Coconut Rum Cake

I love coconut cake. It’s probably my very favorite. I usually only make it once a year for Easter. I made an exception this year. (I’m still making one for Easter.)

I made this for our Brazilian crowd for my MIL’s birthday. (This is the last post about it!)

The Brazilian way to cut a cake is to cut a circle in the center, and wedges from the center out. This is the heart of the cake. (And the best part, I might add. It was even better the next day.)

If you don’t cook with alcohol, just leave it out. Or you can use 2 tsp. or so of rum extract, but leave the amount of the water the same.

You have two options with this cake–you can go the homemade route, or use the shortcut method of doctoring a cake mix. (Either works fine–it’s the only time I really use a cake mix for anything.) For this post, I’m using the easy, cake mix version. (The other recipe makes three 9″ or 8″ layers, so make only a half recipe.)

Coconut Rum Cake (Doctored Cake Mix Version)
original recipe


For cake:

1 white or yellow cake mix (not prepared)
1 stick butter, cut into 8 pieces
Coconut milk to replace the water, reserve excess for icing (1 can should be enough)
3 eggs
2 cups sweetened or unsweetened, shredded coconut, divided (1 cup for the cake, 1 cup for topping)

For syrup:

¼ cup dark rum
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup water

For glaze:
2 tbsp. butter
About 2 cups powdered sugar
Reserved coconut milk


For cake:
Place 1 cup of the coconut in a food processor. Process until finely chopped. Add the cake mix. Pulse. Cut the butter into 8 pieces. Add to the cake mix. Pulse until it looks like cornmeal. Add the coconut milk and eggs. Process until smooth and thick. Bake as directed. (I used one ten inch pan.) Let the cake cool on a wire rack.

For rum syrup:
As the cake is cooling, bring the sugar, rum, and water to a boil.. Let cool slightly. Place the cake on a serving platter and poke holes with a wooden skewer or fork in the top of the cake. Brush or drizzle the rum syrup over the cake and let it sit for about 15-30 minutes.

For glaze:
Prepare the glaze by whisking together the butter, powdered sugar, and coconut milk until it’s runny enough to drizzle.

Toast the remaining 1 cup of coconut in a 350 degree oven until golden brown.

Drizzle the glaze over the cake and sprinkle with toasted coconut. Serve.

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  1. Ah, this is the second coconut cake I’ve seen today. Must be a sign.

    Is the rum flavor strong (I’ll be using extract) do you think or is a lingering background taste? Thx!

    Read your post above, glad to hear that you guys had such a good time. Can’t wait to read about it.

  2. Thanks for this! I made it this weekend :) It didn’t turn out as nice as yours and I made a few tweaks when I redid the glazes today. Looking forward to trying out more of your recipes.

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