Make the best Samoa cake inspired by the famous Girl Scout Cookies! This recipe combines moist chocolate cake with caramel cream cheese and toasted coconut filling, frosted with fudgy chocolate buttercream.

Can’t get enough of that Samoa cookie flavor combination? Try my no-bake Samoa cheesecake and this Samoa icebox cake, too.

A slice of Samoa cake on a white plate.

Sweet and Salty Homemade Samoa Cookie Cake

This showstopping Samoa cake is rich and chocolatey, smothered with coconut and caramel, and seriously to die for.

It’s made up of moist chocolate cake layers filled with dreamy caramel coconut cream cheese, frosted with decadent chocolate buttercream, and drizzled with more chocolate and caramel. The sweet-salty flavors are everything you love about the iconic Samoa Girl Scout cookies (my personal fave, next to Tagalongs and Thin Mints). Now, you can get your Girl Scout Cookie fix year-round!

Why You’ll Love Samoa Cake

  • Classic Samoa cookie flavors. This recipe combines my homemade chocolate cake with Samoa-inspired flavors of caramel, coconut, and more chocolate. It’s the best caramel coconut chocolate cake you’ll ever sink your forks into.
  • Caramel cream cheese filling. The decadence is unreal. Sweet-salty cream cheese mixed with rich caramel and toasty shredded coconut makes the perfect filling for this Samoa cake.
  • All from scratch. This cake recipe takes a bit of prep, but making it from scratch is 100% worth the extra effort. You’ll be surprised at how easily it comes together.
Overhead view of assorted Samoa cookies, some partially broken, on a white countertop.

What Are Samoa Cookies?

If you’ve never experienced Girl Scout Cookie season where you are, you might be thinking, what the heck is a Samoa cookie? Every year, the Girl Scouts of America sell cookies to fundraise, and Samoas are one of the many flavors on offer. They’re crispy cookies with caramel, coconut, and chocolatey stripes . Seriously addictive. If you’re unable to get your hands on the Girl Scout Samoa cookies, I’ve found that the Keebler Coconut Dream cookie is a great supermarket dupe!

Ingredient Notes

Below are some notes on the important ingredients you’ll need for the cake, filling, and toppings. Scroll to the recipe card for a printable ingredients list.

For the Chocolate Cake

  • Oil – Like most of my homemade cake recipes, I make this Samoa cookie cake with oil in place of butter. The result is an extra moist, tender cake crumb. You’ll want to use vegetable oil or canola oil.
  • Sour Cream – Also at room temperature. Full-fat sour cream is another key ingredient for a super-moist chocolate cake. If you don’t have sour cream, use plain yogurt or Greek yogurt instead.
  • Cocoa Powder – Sifted with the flour to remove any lumps. I use Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder, but any unsweetened natural cocoa powder works.
  • Brewed Coffee – Hot brewed coffee helps to “bloom” the cocoa powder and enhances the chocolatey flavors in chocolate cake recipes (don’t worry, your cake won’t taste like coffee!). I like to use freshly brewed instant espresso. Warm milk is a good substitute if you’re avoiding caffeine.

For Filling and Decorating

  • Cream Cheese – Full-fat cream cheese (the kind that comes in blocks) for the caramel cream cheese filling. Bring the cream cheese to room temperature beforehand.
  • Caramel Sauce – You can use your favorite store-bought caramel sauce or homemade caramel sauce.
  • Coconut – You can use sweetened or unsweetened shredded toasted coconut. I include instructions on how to toast coconut below and in the recipe card.
  • Chocolate Frosting – I include the recipe for my favorite chocolate buttercream. It’s easy to make with simple ingredients, like butter, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder.
  • Toppings – Additional toasted coconut, caramel sauce, and homemade chocolate ganache. They really play up the Samoa cookie flavors in this cake.
  • Samoa Cookies – I love adding a “skirt” of broken cookies around the base of this cake.
Side view of a frosted Samoa cake decorated with swirls of chocolate buttercream, topped with toasted coconut, with a skirt of Samoa cookies broken in half on a cake stand with a wooden base.

