American Flag Coconut Cake

4th of july cake topped with red, white and blue shredded coconut in a flag pattern

Make an easy American Flag Cake for 4th of July. Use your favorite flavor of cake for the cake portion, then add cool whip and colored shredded coconut in a flag pattern. 

The basics of the recipe call for a 9×13 inch cake, shredded coconut, red and blue food coloring, and cool whip. Easy, right?

We decided to make a coconut sheet cake (a 9×13 inch cake) to pair with the coconut topping.

If you’re looking for another cake flavor, try..

See, a flavor to suit anyone’s preferences!

There is so such flavor in the cake and sweetness in the coconut topping I decided to keep the frosting on the cake very light and used cool whip. You could also use homemade whipped cream – I love adding a little bit of vanilla paste to mine!

4th of july cake topped with red, white and blue shredded coconut in a flag pattern

American Flag Cake Ingredients

  • all purpose flour: flour is necessary to build structure
  • baking powder: helps to leaven and lift the batter
  • salt: just a pinch to balance the sweetness and enhances the other flavors of the cake
  • unsalted butter: makes the cake tender and helps with leavening 
  • granulated sugar: adds sweetness and flavor
  • eggs: binds the cake together by providing structure 
  • coconut extract: adds flavors
  • cream of coconut: adds moisture and flavor
  • cool whip: used for the topping
  • shredded coconut dyed red and blue

How to Dye Shredded Coconut

You’ll need blue and red food coloring to dye the shredded coconut. I find that it’s easiest to use the more watery type of food coloring instead of the gel food coloring when dying the coconut.

Put the coconut in a ziplock bag, add a few drops of the food coloring, close the bag and shake it until all of the coconut is evenly dyed.

How to Assemble an American Flag Cake

Once the cake is completely cooled, spread the cool whip on top of the cake. Next add the blue colored coconut, making a large square in the upper left hand corner of the cake. I just eyeballed mine.. adding more coconut and making the square larger until it looked proportional. Next are the stripes. Start by adding a red stripe, followed by white, red, white, red, white, and ending with red.

4th of july cake topped with red, white and blue shredded coconut in a flag pattern

How Long Does it Take to Make This 4th of July Cake?

  • 10 minutes to prep the batter
  • 5 minutes to dye the coconut
  • 35 minutes to bake the cake
  • 1 hour, at least, to cool the cake
  • 10 minutes to frost the cake

How to Properly Measure Flour

Use a spoon to spoon the flour into the measuring cup. Then use a butter knife to level off the excess flour. Do not stick the measuring cup into the bag of flour and do not pack the flour into the cup – both will result in an increase in flour, making your baked goods dry.

How to Make Gluten Free American Flag Cake

This recipe turned out great using gluten free flour! We love King Arthur Gluten Free Measure for Measure Flour. Follow the directions as stated, but substitute gluten free flour for all purpose flour. 

4th of july cake topped with red, white and blue shredded coconut in a flag pattern

More 4th of July Desserts

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Easy 4th of July cake recipe - American Flag shredded coconut cake!

American Flag Coconut Cake

Yield: 9x13 inch cake
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes

Make an easy American Flag Cake for 4th of July. Use your favorite flavor of cake for the cake portion, then add cool whip and colored shredded coconut in a flag pattern.

Ingredients

Coconut Cake

  • 1 & 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 & 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 tsp coconut extract flavor
  • 1/3 cup cream of coconut (cream of coconut is sold in the grocery store or you can use the cream the comes on top of a can of coconut milk)

Topping

  • 1 container of cool whip, 8 oz
  • Shredded coconut, about 3 & 1/2 cups
  • Red and blue food coloring

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350º F.
  2. Spray a 9x13 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Gently mix using a spoon.
  4. In a larger mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar, beat using an electric mixer until fluffy. Add in the eggs and coconut extract, lightly beat.
  5. Add in the cream of coconut, mix by hand using a spatula.
  6. Add half of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, do not dump it in, rather take spoonfuls of the flour mixture and gently shake it over the wet ingredients. Fold in the mixture until no flour remains. Repeat with the other half of the flour, folding it in and scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl to incorporate everything.
  7. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Allow the cake to cool completely to room temperature.
  9. Place 1/2 cup coconut in a ziploc bag. Add blue food coloring, zip the bag closed and shake until the coconut is evenly dyed.
  10. Place 1 & 1/2 cups coconut in a ziploc bag. Add red food coloring, zip the bag closed and shake until the coconut is evenly dyed.
  11. Use a spatula to evenly spread the cool whip on top of the cake.
  12. Add the blue coconut to the upper left hand corner of the cake, creating a large square. I just eyeballed mine.. adding more coconut and making the square larger until it looked proportional.
  13. Add the stripes to the cake, alternating between the red and white coconut, beginning and ending with red. Red - white - red - white - red - white - red.
  14. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready. Best served the same day it's assembled.

2 comments

  1. Absolutely gorgeous cake, Beth!! I’m definitely making this for the 4th of July. I would’ve never thought to use coconut as a flag decoration…genius!

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