Coffee cake is one of the best minimalist desserts of all time. So minimalist, in fact, that it’s totally acceptable for breakfast or even a mid-day snack. But one of the best kinds of coffee cakes you will ever consume is a coconut coffee cake. Still traditional in every sense but enhanced with the subtle flavor and texture of coconut flakes, you’ll never want coffee cake any other way.

Coconut Coffee Cake with Homemade Caramel Sauce

But there’s more– we’ve enhanced this nearly-perfect coconut coffee cake with a dreamy, smooth caramel sauce that makes it that much better. Now we’re officially in the dessert lane and we’re definitely not mad about it.

caramel sauce in saucepan

The caramel sauce comes together so quickly and easily, and once you dip and swirl bites of your delectable cake through it, you’ll wonder why you ever had coffee cake without it.

slice of Coconut Coffee Cake with Homemade Caramel Sauce

This recipe is inspired by The Dodo Restaurant, one of our favorite spots for dessert in Salt Lake City. We tested several versions of this recipe to try and replicate The Dodo’s moist and coconut-y coffee cake with a thick layer of cinnamon sugar in the middle, and of course, their signature homemade caramel sauce, used in this dessert, and several others like their banana cream pie. Onward.


two slices of Coconut Coffee Cake with Homemade Caramel Sauce

Coconut Coffee Cake Ingredients

To make this coconut coffee cake you only need a few key ingredients that you most likely already have at home:

  • all-purpose flour
  • sugar
  • brown sugar
  • cinnamon
  • butter (lots of it!)
  • eggs
  • sour cream
  • vanilla extract
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • kosher salt
  • sweetened coconut flakes
  • heavy cream

two slices of Coconut Coffee Cake with Homemade Caramel Sauce


Coconut Coffee Cake with Caramel Sauce

Brooke Eliason
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 50 mins
Total Time: 1 hr
Difficulty: Easy
This coconut coffee cake has the perfect coconut-y flavor with a thick cinnamon sugar layer and is served with a homemade caramel sauce that you'll want to swan dive into.


Cinnamon Sugar Filling and Topping

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 Tablespoons cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter

Coconut Coffee Cake

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (12 Tablespoons, or 1 1/2 sticks), softened
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups full-fat sour cream
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extra
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes, additional for garnish

Caramel Sauce

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Heavily coat the bottom and sides of the tube pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Cinnamon Sugar Filling and Topping

  • In a large bowl, whisk together all of the cinnamon sugar filling/topping ingredients except for the butter, until all of the ingredients are incorporated well. Set aside 2/3 of the mixture in one bowl (this will be the cinnamon sugar filling layer), and 1/3 in another (for the topping). Combine the 1/3 reserved amount of the cinnamon sugar mixture with the butter. You can do this with a pastry cutter, your hands, or even a food processor, until the mixture is crumbly and the butter pieces are pebble-sized. Set filling and topping aside.

Coconut Coffee Cake

  • In a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla and combine until ingredients are fully incorporated. Add the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt and mix until just combined. Add the coconut and mix until just combined- only a few seconds. Remove bowl from stand mixer and use a spatula to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, making sure all ingredients are incorporated.
  • Spoon 1/2 of the cake batter into the greased tube pan and spread with a spatula until even. Sprinkle the reserved 2/3 of the cinnamon sugar filling on top of the cake batter and smooth with hands or back of a spoon. Spoon the remaining cake batter on top of the filling and carefully spread this second layer of cake batter with a spatula until even. Sprinkle the reserved butter and cinnamon sugar topping evenly on top of the second layer of cake batter.
  • Bake the cake for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake in the tube pan on a cold surface (like a countertop), or on a cooling rack. While the cake is cooling, prepare the caramel sauce.

Caramel Sauce

  • Over medium heat, whisk together all of the caramel sauce ingredients except for the vanilla in a medium-sized saucepan. Cook until thickened and mixture comes to a soft boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.


  • After the cake has cooled, use a butter knife to loosen edges if needed and invert onto a serving plate or cake stand. You can serve the cake with the cinnamon sugar topping on the bottom or the top.
  • Serve cake by ladling about 1/4 cup caramel sauce into a small bowl or rimmed plate and then topping with a slice of the coffee cake. You may also sprinkle coconut flakes on top of the cake for garnish. Enjoy warm.


  • straight-sided tube pan or "angel food pan"


  • This cake serves 8-12 people comfortably. 
  • The cake is best day prepared the day of, but in a pinch you can make it a day ahead and serve the next day with the warm caramel sauce. 

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