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What is Coconut Frosting?

Jessica Ellis
Updated May 17, 2024
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Coconut frosting is a type of creamy icing popular in the decoration of cakes, cupcakes, and other confections. Typically snowy white and flecked with bits of shredded or flaked coconut, this icing is usually quite rich in flavor and often very sweet. Coconut frosting can lend any type of icing project a hint of tropical flavor and luxurious taste, but due to allergies and personal preferences, may not always meet with universal approval.

There are hundreds of recipes for coconut frosting, each with an emphasis on different ingredients. For a very basic version, combine 16 ounces (450 grams) of powdered or confectioner’s sugar with four ounces (115 grams) of softened butter. When combined, add milk by the spoonful until the mixture has reached a frosting-like consistency. Vanilla or coconut flavoring can also be added, before tossing in eight ounces (230 grams) of sweetened flake coconut or fresh shredded coconut.

Other recipes for coconut frosting are more exotic, adding rum flavoring, pineapple juice, or enhancing the coconut flavor by adding coconut cream. For a truly rich version, add about 4 ounces (115 grams) of cream cheese and replace milk with heavy cream. This ultra-thick recipe can be whipped to a fluffy consistency and spreads quite easily.

Although traditionally, coconut frosting is a cloud-like confection that is left white, it can also be dyed for a retro or kitschy look. In the 1960s, coconut-frosted cakes were often colored pink or green for a pop of fantastic color. Tiki-themed parties or other retro events may be a great chance to break out the food coloring and offer guests an almost shockingly frosted treat.

A different use for coconut frosting is found in German chocolate cake. In this variation, coconut is melted with butter, sugar, eggs, cornstarch, and pecans. The resulting mixture is cooked for several minutes and turns a toasty, gooey butterscotch color. Coconut frosting for German chocolate cakes is typically spooned onto the top of the cake and sometimes placed between layers, while sides and edges are often frosted with chocolate.

Before deciding to treat someone to a heavenly treat frosted with coconut, be certain to check if the intended recipient has allergies or an aversion to coconut. Many people who suffer from nut allergies also have an associated allergic reaction to coconut, while others simply do not like the creamy and nutty taste. Coconut frosting makes a wonderful contrast to fruit or vegetable-based cakes, such as pineapple cupcakes or carrot cake, as the luscious creamy texture and rich taste can nicely balance the clean, bright flavors.

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Jessica Ellis
By Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis brings a unique perspective to her work as a writer for WiseGEEK. While passionate about drama and film, Jessica enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics, creating content that is both informative and engaging for readers.

Discussion Comments

By Chmander — On Aug 01, 2014

When I have a lot of time on my hands, I normally prefer to make coconut frosting from scratch. Unlike buying it from the store, where it's already premade, making your own coconut frosting gives you a feeling on accomplishment. Though it's not too difficult to make, knowing that you've made it yourself is a nice addition to everything else baked during the Holiday season.

By Hazali — On Aug 01, 2014

In reference to the last paragraph, I like how its mentions those who have coconut allergies. Even though you don't hear it talked about often, it's just as normal as any other kind, such as chocolate or strawberries. However, the problem comes in with those who aren't allergic. Often, they don't take others into consideration, since they've never had the same experience. Overall, it's always good to keep others in mind, especially when it comes to food allergies.

By RoyalSpyder — On Jul 31, 2014

Based on my experience, it seems that there are many people who don't like coconut. However, one of the reasons for this may be because they have it in the form of flavored candy, and not naturally. On top of this, it doesn't taste very good by itself. Due to this, it's always a better idea to use it as a frosting or decoration of sorts. When you do so, it happens to taste a lot better. Carrot cake is another example. Although there are those who don't like carrots, especially on a dinner plate, it's actually a great topping to use on the cake. You can enjoy the dessert for what it is, without having to worry about the carrots or coconut interfering.

Jessica Ellis

Jessica Ellis

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis...
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