Vanilla – Hint of Coconut – Birthday Cake

This cake is called Vanilla with a Hint of Coconut Birthday Cake because it has become our go-to white birthday cake. It also has a hint of coconut from the coconut oil.

I love using coconut oil. I love a slight hint of coconut. It tastes like summer (well possibly sunscreen but that isn’t very appetizing). It sharpens the sweetness. I also have a strong dislike of actual coconut. So this is perfect.

It holds up well.

What does that mean? That means that I can make it, let it sit, assemble it, let it sit some more, and its still good.

It is sturdy.

It can survive multiple car rides, being carried by kids, re-plated . . . without falling to pieces.

Some cakes call for buttermilk. I am not a fan of buttermilk, probably because we never have it on hand. I tend to gravitate toward using sour cream. Or subbing a mix of sour cream and milk for buttermilk, which I am pretty sure that is how this recipe came to be.

It dyes well. Want a purple cake, make it purple. Want it pink, well, dye it pink.

This version of this cake makes two nine inch cakes well. I have doubled the recipe in the past, which is scary, to make three nine inch cakes, plus one and half dozen cupcakes, but it is perfect for a party.

Recently I made this cake and wrapped the pans. I used old towels and bobby pins to hold them in place. I highly recommend giving it a try.

Vanilla Hint of Coconut Birthday Cake

  • Yield: two nine inch cakes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 29-32 minutes, when wrapped


  • 1 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups cake flour (alt: to make cake flour, take one cup all purpose remove 2 tablespoons of flour and sub cornstarch, sift well)
  • 2 teaspoons baking power
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 and 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 8 tablespoons of coconut oil, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 5 large eggs
  • 12 ounces sour cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prep pans: use non-stick spray or grease with butter and dust with flour. Wrap pans or use cake strips.

  2. Combine flours, baking power, baking soda, salt and sugar. Mix for about thirty seconds.

  3. Add butter and coconut oil, mix until crumbly.

  4. Seperately combine eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Add wet mixture to crumble mixture, and continue to mix until completely incorporated.

  5. Divide cake batter between pans. Bake for 29-32 minutes, checking for doneness. Remove from oven to cool. After cooling about half an hour, remove from cake pans to cool entirely.

  6. Ice or frost with your favorite icing.


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