This homemade Lemon Coconut Cake has layers of homemade lemon curd and lemon cream cheese frosting.
The classic coconut cake recipe is given a lemon twist, making it the perfect recipe for a stunning spring dessert or easy Easter dessert!
In life, it doesn’t take much to make me happy:
A cup of coffee.
Mint chocolate (umm, this Mint Chocolate Ice Cream Pie IS everything).
Christmas (and everything related to it).
Alliteration for the win!
Lemon Coconut for life (these Coconut Lemon Bars are to die for).
Ah, it’s the little things in life.
Recently (which could mean last month or last year–I never know), I read that the cupcake fad was going out of business. Consumers were tired of the craze and ready for the next big thing, which I do believe was predicted to be “designer donuts.”
Considering the fact that I already eat cupcakes (especially the adorable mini ones) like they’re going out of style, this was not good news. Let’s just say, I was less than stoked after I read that article and pretty devastated at the general population (or at least those in their test pool) for being over it.
I mean, how can you really be over the cupcake thing? Who doesn’t love walking into a bakery and seeing rows of decorated cupcakes jam-packed with over-the-top-yet-perfect flavor combinations?
Leave the donut and take the cupcake. #wordstoliveby
I like donuts fine and all (these Coconut Lemon Donuts are my everything…plus, it goes with theme of this post), but for me, I am alllllll about that cake. Triple layer.
And this cake has triple layers of coconut, lemon curd, and lemon cream cheese frosting. If you’re looking for summer in a cake, this has sunshine written all over it.
It’s what I refer to as THE dessert. While the flavors are definitely reminiscent of spring, summer, and all things related to Easter dessert, I would take this cake all year long.
My love of lemon and coconut knows no seasons.
Lemon Coconut Cake Tips & Tricks:
– Despite the 3 layers in this coconut lemon cake, this truly is an easy cake recipe. I know it might seem daunting, especially with the list of ingredients, but the steps are all extremely straightforward.
– Make sure to read the recipe entirely before beginning. While the recipe is straightforward, it is very helpful to read through it at least once just to give you an idea of what to expect once you start baking.
– I used homemade lemon curd in this recipe (I had just made a batch and wanted to use it up). However, feel free to use store-bought lemon curd! I love Trader Joe’s lemon curd, but any lemon curd would be fine.
Lemon Coconut Cake Tips & Tricks continued:
– When decorating the cake, toasting the coconut before adding it to the sides of the cake really gives the coconut an added depth of flavor. It’s worth the extra step! On a side note, when decorating the cake with the toasted coconut, just press it (with your hand) directly onto the cream cheese frosting. It might be a little messy, but it’s the easiest way to do it!
– So, the big question: How do you toast coconut? You can toast coconut on the stove or toast coconut in the oven (I’ve even heard you can toast coconut in the microwave). I prefer the oven method, because I feel like it toasts the coconut a little more evenly, plus, I’ve burnt stovetop coconut more than I care to admit. 😬
– The most important thing to remember when toasting coconut in the oven (besides not forgetting to take it out) is to use a spatula to mix the coconut around. It helps keep the coconut browning evenly.
My whole heart in this one cake.
- 5 eggs, separated
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp corn starch
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
- 1 cup coconut, sweetened flaked
- 12 oz cream cheese, softened
- 12 Tbsp butter, softened (1 1/2 sticks)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 2-3 Tbsp heavy cream
- 5-6 cups powdered sugar
- salt to taste
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut, sweetened
- 3/4 cup lemon curd
- 2 cups toasted coconut
- lemon slices, optional
Separate the egg whites from egg yolks, and allow the egg whites to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes (it's easier to separate the eggs when cold, but it is better to whip the egg whites when they are at room temperature)*.
Preheat the oven to 325. Grease three 9" round cake pans and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat sugar, butter and oil until well blended. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in vanilla and almond extract. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, corn starch, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mix whole milk, coconut milk, and Greek yogurt (or sour cream) together.
Alternately add flour mixture and milk mixture to the creamed mixture, beating well after each addition. Once combined, add in coconut.
Add cream of tartar to egg whites, and with clean beaters, beat on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Fold a fourth of the egg whites into the cake batter, then gently fold in remaining whites.
Once combined, divide the batter evenly into the 3 greased cake pans. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before carefully removing from the pans and allowing to cool completely on a wire rack.
In a 300 degree oven, toast 2 cups of coconut on a baking sheet, spread out in an even layer, about 8-12 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Allow to cool while working on the frosting.
For the frosting, beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy.
Add in 2 Tbsp of the lemon curd; mix.
Add in powdered sugar, beginning with 5 cups.
Add in vanilla and almond extracts. Beat together, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Add in 2 Tbsp of heavy cream and beat. If frosting seems too thick, add in another Tbsp of cream. If it seems too thin, add in the last cup of powdered sugar (cream cheese frosting has a slightly thinner consistency than buttercream). Add in salt to taste (salt helps even out the sweetness).
(Before frosting the cake, you may need to trim the tops of each layer until they are flat.)
On a serving plate or cake stand, place down one of the layers. Spread a layer of frosting over the cake, about 1/4 cup. Spread lemon curd over the top, about 1/4 cup. Sprinkle on 1/4 cup of coconut. Top with second cake layer, and repeat the process. Top with the last layer and spread the remaining frosting over the top of the cake and around the sides, covering thoroughly. On the top of the cake, drizzle the last 2 Tbsp of lemon curd. With a toothpick, swirl the curd with the frosting.
Press toasted coconut on the sides of the cake and sprinkled lightly over the top.
Refrigerate cake for at least 2 hours before serving, and store the leftovers in the fridge.
*When it comes to beating egg whites, make sure the bowl and beaters are completely clean and dry. Also, make sure no egg yolk is mixed with the egg whites. If either of these things occur, the egg whites will not whip into stiff peaks.
If you love cake as much as I do, check out my other recipes: