three day coconut cake

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This is the moistest, yummiest coconut cake ever! It has to “age” for three days in the refrigerator after you make it, so plan accordingly. You are going to love this 3 Day Coconut Cake, and everyone is going to ask you for the recipe!

1 box white or yellow cake mix + ingredients the mix calls for

2 Tablespoons coconut extract

16 oz. sour cream (not low fat)

14 oz. sweetened coconut flakes

1 cup sugar

2 cups Cool Whip (no substitutes and not “lite”)

The day before you make this cake, mix the coconut, sour cream and sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Mix well, cover and refrigerate over night.

The next day, prepare the boxed cake mix according to instructions on the box for 2 round cake pans (8 or 9 inches). Substitute 2 Tablespoons of the water called for with the coconut extract so it still equals the same amount of liquid.

Cool cake in pans for 10 minutes before turning them out onto wire racks to cool completely. Once the cakes are completely cool, carefully split them in half horizontally, using a serrated knife. Now you should have 4 thinner cake layers.

Take half of the coconut mixture and spread it evenly between the 4 cake layers, stacking as you go. Take the other half of the coconut mixture and mix it with the 2 cups of Cool Whip. Frost cake using this coconut/Cool Whip mixture, totally covering the top and sides of cake.

Cover cake and refrigerate for 3 days. No peeking! This cake is worth the wait!

There you have it! Three Day Coconut Cake!



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  39 comments for “three day coconut cake

  1. August 17, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    Looks and sounds amazing Missy! Have to try your cake <3 Nettie

    • Melissa
      September 6, 2014 at 10:09 am

      Glad you like it, Nettie! Thanks so much for stopping by and for commenting! Enjoy the cake 🙂 xoxo ~M

  2. August 18, 2014 at 10:39 am


    My grandmother taught me how to make a cake similar to this years ago. I usually make it for Easter,. It’s one of our favorites.

    • Melissa
      September 6, 2014 at 10:10 am

      Hi Jackie! 🙂 This is definitely a favorite in our house too! Thanks so much for stopping by! XOXO ~M

  3. Mary
    August 19, 2014 at 8:05 am

    I make this cake but use a seven minute icing with marshmallows on top.

    • Melissa
      September 6, 2014 at 10:10 am

      Ooh! I love that idea too, Mary! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. Carole Dailey
    August 21, 2014 at 10:09 am

    My mother made this cake back in the 70’s, but she called it Four Day Coconut Cake, and trust me, she was strict about the four days!

    • Melissa
      September 6, 2014 at 10:11 am

      Hee hee… yes! You must allow the cake to “age” properly! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Carole! XO ~M

  5. Martha
    September 8, 2014 at 9:36 am

    I do just one thing different…when making the cake mix, I substitute the liquid for coconut milk…and I bake in an oversize large cake pan. While cake is still warm, I prick the top with small straw and pour remaining coconut milk over top, and when completely cooled, place in frig over night, bring it out the next day and frost, then return to frig for another 2 days. The hardest part of making this cake is the waiting, lol.

    • September 19, 2014 at 7:07 pm

      I was wondering about using coconut milk. Thanks for your comment okaying it.

    • Melissa
      September 25, 2014 at 8:36 am

      I agree, Martha! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your version of this yummy cake with us!

      • Nikki
        July 14, 2019 at 12:57 am

        Why do you have to wait, what exactly does it do to the cake?

  6. Barbara Durham
    September 8, 2014 at 11:32 am

    So, I think, that you have to refrigerate it for 3 days BEFORE eating it??? I can;t wait to make and eat it! YUM! BTW, I tried to enter my URL,, and Chin Deep wouldn’t accept it. ???

    • Melissa
      September 25, 2014 at 8:38 am

      It’s necessary to refrigerate the cake for 3 days prior to eating it if you want the wonderful, moist cake that is achieved by letting the cake “age” for 3 days. Best, ~M

  7. Carrie
    September 9, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    My Nannie used to make this but called it Rotten Coconut Cake…… and yes it is so worth the wait! Thanks for the trip down memory lane, she has been gone now for three years and this just gave me a rush of wonderful memories!

