Photo by Sonia Mendez Garcia

Pastel de Coco (Coconut Cheesecake)

Cuisine: Latin
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Creamy coconut cheesecake, pastel de coco! With a few simple ingredients, this delicious cheesecake will soon become your family's favorite!

Is there ever really a bad time for coconut cheesecake? The first recipe I learned to bake on my own at age 14 was cheesecake. After that day, my Dad wanted me to bake one once a week, lol! This recipe for pastel de coco(coconut cheesecake) could not get any easier, in my opinion. A few simple steps to prepare a homemade crust, using Maria-style cookie wafers, is all you need to serve a special dessert. A small, but important ingredient, cream of coconut will yield the creamiest cheesecake ever.  Once you learn this basic cheesecake recipe, get creative and add your own touch.


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  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a food processor, add cookies. Pulse to blend, then process on high until fine. Transfer to a bowl, add sugar, salt and melted butter. Mix until well incorporated.
  2. Lightly spray the pan with oil. Add cookie crust. Using your fingers, form the crust, pressing gently down and up the sides of pan until evenly distributed. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. To the bottom rack of oven, add a small baking dish filled with water ¾ of the way up.
  4. In the blender, add the softened cream cheese, cream of coconut, condensed milk, eggs, vanilla bean paste and coconut extract. Blend on high until smooth. Add 1/2 cup of flaked coconut and pulse to mix in.
  5. Line bottom of pan with foil paper. Pour cheesecake batter into pre-baked crust. Place onto a baking sheet and transfer to middle rack in the oven. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Remove and let cool
  6. Using a small knife, loosen the sides of cake from pan. Release springform and remove. Place on serving dish. Carefully add whip cream to outer edges (on top) of cake, leaving a 4 inch circle in the center. Top the whipped cream with toasted coconut. Using a potato peeler, add a generous amount of dark chocolate shavings to the center of cheesecake.

Chef Notes

For easy slicing of a chilled cheesecake, dip the knife in hot water before slicing. Adding the baking dish filled with water to the bottom rack while baking a cheesecake will prevent the cake from cracking or splitting.

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