Coconut Carrot Cake

Why settle for one kind of cake when you can have two in one? This Coconut Carrot Cake recipe is SO easy and we all loved it!

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Coconut Carrot Cake - this easy carrot cake recipe is full of coconut flavor with a cream cheese frosting. My family loved this cake!

Do you ever turn the page on your calendar and realize you have a deadline to make early the following week? And have you ever done that the day before you leave on vacation? Yeah, me too.

Last week was kind of a blur: we had half days at school, teacher conferences, doctors appointments, work, and I left on Thursday for a long weekend getaway. (I got to spend the entire weekend in Santa Monica with Averie and Holly, two of my favorite ladies!) On Wednesday I happened to turn the page in my calendar, thinking I’d get ahead and write some notes for Monday morning. And then I saw that I needed to make this cake to post today and I kind of went crazy in my head.

Luckily, I had everything I needed on hand to make an EASY carrot cake recipe. This recipe starts with a cake mix, but you’d never know it. It makes getting the cake into the oven happen twice as fast and you know it’s going to work because it starts with a mix.

I love my scratch carrot cake recipe but sometimes a girl just needs a helping hand, can I get an Amen?

Coconut Carrot Cake Recipe

Since there are about 20 gajillion carrot cake recipes out there, I wanted something a little different. First of all, it’s a doctored yellow cake mix. I know they make a carrot cake mix but that mix kind of weirds me out. I mean…there aren’t any real carrots in it. Plus, I always have yellow cake mix in my pantry, so it’s one less trip to the store.

Coconut is big this time of year, so I decided to meld two of my favorites and make a Coconut Carrot Cake. The coconut flavor comes from toasted coconut stirred into the cake batter. I also threw a box of instant coconut pudding mix into the cake too – it keeps the cake extra moist and soft and adds a great amount of flavor. (You can use any flavor pudding mix you want!)

Besides the coconut and the cake mix, this cake has everything else you’d expect in a carrot cake (well, from me, anyway, this girl doesn’t do raisins or pineapple in cake): carrots and cinnamon, as well as the usual cake ingredients, oil, eggs, and a liquid.

Instead of using milk, I decided to use almond milk because it’s what I always use when I’m baking these days. I drink almond milk every day in cereal and smoothies, so why not put it in cake? Plus, Almond Breeze has an Almond Milk Coconut Milk Blend that adds another layer of coconut flavor to the cake!

Almond Breeze Almond Milk Coconut Milk Blend

The cake smelled SO good you guys. My whole kitchen smelled like it coconut and carrot cake! And because I had to hurry and make the cake right before I was leaving (literally, just a few hours), I didn’t have time to frost and photograph it before I left. I can therefore tell you this cake freezes and defrosts really well (unfrosted). Just wrap it in plastic and freeze until you’re ready for it. In other words, make your Easter cake NOW and freeze it for the big day?

The frosting is a basic cream cheese frosting, which is basically the only frosting allowed on carrot cake. It’s, like, the law or something, I think? I topped the frosting with more toasted coconut and then really tried to re-home the cake as fast as possible because we all loved it!

Coconut Carrot Cake - this easy carrot cake recipe is full of coconut flavor with a cream cheese frosting. My family loved this cake!

And it’s so easy, you could make it RIGHT THIS MINUTE!

Recipe tips:

  • Use any brand yellow cake mix for this recipe (around 15.25 ounces). You could also substitute a white, spice, or carrot cake mix too.
  • Use any flavor pudding to enhance the flavor, just be sure to match it with the other cake flavors.
  • If you want to amp up the coconut flavor, add 1/2 teaspoon of coconut extract to the cake and/or the frosting.
  • I baked my cake in a 12″ bundt pan. If you don’t have a bundt pan, you could bake this in a 9×13″ pan or two 9″ rounds. The baking time will be affected, but it’ll work in either pan. You should probably double the frosting in that case, since the recipe as written makes just enough for the bundt.
Did you make this recipe?

Coconut Carrot Cake

Coconut Carrot Cake - this easy carrot cake recipe is full of coconut with a cream cheese frosting. The perfect cake for spring, Easter, or any occasion! It's an easy recipe that starts with a cake mix but you'd never know it.


Ingredients:

For the Cake



  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

  • 1 yellow cake mix (15.25 ounces)

  • 1 (3.4 ounce) box instant vanilla or coconut pudding mix (if not using coconut pudding mix, add 1/4 teaspoon coconut extract to the cake)

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

  • 2/3 cup Almond Breeze Almondmilk Coconutmilk Blend (or any flavor)

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

  • 2 cups shredded carrots, about 7 small carrots (shred your own, don’t use the pre-shredded)


For the Frosting



  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 2 cups powdered sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Directions:


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 12” bundt pan with nonstick floured cooking spray (or butter and flour the pan).

