A thick chocolate run glaze is smoothed over the top of the cake and runs down the sides adding character and more chocolate flavor.

This recipe may sound complicated, but trust me, it’s actually really simple!

This decadent chocolate coconut cake recipe is topped with a creamy coconut marshmallow sauce and finished off with a layer of chocolate frosting. My husband’s absolute favorite cake!

If you’re a chocolate lover, you’ll most definitely enjoy this cake. It’s loaded with different flavors and textures and is a unique addition to any celebration. Looking for more chocolate recipes? Try my brownie pizza and chocolate pudding cake.


There’s so much decadent chocolate inside this cake! The cake layers are thick, dense, light, and super moist.

The filling is a simple pastry cream made with coconut milk instead of regular milk. Coconut extract is added for extra flavor but it’s totally optional.

The cake is covered in my popular coconut buttercream frosting. It’s a lusciously silky texture that glides across the tongue.

This cake is no more complicated than a regular layered cake. The ingredients and instructions may look intimidating but it really isn’t that difficult to prepare.

I started making this chocolate coconut cake years ago when I first learned to cook. I’ve adapted the recipe over time and can confidently say that if you’re a coconut fan, you will love this cake. My husband asks for this cake every year for his birthday, he can’t be swayed by the pretty pictures of other cakes I show him in magazines or on Pinterest. He’s declared this one to be his favorite.


This chocolate coconut cake starts with a single layer of chocolate cake. But no one’s that excited by a plain, unadorned piece of chocolate cake. It’s the coconut sauce that makes this one special.

When you melt marshmallows with a little milk and sugar and add coconut to the mix, something really magical happens. It forms this thick and creamy sauce which then gets spread over the cake. The sauce firms up as it cools, which means it won’t run all over the place when you cut the cake. The final touch is a layer of chocolate frosting that gets poured over the top.


  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup boiling water


  • 1 1/4 cups butter
  • 1 1/4 cups shortening
  • 9–10 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tsp coconut extract
  • 3–4 tbsp water or milk
  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened coconut


  1. Prepare three 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper circles in the bottom, and grease the sides.
  2. Add all dry ingredients for the cake to a large bowl and whisk together.
  3. Add eggs, buttermilk and vegetable oil to the dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Add vanilla to boiling water and add to mixture. Mix well.
  5. Pour into three 8 inch cakes pans and bake at 300 degrees for about 30-33 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.
  6. Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then remove to cooling racks to cool completely.
  7. Make icing while cakes cool. Beat together butter and shortening until smooth.
  8. Slowly add 4 cups of powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
  9. Add coconut extract and 1-2 tbsp water or milk and mix until smooth.
  10. Add another 4-5 cups of powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
  11. Add more water or milk until the right consistency. Set icing aside.
  12. Spread coconut onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake at 325 degrees for 5-10 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool.
  13. Once cakes are cool, remove cake domes from top with a large serrated knife.
  14. Place first layer of cake on cake plate. Spread about 3/4 cup of icing on top in an even layer.
  15. Add second layer of cake and add another 3/4 cup of icing on top in an even layer.
  16. Add final layer of cake on top and ice the outside of the cake.
  17.  Press toasted coconut into the sides of the cake and sprinkle it on top.