like doing the sides as it involves literally throwing handfuls of coconut at the frosting. Great fun – though admittedly messy.

decorating angel cake with coconut flakes

The cake tastes divine and not at all sickly because the cream filling isn’t sweetened.

It doesn’t keep for longer than a couple of days in the fridge – but it should not be a problem as it will certainly be devoured in a blink of an eye.

More birthday cake recipes

Red velvet cake frosted with a cream cheese, mascarpone and whipped cream filling. It’s a beauty of a cake and a classic for a birthday.

A little like angel in its fluffiness, genoise is a very light sponge made with very little butter. This genoise cake is layered with cream and mascarpone filling with fresh blueberries.

Matcha (green tea) sponge cake with lemon and bay leaf scented whipped cream frosting. It’s a beautiful cake, beautifully simple to make (but nobody will believe you how easy it is).

coconut cream filled angel cake

More coconut recipes

The easiest cake recipe ever: coconut loaf cake by Bill Granger with shredded or flaked coconut. The quickest coconut loaf cake, it tastes best lightly toasted and buttered.

Orange macaroon cake with desiccated coconut and orange liqueur. This is a glorious cake, with fantastic orange flavour and slight chewiness on account of the coconut.

Coconut milk porridge for a healthy breakfast, especially for those who think dairy free is a healthier option. But it will taste delicious to anyone and is ready in 5 minutes.

angel food cake with coconut whipped cream layers

Coconut angel food cake

Servings: 12Time: 3 hours


  • For the cake:
  • 360ml (1½ cup) egg whites (11-12 eggs)
  • 125g (1 cup) plain flour
  • 300g (1½ cup) caster sugar
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • zest grated from 1 lime
  • For the frosting:
  • 100g (1 cup) raw coconut flakes
  • 450ml (2 cups) double cream
  • 1 tbsp coconut blossom syrup
  • 2 x 160g (5.4 fl oz) tins of coconut cream, kept in the fridge overnight


1. Preheat the oven to 180C no fan/350F/gas 4. Get a two-part angel food cake tube tin ready but do not grease it.

2. Sift the flour with half the amount of the sugar into a bowl.

3. Separate the eggs while cold and bring them to room temperature. Place the whites in the bowl of a standing mixer with a balloon whisk attachment, or in a very large bowl if using a hand-held mixer with a whisk.

4. Beat until foamy. Add the cream of tartar, salt and the lime juice and continue until soft peaks form.

5. Start adding the remaining sugar, by a tablespoon, and continue beating until the meringue is firm and glossy and the sugar is used up. Beat in the lime zest.

6. Fold the flour and sugar mix into the meringue in four goes, using a spatula or a hand whisk – be careful not to deflate the mix. Spoon it into the tin, cut a spatula through the batter to smooth it out and remove any air pockets.

7. Bake for 40-45 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean and the sponge springs back when gently pressed.

8. Immediately invert the tin and stand it on the little legs over a board or plate, so the cake is suspended in the tin. Leave it to cool completely.

9. When cold, run a palette knife around the sides and the centre tube of the tin to release the cake from the main part of the tin, then run it along the bottom to unmould it. Place on a chopping board.

10. While the cake is cooling, toast half the coconut flakes in a dry baking tray, for 5-7 minutes until lightly coloured. Set aside.

11. Decant 50ml (3 tbsp) of the double cream into a small bowl and stir in the coconut blossom syrup; add a little more to taste if desired.

12. Pour the remaining double cream into a large bowl. Open the tins of coconut cream and spoon it into the bowl, taking care to leave the watery liquid behind. Whisk both creams with a hand-held mixer until soft peaks form. Chill before using.

13. Slice the cake horizontally into 3 layers using a wire cake cutter or a very sharp knife. Place the bottom layer on a serving dish.

14. Spread half the amount of coconut blossom syrup cream thinly over the base. Spoon a quarter of the whipped cream amount and spread with palette knife.

15. Place the middle layer over the cream and repeat with coconut blossom syrup cream and the next quarter of the whipped cream. Set the top layer in place and spread the remaining whipped cream over it as well as the sides of the cake.

16. Mix the toasted and raw coconut flakes and sprinkle generously over the top and the sides. Chill for at least an hour before cutting.

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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