How to Make a Samoa Cake

There are a few steps involved in making this Samoa cake from scratch, beginning with an easy chocolate cake batter. Below is a step-by-step overview of the recipe from start to finish. Scroll down to the recipe card for printable instructions.

  • Make the cake batter. First, mix together the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla, followed by the sour cream. Next, sift the dry ingredients separately. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet batter, alternating with brewed coffee until combined.
  • Bake the cakes. Divide the batter between two greased and floured 8” cake pans lined with parchment paper. Bake the cakes at 350ºF for 28-32 minutes. Afterward, let the cakes cool completely.
  • Toast the coconut. Meanwhile, spread out shredded coconut on a lined baking sheet. Toast the coconut in a 350ºF oven for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once it’s light brown in color, immediately transfer the coconut to a plate to cool off.
  • Make the filling. To make the cake filling, beat sugar and cream cheese together, then add caramel sauce and vanilla. Lastly, beat in your cooled toasted coconut.
  • Make the frosting. Beat cubed butter in the bowl of your stand mixer until it’s light and fluffy. This should take several minutes. Add cocoa powder first, mix to combine, and then slowly mix in the powdered sugar, a little at a time, along with vanilla and heavy cream. Each time you add powdered sugar, be sure to beat at a high speed for about a minute. Afterward, give the frosting a good final whip to get it nice and airy.

Assembling and Decorating a Samoa Cake

Now, you’re ready to stack and frost your Samoa cake! I have a detailed tutorial on how to make a layer cake for anyone who needs extra guidance. Here’s how to put together this cake:

  • Start with the first layer. Level the chocolate cakes. Place the first cake on top of a dollop of frosting on a cake board (the frosting keeps the cake from sliding). Spread a layer of caramel cream cheese filling over the first layer.
  • Add the second layer. Stack the second cake layer over the filling. Using your offset spatula, cover the outside of your stacked cakes with a crumb coat of chocolate frosting. After, chill the whole thing in the freezer for 10 minutes or refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  • Frost the cake. Next, spread your prepared chocolate frosting over the top and sides of the chilled cake.
  • Add toppings. Melt chocolate with heavy cream to create a pourable ganache. Then, sprinkle additional toasted coconut over the top of the frosted cake. Drizzle the ganache over the coconut along with extra caramel sauce.
  • Finish the cake. Finally, use a piping bag fitted with a large open-star tip to pipe a border of chocolate buttercream rosettes around the top edge of the cake. 
A frosted Samoa cake decorated with swirls of chocolate buttercream, topped with toasted coconut, with a skirt of Samoa cookies broken in half.

Recipe Tips

For the best possible results when making this cake from scratch, follow these final tips for success:

  • Use room temperature ingredients. Make sure to take ingredients like eggs and dairy out of the fridge 20-30 minutes ahead of using them. Room-temperature ingredients combine easily with the batter and the cakes bake more evenly.
  • Watch closely while toasting the coconut. Use a spatula to turn the coconut once it starts to toast. Pay attention while it bakes, as the coconut burns quickly! For extra tips, see my in-depth tutorial on how to toast coconut.
  • Level the cake layers. You can level your chocolate cakes using a serrated knife or a cake leveler to trim off any domes. This makes the cakes easier to stack.
  • New to decorating layer cakes? Check out my tutorials on how to use a piping bag and how to use piping tips for additional tips and techniques for finishing off this Samoa cookie cake.
  • If you’re using two 9″ cake pans, note that the baking times will be shorter. Keep an eye on the cakes and test them for doneness using a toothpick.

A gold-plated fork stuck into a slice of Samoa cake on a white plate.

Can I Prep This Samoa Cake Ahead of Time?

Yes! Another great thing about this Samoa cake is that you can break up the process if you aren’t able to commit to a day-long baking project.

