Coconut Drippy Cake

Take my mother-in-law, please. I kid! I am very lucky to have a terrific, fun and lovely mother-in-law; she has been back visiting from a stint in the Deep Dirty South. She recently recounted some of her adventures in the heart of Dixie over many cups of strong coffee and coconut drippy cake.

What is  coconut drippy cake, you ask? Well, it’s not nearly as gross as it sounds. In fact, it’s wonderful stuff. It’s not drippy or syrupy, as I had imagined. It’s light and sweet and lovely. I tried to come up with a new name for it, but as it turns out “completely saturated cake,” “mushy cake,” and “sweet mellow goop” are all far worse than the original. Coconut drippy cake, it is.

It’s a thing, a typical dessert down in the woods of Georgia, along with frequent black bear sightings, aquamarine pedicures and big Aqua Net hair. I had to go and tweak the traditional recipe a bit, because I wanted to make my cake from scratch, as well as replace the traditional Cool Whip topping with my own whipped cream to coat the top as frosting. We have also diverted from the original recipe and replaced the too-sweet coconut cream with unsweetened Thai coconut milk, because there are so many other sweetened parts to this cake.

Don’t want to scratch-bake a cake? Feel free to buy a boxed mix and just jazz it up from there. (I’m a big fan of jazzing stuff up.) But this is how we do a Southern classic up North in Maine. Thanks for the great recipe, Pen!


Coconut Drippy Cake



For the Yellow Cake:

  • 4 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups buttermilk

For the topping:

  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Generous handful shredded coconut


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a deep rectangular cake pan.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined. Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is just incorporated.
  3. Spread batter evenly in cake pan, then tap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles. Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes.
  4. Use a fork to puncture all over the surface of the cake. Combine condensed milk and coconut milk and pour over cake. Let the cake cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Using the whisk attachment on a stand mixer, gently whip up cream, sugar and vanilla. Spread over cake in a wonderful heap then cover with a generous sprinkling of shredded coconut.


Adapted from a recipe by Smitten Kitchen.


  • Serving Size: Serves 8-10
Jillian Bedell

Jillian Bedell is a writer and mother living in a farmhouse in Cushing, Maine. She is very good at talking about herself in the third person. She is co-author of Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road.


  1. Condensed milk – you mean the really sweet stuff (Eagle Brand?). I think I might make this for my mom’s birthday this weekend. Sounds fabulous!

  2. Thank you, thank you for not requiring us to use Cool Whip because there is no such thing in Australia. I lived in Georgia and Tennessee after leaving Maine but I never had a coconut drippy cake. I must have it!

  3. Would love to try a cake like this from scratch – all the Cool Whip in other similar recipes leaves me, um…cold! But like others who wrote in – please tell us the can sizes for the two milks and type of coconut. This looks outstanding!
    From a Coconut Fan

  4. Cake turned out pretty bad.. it was dense and had not much of coconut flavour…was really disappointed with it. please give an accurate amount of coconut milk and condense milk that should be used as well. will not try this again.

  5. The cake turned out great, but after a day or so the cake was extremely dry and crumbly. I’m going to give this recipe another shot, except this time around I’m going to add all the components together (cake, topping, whipped cream) when I’m ready to eat it.

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. I use a white cake mix and it is delicious, the regular size can of coconut milk and sweet milk. I find that it is almost enough for two cakes, I make it in s 13X9 dish. Any kind of coconut is ok tho I use fine unsweetened.

  7. I live in the south – Georgia to be exact & I have made this cake for years. Family & friends love it but down here we call it “PINA COLADA CAKE”. I still use cream of coconut cos my family likes it that way & while my cake is baking I drain a can of crushed pineapple & mix into my Cool Whip – place in fridge to chill really good before icing & then top with coconut. Thanks for all your delicious recipes.

  8. i’ve made this for years, a family favorite. When I make my whipped cream, I save 1/4 of cream of coconut, and add it to the whipped cream. I use Ducan Hines cake mix, instead. White, or coconut if you can find it.
    It’s never dry!

    1. I saw your comment about including some of the sweet milk with the heavy whipping cream. I usually use 2 cups of whipping cream, so do I not include the sugar and use 1/4 of the mixture to equal 2 cups of whipping cream.
      thanks, Sandi

  9. After removing from oven, poking with holes and pouring combined milk over the cake am I putting the cake in the fridge hot to cool? Looks delicious by the way. Can I eat it now and cook it later. 😉

  10. Just made this for my sisters birthday. IT CAME OUT SO GOOD! and its SO easy to make. Everyone wants me to make this cake again

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