Recipe: Glazed Orange Coconut Cake

There are times when I want to be fancy, but not fussy. When I want a pretty cake, but I don’t want to decorate it with elaborate roses.

When I’d rather be swimming in the sea instead of doing my taxes.


These are the days when I want (need!) a little slice of heaven to serve along side my afternoon cup of tea.

I never thought I’d find my answer in Micronesia. But I did.

This orange infused cake comes all the way to us from a little Micronesian island called Kosrae and a local named Katrina. Her version is called a “Juicy Orange Cake” which pretty much sums up the incredible flavor. When Katrina emailed to say that citrus is fantastic on the islands, I knew I had to adapt her recipe.

Even without a photo I knew it’d be epic.

I changed a few things – most notably knocking down the sugar a bit in the cake so I could coat it with an irresistible orange glaze (which would serve as tacking for a generous sprinkling of toasted coconut flakes). I also removed the milk/vinegar combo in favor of more coconut milk, as (I’m told) milk products are not very common on the islands.

I do feel that a warning is in order.

See this ocean roaring at you with craziness?

Roaring surf seen through a beautiful natural stone arch on the coast of Guam. Mariana Islands, Guam. Photo by David Burdick.

That’s what is going to happen when you bite into this cake.

Crazy, roaring flavor. Juicy.

Makes 1 bundt cake


Dry ingredients:

2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup finely shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon baking soda

Wet ingredients:

1 cup canned coconut milk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup fresh orange juice (from about 4-5 oranges)
1 Tbsp freshly grated orange zest

Orange glaze:

2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup fresh orange juice (about 1 orange)

Garnish with orange glaze and a handful of toasted coconut chips


Find a dreamy spot to bake your cake.

One that makes you happy.

Travel back in time, if you’d like.

Waves breaking on the coral reef, Nauru. Photo taken in 1913.

Next, preheat the oven to 350F.

Stir together the dry ingredients as you listen to the crashing waves…

Then juice the oranges and mix together the wet ingredients.

Combine everything together, mix until smooth, and pour into a greased or oiled bundt pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool complete before removing from pan.

Meanwhile, whisk together the glaze. If there are little lumps, let it rest for thirty minutes and they should dissolve. You can toast the coconut flakes while you wait… they just need a minute or so in a dry, hot skillet.

Pour the orange glaze over the completely cooled bundt cake (otherwise the icing will melt into the cake). 

Slice and serve with a good cup of tea.

Beware. This one goes straight to the brain and activates the silly button.

And it just might take you back in time a few decades…

Or more…

Nan Madol ruins in Pohnpei. Photo by CT Snow.

Enjoy with love in your heart and light in your eyes.

And a cup of good tea.

Opt In Image
Hungry for more?
Be notified when National Geographic releases my memoir.

Simply fill in your details below.


  1. Loved the cake, all photos, and the plate is perfect to show it off

    (now, doing taxes is really a nightmare, isn t it.)

  2. Love this cake! Gorgeous!

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Thank you Maria :) I love the simple beauty – nothing fussy about it and no need for special decorating skills. Perfect for a potluck or garden party.

  3. Since this cake looks like something Americans will love, it seems appropriate that Yap has the farthest west U.S. zip code. 96943. So if someone on Yap or Kosrae bakes you a cake they can mail it to you in Tulsa for the same price someone in Coweta Oklahoma would pay to mail you a similar cake.

    Also Yap has traditional money that has the same shape as this cake… except that they are huge stone rings weighing as much as 4 tons. Used for major transactions only, they don’t expect you to haul one into town each time you go to the grocery store.

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Ohhh that’s right! I should have put some pictures of that “money” in this post – it would have been perfect :) Very cool.

  4. Cake Brain …funny …who thought of that one?

  5. I made this yesterday, and I love the whole “everything orange” feel to it. I considered using bottled juice as a time-saver, but decided to squeeze, after all, and I’m glad I did. This is a lovely little cake with a very breakfast-y feel to it. I gave half to my next door neighbor, who has a little daughter, and they were delighted, especially the little girl, who loved the knock-knock joke that came with it!

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Thanks for reporting back – sounds like a total success :) I also love that you shared it with your neighbor and daughter, joke and all! How fun…

  6. Gayle Craun says:

    Regarding the Glazed Orange Coconut Cake and coconut milk. Do you use canned coconut milk or the dairy substitute coconut milk in the carton? I look forward to making this cake but want to get it right the first time. Thank you.

  7. FAB CAKE!! Took it to a gathering last night…soooooo many oooooos and ahhhhhhs. Thank you for sharing!

  8. Hi Sasha I have a few questions about the orange cake.1)you say let cool completely before removing from pan-is there a reason -usually you only let cakes cool 15-20 min in the pan otherwise they will stick to the pan. 2)Can I used orange juice (not from concentrate) instead of squeezing oranges. 3) can I use sweetened coconut like Bakers instead of unsweetened (dont see unsweetened anywhere. 4)what are coconut chips-is that the same as toasted coconut? Thank you so much.

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Hi Leah, I find bundt cakes are safer to unmold once they cool completely… but that could be my mediocre job greasing the bundt pan :) … Yes, you sure can use OJ… I’m making this tonight for a back to school party and that’s exactly what I did… juice with pulp is recommended, but not required … as for the coconut, I’ve not tried it with sweetened, but it’s probably fine. I got the unsweetened on the baking aisle. Sweetened might make the cake a little too sweet, is all (but is that really a bad thing??… hmm :) ), coconut chips are just big flakes of coconut… you can use regular shredded coconut on top for decoration just as well.

      • I have been stuck using the sweetened shredded coconut for this cake and I just cut 1/2 cup of the sugar out of the recipe. It worked fine. As you can infer, I’ve made this a number of times! :-)

  9. I saw this recipe in a flyer that we get for free each week. The cake looked so yummy, I was dying to make it! I made it and both times it turned out kind of damp and sort of mushy near the center. I then found your web site and I read the comments regarding the cake. I see my error may have been that I did not use canned Coconut Milk. I’m on a mission to make it right this time! I’m going to try again tomorrow.

  10. Hi Sasha!
    A lady brought this cake to an All Day Singing and Dinner on the Grounds at the little church in the small community where I live. (89th consecutive year for this gathering – people come from everywhere!). The cake was DIVINE! ;-) I asked her for the recipe and she said it was from a magazine – she mailed me a copy the next day. It was on a “cooking with kids” page and the bottom tag is “celebrating America’s love of food” so not sure which magazine. I did a quick search and found your blog here and am thrilled to be able to share the recipe with all my Pinterest, FB and pen/paper recipe friends!

    This cake was so moist and gooey and exactly sweet enough – I just couldn’t stop talking about it! I’m making it this weekend and I might even have the chance to get a second piece this time – LOL. BTW – I live in NW Mississippi and the lady who shared the recipe lives in Arkansas – but this recipe, through my friends, will go all the way around the world again :-)

    Thanks for sharing the recipe and your lovely stories and pictures – especially those of your most darling creation, Miss Cake Brain :-)

  11. Judy Bringman says:

    This cake is in the oven as I write this and so far 40 min. is not enough time for it to bake as the toothpick is not coming out clean when I test the cake. Going for 45 min. Has anyone noticed this? Or is it because I live at sea level in Georgia? The recipe sounds delicious and I am sooo happy to hear good reviews. Can’t wait to taste it!! Thanks for the recipe.

Speak Your Mind