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Coconut Cake Roll

This coconut cake roll makes a great centerpiece at a party.  It is filled and covered with a creamy, vanilla cream cheese frosting and sprinkled with sweetened shredded coconut. The cake is light, spongy, and full of flavor. It is a great way to end any meal or make a special occasion more memorable.

This coconut Swiss roll is perfect for any occasion, and it is easy to make. There’s something special about the combination of light and fluffy vanilla sponge cake with creamy coconut filling. It’s a delightful way to end any meal or just as an afternoon snack.

You can get creative with the decorations and flavors by topping it with strawberries, chocolate curls, toasted nuts, or crushed candy canes.

overhead photo of a coconut cake roll with strawberries on top
Coconut Cake Roll

❤️ Here is Why This Recipe Works

  • The combination of light and spongy cake, creamy vanilla cream cheese frosting, and sweetened shredded coconut makes for a delicious flavor and texture. 
  • The lightness of the cake also ensures that it doesn’t overpower the frosting or coconut, so all three elements come together to create a truly delightful dessert. 
  • Additionally, its rolled shape makes it an impressive centerpiece for any party table.
  • The cake roll is easy to make and will impress your guests.

🗒  The Ingredients

Here is a list of the ingredients you will need for this recipe. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for all the details. 

  • Eggs, room temperature
  • Sugar
  • Coconut extract
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Salt
  • Powdered sugar 
  • Cream cheese
  • Heavy cream
  • Shredded coconut
A cake roll on a platter with two slices of cake next to the platter

👨‍🍳 How to Make It

Here is a brief overview to get an idea of what to expect with the recipe. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for all the details.

  1. Beat the eggs, then gradually add sugar and coconut extract. Stir in the water, then fold in the dry ingredients. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and bake.
  2. Dust the top of the cake with confectioner’s sugar and place a kitchen towel over the top. Place a baking sheet or plastic cutting board over the towel and invert the cake.
  3. Gently peel off the parchment paper and roll the cake in the towel jelly-roll style. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  4. Make the filling and frosting while the cake cools.
  5. Unroll the cake and spread it with a thick layer of frosting. Sprinkle with shredded coconut then roll it up again.
  6. Spread the remaining frosting on the outside of the cake roll and sprinkle the remaining coconut on the roll. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
process photos showing how to make a coconut cake roll
How to roll the cake

The secret to a no-crack cake roll:

The cake itself was a recipe that I adapted from Taste of Home  and it does not have butter or any other fat in it.  The light, no-fat sponge cake is the secret to making a crack-free, easy-roll cake roll.  

The filling/frosting is an adaptation of the frosting I used in my Lemon Cream Icebox Cake.  

A slice of Coconut Cake Roll and a cup of coffee
close up photo of a Coconut Cake Roll showing the swirl of cake and frosting

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Coconut Cake Roll

Coconut Cake Roll

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

A recipe for a coconut cake roll that is light and not too sweet. It has a filling and frosting of a creamy mixture and covered with shredded coconut. This is an easy recipe that doesn't crack when rolling. A dessert that will put smiles on the faces of your guests!


For the Cake

  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on the cake before rolling in a towel)

For the filling/frosting:

  • 2 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1-1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2-1/2 cups shredded coconut

To roll the cake

  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup powdered sugar


For the Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 375°
  2. Line a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan with parchment paper. Spray the paper with non-stick spray; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat eggs for 3 minutes. Gradually add sugar and coconut extract; beat for 2 minutes or until mixture becomes thick and lemon-colored. Stir in water. Combine dry ingredients; fold into egg mixture. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.
  4. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 12-14 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Remove from the oven and loosen the outer edges with a knife.
  5. Dust the top of the cake with confectioner's sugar and place a kitchen towel over the sugar. Place a baking sheet or plastic cutting board over the towel and flip the cake over so the bottom of the cake is on top.
  6. Gently peel off the parchment paper and roll the cake in the towel jelly-roll style, starting with a short side. Cool completely on a wire rack.

For the filling/frosting:

  1. In a stand mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment, add the softened cream cheese, sugar, salt and coconut extract. Whisk together just briefly until smooth and there are no visible lumps. Stop the motor and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. With the mixing speed on low, add the heavy cream and slowly raise the speed and beat until the mixture is thick and creamy and has formed firm peaks.

To assemble the cake roll:

  1. Unroll cake; spread a thick layer of frosting evenly over cake to within 1 in. of edges. Sprinkle with 1 cup of shredded coconut. Roll up again and spread the remaining frosting on the outside of the cake roll and sprinkle the remaining coconut on the roll. Place seam side down on a serving platter. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 10-12 servings.


  1.  Measure your pan, this recipe calls for a 15 x 10 inch jelly roll pan. A larger pan will create a much thinner cake which will crack when you roll it up.
  2. * The sides of the jelly roll pan should be at least 3/4 of an inch high.
  3. * Whole eggs will whip up with much more volume if they are brought to room temperature before you whip them. You can bring them to room temperature quickly by placing them in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes before you crack them open.
  4. ** Before rolling the cake up into the towel, put a generous sprinkling of powdered sugar on the cake. This will prevent the cake from sticking to the towel.
  5. *Do not use reduced fat cream cheese for the frosting as it will not get thick enough or come to firm peaks when whipped with the cream.
  6. * Make sure your cream cheese is at room temperature before you start whipping it. Room temperature cream cheese will whip up smooth and creamy while cold cream cheese will leave lumps and chunks in your frosting.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 402Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 185mgCarbohydrates: 47gSugar: 37gProtein: 6g

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Saturday 4th of February 2023

I am fond of jelly rolls and used to make them alot in the past. I'm from the Caribbean and lately, I've had a coconut guava roll in my mind. So...I tweaked your recipe a bit. I didn't have coconut extract so I used coconut milk wherever water and the extract was required. I also added a couple of tablespoons of coconut starch to the flour to make it lighter. To the filling, I added a can of drained and pureed guava shells in sweet syrup. No issues whatsoever with this great recipe. I wish I could include a picture. It came out really, really good.

Dahn Boquist

Saturday 4th of February 2023

Guava and coconut sound fantastic. I'm so glad it turned out. Thanks for the comment.


Sunday 11th of December 2022

Hi do you use unsweetened or sweetened coconut? Thx!

Pat Nyswonger

Monday 12th of December 2022

Hi, Kelly...thank you for this question....I used the sweetened coconut in this recipe but either sweetened or unsweetened may be used.


Saturday 19th of November 2022

I made this last year and will be making it again because it was a hit with my daughter in law and family

Dahn Boquist

Saturday 19th of November 2022

Thanks for the comment, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Janet Cook

Tuesday 15th of March 2022

Hello! Thanks for this submission! I’m in the midst of preparing the us dessert and was considering adding sliced strawberries before rolling it back together. Do you think it would cause too much moisture within the roll?

Dahn Boquist

Tuesday 15th of March 2022

Fresh strawberries will last for about 2 days inside the cake roll. After that, they start to break down and seep out juices.

Mary Anderson

Monday 20th of December 2021

You indicated the cake can be that with or without filling and frosting? I've baked the cake, but should I fill and frost it the day I need it (3 days from now).

Pat Nyswonger

Monday 20th of December 2021

Hi, Mary...You can freeze the rolled cake, then when ready to serve thaw (not in the microwave) and fill and finish it. I have also served the cake roll, wrapped and froze the leftover portion and it was just as good after thawing. Thanks for your question and Merry Christmas to you.

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