    • Melissa
      September 25, 2014 at 8:39 am

      LOL! I love the name “Rotten Coconut Cake,” Carrie! Thanks for sharing that. Enjoy the cake and the happy memories of your Nannie. XO ~M

  8. Gaye
    September 9, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    Melissa, have you ever made this in a 9×13 pan? If so how long would you cook it, the time it has on the cake mix box? Are just use the two layers.

    • Melissa
      September 25, 2014 at 8:40 am

      Hi Gaye,
      I’ve never tried making this in a 9 x 13 cake pan. I’m sure it would work just fine, you’ll have to figure out how to cut the cake in layers though. There are 4. 🙂 enjoy!

  9. sharon
    September 10, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    Hi. I was also wondering if you can do this cake in a 9×13 cake pan. Also after everything is done then you wait for 3 more days to eat it ?

    • Melissa
      September 25, 2014 at 8:42 am

      Hi Sharon,
      As I said above, I’ve never tried making this is a 9 x 13 cake pan. I’m sure you could, you’d just have to figure out how to cut the cake into 4 layers. Yes, you wait 3 days, after everything is done, to eat the cake. 🙂 Enjoy!

  10. September 10, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    Looks where can I find coconut extract?

    • Melissa
      September 25, 2014 at 8:43 am

      Thanks, Leslie! 🙂
      You can usually find coconut extracts by the other extracts down the baking aisle of you local grocery store or supermarket 🙂 Hope that helps! Enjoy!

      • Ann Shirley
        April 19, 2016 at 12:37 pm

        Can you use imitation coconut
        Flavor or will it taste different?
        Thanks, Ann

        • Ann Shirley
          April 19, 2016 at 8:47 pm

          Wow! Major mess up.
          I did not read the reciepe
          Correctly and I mixed altogether the sugar-sour cream-coconut & the cool whip 16oz less 1 cup.
          Q. Should I throw it out and start over? ????

  11. Brenda
    September 11, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    Do you have to use Cool Whip or can you make real whipped cream? thank you 🙂

    • Melissa
      September 25, 2014 at 8:44 am

      I’ve only ever made this with Cool Whip, Brenda. 🙂

    • Trudy
      August 31, 2019 at 11:21 pm

      The white whipped stuff needs to hold up for three days. Suspect Cool Whip does better that whipped cream. Maybe if you stabilized the whipped cream with gelatin?

  12. Lily
    September 12, 2014 at 5:39 am

    My favorite thing about this cake is that it can be made ahead of time. I always appreciate make-ahead recipes that help ease holiday cooking madness. Looking forward to trying this one – it sounds delicious!

    • Melissa
      September 25, 2014 at 8:44 am

      I hope you love it as much as we do, Lily! 🙂 thanks so much for stopping by!

  13. Jerrel
    September 14, 2014 at 3:22 am

    You can use home made whipped cream. My mom use to make this , but we call it an Impatient Cake.

    • Melissa
      September 25, 2014 at 8:45 am

      Thanks, Jerrel! 🙂

  14. sherry
    December 8, 2014 at 7:39 am

    Silly question, Do you cover loosely with foil?

  15. Dorothy Davis
    December 20, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    can you add the crushed pineapple when mixing coconut sour cream and sugar or should I add the crushed pineapple after I spread the coconut mixture

  16. Alma Reaf
    January 3, 2016 at 12:08 am

    My body does not tolerate sour cream not cream cheese…even though I like them.
    What would you recommend in place of the sour cream….pudding?

    • Melissa
      January 3, 2016 at 12:41 pm

      I’m not sure what would make a good substitute… I’ve only ever made this cake the same way. Sorry about that. Please let me know if you have success with any new renditions you try to make to the recipe so I can pass the wisdom on to my other readers. ~M

  17. Ann Shirley
    April 15, 2016 at 8:19 am

    How long will the cake be safe to eat once you’ve finished the 3 day wait?

    • Melissa
      April 15, 2016 at 12:41 pm

      up to a week. 🙂

      • Ann Shirley
        April 17, 2016 at 2:39 pm

        Thank you for your answer!

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