  • Cake: Bake your chocolate cakes, let them cool, and store them tightly wrapped in the fridge (3 days) or freezer up to one month.
  • Coconut: You can also toast the coconut ahead of time. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for one month.
  • Frosting: Make the frosting ahead of time to store in an airtight container in the fridge up to 7 days or the freezer for up to one month. Whenever you’re ready, bring the frosting back to room temperature, remix until fluffy and assemble the cake as directed.
A slice of Samoa cake on a white plate with a gold-plated fork, with a second slice in the background next to a cake stand.

How to Store

  • Refrigerate. I recommend storing the frosted Samoa cake in an airtight container (like a cake carrier) in the fridge. Take the cake out 30 minutes ahead of time and serve it at room temperature.
  • Freeze. While I don’t recommend freezing the finished cake, the chocolate cake layers freeze well. Wrap the cakes tightly in plastic wrap and store them frozen for up to 2 months. Defrost the cake layers in the fridge before assembling.

More Chocolate Cake Recipes

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A slice of Samoa cake on a white plate.

Samoa Cake

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 2 hours 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 2 hours 55 minutes
  • Yield: 10-12 servings
  • Category: Cakes
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


This Samoa cookie cake is a decadent chocolate cake layered with caramel coconut cream cheese, wrapped in fudgy chocolate frosting. It’s an easy homemade cake recipe inspired by the iconic Girl Scout Cookies!


For the Cake:

  • 1 ½ cups (285g) Granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (118 ml) Vegetable oil
  • 3 Large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) Pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (118 ml) Full-fat sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 cups (280g) All-purpose flour, sifted
  • ½ cup (40 g) Cocoa powder, sifted (I use Hershey’s Special Dark)
  • 2 ½ teaspoons (9 g) Baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (2 g) Baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) Salt
  • 1 ¼ cup (296 ml) Hot brewed coffee

For the Filling

  • 8 ounces (226g) Full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup Caramel sauce (store brought or homemade)
  • ¼ cup (48g) Granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) Pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup (90g) Sweetened shredded coconut, toasted

For the Frosting

  • 2 cups (454g) Unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 cup (111g) Cocoa powder, sifted (I use Hershey’s Special Dark)
  • 5 cups (650g) Powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) Pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) Heavy whipping cream


  • ¾ cup – 1 cup toasted coconut
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate (chocolate chips or a finely chopped chocolate bar)
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
  • Additional Caramel sauce for drizzle


For the Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare two 8-inch round baking pans, line the bottom with parchment paper, and grease and flour the sides of the pan.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed until the eggs and oil are well incorporated and the batter is lighter in color. Next mix in the sour cream and beat until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Add half the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, followed by half of the coffee, and mix until the flour is just incorporated at a low speed. Then add the remaining dry ingredients and coffee. Beat until all of the ingredients are well combined. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir the batter from the bottom to the top to ensure it’s well mixed.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Bake at 350°F for 28-32 minutes.  Test the cake for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Toast the Coconut

  1. While the oven is still warm, toast the coconut. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Spread the coconut thinly on the baking sheet.
  2. Bake at 350°F for 5-10 minutes until it reaches the desired color. Turn the coconut with a spatula once it starts to cook to prevent burning. Keep a close eye on it because it can burn quickly once it starts to toast.
  3. Transfer the coconut to a plate to prevent it from further cooking. Cool completely.

For the Filling

  1. Beat the cream cheese and sugar at a medium high speed until light and fluffy. Slowly add caramel sauce and vanilla extract until well combined. Finally, add toasted coconut and mix into cream cheese. Set aside.

For the Frosting

  1. Cut the butter into pieces (about 1 tablespoon in size). Using the paddle attachment, whip butter for 5-7 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally. Beat until the butter is really light and fluffy. Next, beat the cocoa powder into the butter until well-mixed.
  2. Alternate adding 2 cups of powdered sugar at a time with the liquid ingredients: vanilla extract & heavy cream. Ensure the powdered sugar is well combined, and whip for 1-2 minutes before adding more powdered sugar. Once all the powdered sugar has been added, increase the speed to medium-high and beat for another 2-3 minutes to whip additional air into the frosting.