  2. Place the coconut in a small saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring almost constantly, for a few minutes, until the coconut browns. Immediately remove to a plate to cool. (Coconut burns easily, so be sure to watch it carefully.) Reserve 1/4 cup of the toasted coconut for the topping of the cake.

  3. Place cake mix, pudding mix, oil, eggs, cinnamon, and almond milk in a large bowl. Beat with a hand mixer until just combined (mixture may be slightly lumpy). Stir in the shredded carrots and toasted coconut.

  4. Pour cake batter into prepared pan. Bake for 38-45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean near the center. Cool completely before frosting.

  5. To make the frosting: beat butter and cream cheese with a hand mixer until smooth. Add salt and 1 cup of powdered sugar, beat until smooth, then mix in remaining cup of powdered sugar and vanilla. Mixture should be smooth and spreadable. Spread or pipe on cake as desired. Sprinkle with reserved toasted coconut.

  6. Store loosely covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Unfrosted cooled cake can be wrapped well in plastic wrap and frozen for up to one month.


Notes:

You can make the cake in a 9x13” pan or two 9” rounds. Baking time will be affected and you will need to double the frosting recipe to have enough to properly frost the cake.


Adapted from Taste of Home.


All images and text ©. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

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This post was sponsored by Almond Breeze. All opinions are 100% my own.

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26 comments

  1. This is such a pretty cake, Dorothy! And carrot cake boxed mixes weird me out too…this version sounds much better, especially with that frosting on top!

  2. This cake is beyond genius in so many different ways!  Starting with a cake mix (and I’m totally with you on the carrot cake mix), the pudding mix, the coconut flavor, the Almond Breeze!  I can’t wait to try it!

  3. I am totally obsessed with the fact that you added coconut to carrot cake!  Why would anyone ever want one when they can have both? 🙂

  4. This cake looks amazing! Love that you made this easy by adding carrots to boxed cake mix. And the addition of coconut sounds divine. 

  5. I love that you used the coconut milk blend to give this cake even more delicious coconut flavor. It sounds wonderful!

  6. I’m all about doctoring up cake mixes! Add some coconut flavor to this carrot cake and just give me a fork because I’m a goner! Hope you had a fun getaway! 

  7. It is totally a law to put cream cheese frosting on a carrot cake!

  8. What at awesome use of the almond coconut milk! I loooove coconut in my carrot cake- and the cream cheese frosting is just a must 🙂

  9. First of all, best weekend in ages with you and Holly! We need a repeat!! 🙂

    Next, can’t believe that this is a doctored up mix! Great thinking! And I love that you know it freezes well because you didn’t have time to frost is before you left!

    I underbaked a scratch carrot cake by 5-10 minutes about a month ago and am still highly ticked off at that cakefail. I love carrot cake SO much! I wanted to make one for pre Easter and should have clearly just done what you did!!

  10. I always have due dates jump out of nowhere and surprise me! Looks delicious!

  11. I have the biggest soft spot for carrot cake and that frosting looks dreamy!

  12. Your cake looks awesome!  I really like the cake mix fix and appreciate the cake has only 1\2 cup oil.   Can’t Wait to try!

  13. Okay, the almond milk is genius! And a great idea since I always have a box of it in my pantry.

  14. I love carrot cake (and cream cheese frosting)!!  

    I always have Almond Breeze (for afternoon lattes) but I actually had NO idea they had a coconut milk blend, I’ll definitely be checking it out!

  15. Boy, do I empathize. I’m on a deadline and I just realized yesterday that I did part of the project all wrong and have to somehow fix it by tomorrow. I hate that feeling!
    The whole coconut in carrot cake thing is pretty brilliant. I can’t wait to give this a shot!

  16. I’m on constant deadlines as a first-year teacher, and it’s so hard to get everything done. I hope that you’re settling back into a routine, Dorothy. Carrot Cake is my ALL TIME FAVORITE DESSERT. I can’t wait to try this recipe. My birthday is coming up next month; maybe I will treat myself to this lovely treat. 

  17. I love how easy this is, that it starts with a cake mix! I bet the addition of coconut is just so good with the carrot cake!!

  18. the crumb on this cake looks amazing – so moist and lush!

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