This Coconut Lemon Cake is a classic bake that simply can't be beat! With its sweet coconut flavor combined with zesty lemon, it's the perfect bake for any occasion.
The cake is seriously the best of both worlds - tangy and refreshing, but also insanely indulgent and luxurious.
And the frosting, It's so thick and creamy, with a zesty taste that adds a special twist to the classic buttercream frosting. The best part is, it's super easy to work with, so it's perfect for filling and topping this cake.
Ingredients for Coconut Lemon Cake
While the full printable recipe is written below, this is the section to read if you’re wondering about ingredient substitutions or how these ingredients work in the recipe.
For the cake
- all purpose OR cake flour
- Baking powder - make sure your baking powder is fresh and not expired.
- unsweetened shredded (desiccated) coconut
- white granulated or castor sugar
- Butter, at room temperature (salted or unsalted butter is fine to use)
- zest of one medium lemon or lime
- 5 large eggs
- heavy cream (whipping cream): Heavy (whipping) cream produces a lucious, velvety texture to the cake. But you have two options for heavy cream alternatives in this recipe: regular milk or canned coconut milk. coconut milk adds extra coconut flavor. Regular milk works great too, so use what you have or prefer!
For the cream cheese frosting
- cream cheese: I recommend using full-fat cream cheese for the best flavor. Not the spreadable type from a tub. Cold cream cheese will lead to a lumpy frosting so always bring the cream cheese to room temperature before using it.
- butter at room temperature
- lemon juice: I highly suggest using fresh lemon juice as it tastes more flavorful as compared to bottled lemon juice.
- vanilla extract
- powdered (icing) sugar
How to make Coconut Lemon Cake
This is just the overview so you can see the process. When you are baking, you’ll want to use the full recipe at the bottom of the page.
- Flour coconut mixture: In a large bowl, whisk together all purpose or cake flour, baking powder, unsweetened shredded (desiccated) coconut and salt and set aside.
- Butter sugar mixture: In a separate bowl, beat together white granulated sugar and butter until light and creamy. Fold in the zest of one medium lemon or lime and set aside.
3. Egg cream mixture:Use another small bowl or measuring jug to whisk together the eggs and heavy cream (whipping cream)
4. Pour the whisked egg cream mixture into the butter and sugar mixture.
- Use a hand or stand mixer to beat for about 2 minutes on medium speed.
5. Add in the flour/ coconut mixture and use a spatula or wooden spoon to fold it in until combined.
6. Divide batter and bake: Divide the batter into the prepared cake pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes
- Cool completely: Leave the cakes in the pan to cool for 10 minutes. Then run a blunt edged knife or spatula around the edges of the cake to loosen and turn out onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting and decorating
Make the cream cheese frosting
- Use a large bowl with a handheld mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment to beat together the cream cheese and butter for 2 to 3 minutes until combined and creamy.
- Pour in the lime/lemon juice and vanilla extract and beat for about 20 seconds until combined.
- Sift in the powdered (icing) sugar and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes until the frosting is smooth and creamy.
Refrigerate the cream cheese frosting for about 15 minutes before frosting the cooled cake.
Can this cake and frosting be baked in advance?
Yes, sure. Although the cake and frosting is super easy to make, they both can be made a day in advance and stored separately.
This is especially convenient for special events, such as birthdays, baby showers, or weddings! Prepare both in advance, and keep them separate.
- Cake: Once you've baked the cake, you can leave to cool completely, then store covered at room temperature.
- Cream cheese frosting: Whip up the frosting and store in an airtight container
- Assemble: When it's time to serve, take the frosting out 10 minutes before decorating the cooled cake. The frosting has the perfect consistency for spreading or piping, so go ahead and decorate your cake to your heart's content!
How to store leftover Coconut Lemon Cake
- The frosted cake can be stored in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to three days.
- Bring refrigerated ingredients like eggs and butter to room temperature before using to avoid over mixing and tough cake layers.
- To measure flour accurately, use a scale if possible. If not, fluff the flour with a spoon, then spoon it into your measuring cup and level it off with a knife. This prevents packing the flour too tightly.
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