To Assemble and Decorate

  1. Level off the cakes by removing any domes. Place a dollop of frosting on your cake board and place the bottom layer of cake centered on the cake board.
  2. Spread the caramel cream cheese filling evenly over the first layer with an offset spatula. Add the second layer of cake, inverted (so the bottom of the cake layer is now the top of the cake). Apply a crumb coat the cake and put in the freezer for 5-10 minutes. Proceed to frost the top and sides of the cake.
  3. Combine the chopped chocolate with the heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30 second increments, stir and repeat until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Allow it to cool for a few minutes.
  4. Spread the toasted coconut over top of the frosted cake and then drizzle the melted chocolate over top and additional caramel sauce.
  5. Finally, use a large open star tip (Ateco 846) and add rosettes to the boarder of the cake.


  • If using two 9″ pans, baking times will be altered accordingly.
  • Keep an eye on the coconut while toasting. Watch the coconut carefully while bakes. Exactly baking times will vary depending on the quality and moisture in the coconut, as well as the oven temperature.


  • Serving Size: 1 Slice
  • Calories: 990
  • Sugar: 90.5 g
  • Sodium: 392.7 mg
  • Fat: 59.1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 116.2 g
  • Fiber: 4.7 g
  • Protein: 8.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 159.9 mg

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47 thoughts on “Samoa Cake”

  1. This cake looks delish! If I want to make it in a sheet pan, are there any things I need to change/adjust?

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Yes you’ll probably want to reduce the frosting by half, but the cake itself makes a 9×13 inch.

  2. Avatar photo
    Claudene Rosado

    Made this last weekend!! Everyone has loved it so far! It wasn’t difficult to make and came out so good! I did experience some crumbling when cutting as well, as another review posted but not a deal breaker. Still a 5 star cake!!! Will definitely be adding to my arsenal of recipes. 🙂

  3. My sister made this cake for Thanksgiving and it was seriously the best cake I’ve ever eaten. Thank you so much!

  4. I make this cake every year for my brother’s birthday around the 4th of July. It has become a tradition that everyone looks forward to 🙂

  5. Dear Juliane,
    do you have a recipe for the “1 box Betty Crocker Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix”. I don’t want to use Cake Mix. It is very unusual here.
    Thanks, Tanja

  6. I made this cake yesterday and it looked beautiful. But when I went to cut it all of the cake crumbled. It really wasn’t dry and still tasted good. I’m not sure if it was due to the freezing? Tasted great but disappointing presentation.

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Did you freeze the whole cake or just the cake layers before they were frosted? I don’t have a lot of experience freezing cakes but if you froze the whole cake, you want to be sure to serve it once it’s reached room temperature.

  7. Avatar photo
    Chelsea Clawson

    That icing is a nightmare to spread on the cake. Followed the recipe exactly, and I beat the icing multiple times trying to get it fluffier. It just wants to peel right off the cake as you try to ice it.

  8. I was very excited about this cake. I’m not sure what went wrong though. I followed the instructions for the filling, but it had a very bitter taste ? I ended up throwing the whole thing away

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Hi Amy, I am so sorry. I can’t imagine with all the chocolate and caramel that the flavor was bitter. Do you know if it was the filling that was bitter or the cake itself?

  9. Hi, The girl scouts are out in force & really want to make this but my question is, how many boxes does it take to go around this beauty of a cake ?? I need to get the cookies asap before they go away !


  10. Avatar photo
    Andrea Davila

    I was very excited to try this recipe because I LOVE Samoas!! I was disappointed that the actual cake was a wee bit dry. I followed the recipe to the letter, so not sure what went wrong.

  11. My goodness Julianne, this is the best Samoa recipe I have ever seen! This cake is outrageous! The ONLY thing I don’t like about it,is it’s not here in front of me.