Gateau D Helene Recipe: The Best Coconut Cake

Gateau D Helene Recipe is a famous French yet American-style cake. It is made from a mixture of sugar and eggs, with the addition of cream or coconut. The cake is light, fluffy, and sweet, with a texture that can be easily scooped.

The original French Gateau D Helene is slightly different from the American-style cake but is similar in many aspects.

It is a flavored cake made with different ingredients such as vanilla extract and cream of coconut, usually enjoyed between summer and winter.

Gateau D Helene Recipe

Prepare Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Yield: 10 servings

Recipe Ingredient


  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pans
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup/200 grams granulated sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange (save the juice for the filling)
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 ounces sweetened shredded coconut


  • ¼ cup/60 milliliters orange juice
  • ½ cup/160 grams apricot preserves
  • 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup/66 grams granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cups/128 grams unsweetened shredded coconut
Gateau D Helene Recipe
Gateau D Helene Recipe


1. For The Cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease two 8 by 2-inch round baking pans and line them with parchment paper or have a piece ready. Dust the pans with flour, tap out the excess, and set aside.

Prepare 2 muffin pans by greasing them and lining them with paper. This can be done ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator until ready to use. Place another pan on top of the muffin cups so that it is level with them (the tops will be level). This is so that air can circulate as much as possible without having to wipe off excess oil from each cup as you fill them later on.

Mix 3/4 pound (3 sticks) butter and flour in a bowl. Sift the baking powder, salt, sugar, and zest and stir in with a fork until well mixed. Stir in the eggs until smooth. On low speed, add half of the dry mixture and half of the milk to a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment at low speed while stirring. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing.

When all dry mixture has been added and mixed in, turn up speed to medium-low while stirring on high speed for 10 minutes. The batter will be sticky but should hold together if you touch it lightly with your fingers or mix it some more vigorously.

Transfer the batter to a medium bowl. Stir in the coconut and orange zest and mix until incorporated. Scoop into the prepared pans (or muffin cups if using) about two-thirds full, pressing down firmly and evenly on top.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes before turning them out onto a rack to cool completely.

2. For The Filling:

While the cake is cooling, prepare the filling: In a medium saucepan, whisk together orange juice and apricot preserves until smooth. Cook over medium heat, constantly stirring, until the mixture begins to bubble around the edges and thickens slightly (about 3 minutes).

Immediately remove from heat and whisk in cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth. Let cool to room temperature before using. (The filling will thicken during this time.)

3. For The Frosting:

In a bowl using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter on low speed until well combined. Add sugar and coconut and continue to beat until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing.

To use, pipe a long line of frosting onto the cake with an icing bag/disposable pastry bag or simply spread evenly with your fingers or the back of a spoon over the top of each cake; then follow with shredded coconut (roughly 2 tablespoons).

4. For The Assembly:

Place one layer (the bottom layer) on a serving plate. Spread about a third of the filling evenly over the top and sides. Place the second layer on top. Spread remaining filling evenly over the top and sides, covering as much of it as possible.

Leave one corner untouched so that it can appear in the finished product with a mounded effect.

Garnish with reserved orange peel if you wish and serve immediately or cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours to allow filling to set further before serving.

5. For Serving:

Spread lightly with whipped cream, such as Cool Whip or Cool Creme (if using), or simply serve as is, at room temperature.

6. For Storage:

Unbaked Gateau D Helene (Coconut Cake) can be stored at room temperature in the cake pans (without the second pan on top). To store, cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.

7. For Reheating:

To reheat, follow the directions above, but only up to 180 degrees F or until warm and still soft in consistency.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving

Calories: 570
Carbohydrates: 40 g
Cholesterol: 165 mg
Fat: 35 g
Fiber: 2 g
Protein: 6 g

How Should I Serve Gateau D Helene (Coconut Cake)?

Serve Gateau D Helene (Coconut Cake) at room temperature or slightly chilled. This traditional French coconut cake is often served at a wedding for the bride’s family. It is also traditionally served during the Christmas holidays.

Serve Gateau D Helene (Coconut Cake) with fresh fruit or vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, and fresh berries.

Are Gateau D Helene (Coconut Cake) Good For You?

The antioxidant nut and coconut oil in Gateau D Helene (Coconut Cake) are the healthiest for you.

Have you ever wondered why people say a bite of cake is better than a sermon? The reason is that the amount of sugar found in a bite of cake is negligible compared to the overall sugar content in Gateau D Helene (Coconut Cake).

Eating small quantities of sugar-laden sweets, such as cakes, doesn’t necessarily make you gain weight or put you on a dangerous road to obesity. However, eating too many sweets can lead to weight gain because all foods contain calories that add up over time.

A savvy Gateau D Helene (Coconut Cake) baker may already know that the cake ingredients are healthy, but a non-baker may be surprised to find just how healthy it is. The dessert can complement any healthy breakfast plan with fresh fruit or yogurt.

The Bottom Line

Take a bite of this satisfying Gateau D Helene (Coconut Cake) to enjoy the flavor of nutty coconut cake. The texture is light, moist, and creamy.

The orange-flavored frosting contrasts the soft and moist cake, while the shredded coconut adds flavoring and texture. It is a heavenly dessert for anyone who likes coconut or those who are a little adventurous.

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Hello! I'm Naznin Aktar, the food enthusiast and recipe curator at Naznin's Kitchen. Want to turn everyday ingredients into extraordinary dishes? Explore Naznin's Kitchen for a collection of recipes that are sure to inspire your inner chef and delight your loved ones.
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