Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Jan 28, 2013 11:46 AM

ISO of lemon coconut cake for parents 50th anniversary

My sister wants me to make a lemon coconut cake for my parents 50th anniversary dinner, do any of you have a special recipe? Thanks, Richie

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Here is the recipe for coconut cake I swear by. To add the lemon element, I would fill the layers with lemon curd. I frequently double this recipe and make 3 9" layers.

    1 ¾ cups bleached all-purpose flour (spoon into dry measure cup and level)
    1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) of unsalted butter, softened
    1 1/3 cup sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
    2 eggs at room temperature
    2 egg yolks
    ½ cup Thai coconut milk
    1 cup (about ½ a 7 ounce bag) sweetened shredded coconut, finely chopped

    2 8” cake pans, buttered, floured, and with parchment on the bottom (the Wilton release works well here – that was all I used)

    1. Set rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350.
    2. Stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl
    3. Place butter and sugar in the bowl of a mixer and beat on medium speed for about 5 minutes or until soft and light. Beat in the vanilla and lemon zest, then beat in the eggs an yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition.
    4. Reduce the speed to low and add one third of the flour mixture, and then half of the coconut milk. Scrape down the bowl and repeat with another third of the flour, the rest of the coconut milk, and the final third of the flour. Scrape down the bowl and beater again.
    5. Use a rubber spatula to give the batter a final mixing, and then mix in the chopped coconut. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans.
    6. Bake the layers for 30-35 minutes until they are well-risen and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans on racks for 5 minutes, then unmold onto racks to finish cooling.
    Storage: If you are going to use the layers the day you bake them, wrap in plastic and keep keep at room temperature. Double wrap and freeze for longer storage.
    Coconut Pecan Layers
    Add ¾ cup (about 3 ounces) of chopped pecans along

    18 Replies
    1. re: roxlet

      I like the two eggs plus two yolks - I recently learned that when a cake tastes too egg-y, the whites are the culprits, not the yolks.

      1. re: roxlet

        roxlet, how do you frost? Whipped cream, cream cheese....? I would put lemon curd as filling, then....whipped cream and toasted coconut? (I know toasting it is not traditional, but it sounds good)

        1. re: sandylc

          I use this flour frosting recipe, which makes the lightest, fluffiest icing ever. Sometimes I fill it with lemon or lime curd, and sometimes I fill it with the frosting. When I double the cake recipe, I double this frosting recipe.
          Flour Frosting

          1/4 cup flour
          1 cup sugar
          1 cup milk (or coconut milk for coconut cake)
          1 cup butter cut in cubes (My butter was cool and firm, but I could still leave an indent when I pressed my finger into it)
          1 tsp vanilla
          pinch of salt

          1. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar, flour, salt together. Add the milk and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally (I had to whisk constantly or else it started to stick and clump at the bottom) until the mixture has thickened into a paste and slightly bubbly at edges (You probably don't want it boiling because we all know how boiled milk tastes..)

          2. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter; beat until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy. If the frosting is too soft, transfer the bowl to the refrigerator to chill slightly: then beat again until it is the proper consistency.

          3. Add the vanilla and continue mixing until combined and fluffy.

          1. re: roxlet

            Ah, yes....I like flour paste frosting....sort of like easier buttercream (the real one, not the icky powdered sugar one).

            1. re: sandylc

              I find it less oily and dense than buttercream.

            2. re: roxlet

              The cake looks beautiful. Would you be so kind to let me know the brand/type of coconut you use to top off the frosting? Is it sweetened or unsweetened? I love the look of the larger flakes.
              Thank you.

              1. re: foodseek

                On the label it says "Let's", which I believe is the brand name. The large flakes are unsweetened. I don't know where you live but I get this at Fairway, and I have seen them at health food stores as well.

                1. re: roxlet

                  I live in San Francisco. Thank you so much-I am in search of the large flakes today. Coconut cake is one of my husband's favorites so I plan on baking it for Valentines Day. Thanks again!

                  1. re: foodseek

                    I think that they also have them at Whole Foods.

            3. re: sandylc

              Swiss Meringue Cream Cheese Buttercream w/ Toasted Coconut and Candied Lemon Zest :)

            4. re: roxlet

              I know this recipe from Roxlet was posted long ago, but I wanted to give a 'shout-out' of thanks-this is a grand recipe. I added a layer of raspberry preserves from our garden this summer and this pretty cake capped our first "weekend of the storm" meal last night.

              Thank you for this great addition to my dessert file!

              1. re: LJS

                Glad it was a success for you! I adore this recipe.

              2. re: roxlet

                I used your recipe as well, Roxlet. Lovely! I didn't have any desiccated coconut, so I dried my own - I had fresh shredded in the freezer. And I added probably a tablespoon of lemon zest instead of the 1 teaspoon. It was a huge hit. Thanks!

                1. re: LMAshton

                  All credit to Nick Malgieri, whose recipe this is an adaptation of. Glad everyone likes it as much as I -- and my husband -- do!

                  1. re: roxlet

                    Hello Roxlet, I used Extra Large Eggs and Yolks. It smelled "eggy" but I couldn't taste the egg in the cake. The top is very crunchy. Do I need to cut the top off? Do you use a food processor to chop up the store bought shredded coconut? Thanks.

                    1. re: smfan

                      I taste the cake again today. The texture is lighter than a pound cake with the shredded coconut. I forgot to finely chop the coconut. Still nice.

                      1. re: smfan

                        I only use extra-large eggs, and I never had a problem with the cake being eggy. As far as a crunchy top goes, I don't know since I always frost it...

                2. interesting with the coconut milk

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: javaandjazz

                    I have been making coconut cakes for about 30 years. It's really the only cake my husband likes, so I make it for his birthday. I was always looking for a great recipe, and about 5 years ago, I found this one. I stopped looking.

                    1. re: roxlet

                      have you considered using coconut oil instead of butter?

                      1. re: magiesmom

                        The problem with coconut oil in baked goods is that the coconut oil can go rancid quite quickly. Of course, if the cake will be eaten in a day or two, it's not a problem, but three days in a tropical climate and the coconut oil has gone rancid.

                        1. re: LMAshton

                          cakes never last three days in my house ;)
                          why can't it just be refrigerated; seems a good idea in a tropical climate anyway.

                          1. re: magiesmom

                            Because, up until recently, you could only get small fridges where I lived (Sri Lanka). There was never enough room in the fridge. :)

                            But yeah, if you've got the room, absolutely! Just make sure the cake is protected from drying out. :)

                            1. re: LMAshton

                              I live in New England. It is barely warm enough in mid summer to worry about rancidity.

                              1. re: magiesmom

                                *laughs* Yeah, I hear you. I'm from Canada. :)

                      2. re: roxlet

                        Roxlet: how do you usually fill/frost? I want to give your recipe a try as it sounds like a winner. In our part of the country, it is customary to fill coconut cakes with raspberry preserve and frost with buttercream, and only coat the sides with (un-toasted) coconut.

                        I have used lemon, too, in winter, but the raspberry gets summer rave reviews as we grow them and decorate the top with a circle of fresh berries.

                        1. re: LJS

                          Raspberry sounds great, but since my husband's birthday is in November, I usually fill with lemon or lime. I press the large flakes of coconut on the sides and the top of the cake.

                    2. I love Nick Malgieri's Lemon Raspberry Cake from his book Perfect cakes. It has lemon layers with raspberry filling in between, a lemon buttercream frosting, and coconut outside.

                      Here's the recipe:

                      My only caveat is that the lemon flavor doesn't come through strongly enough by adding the 1/4 c. of lemon juice he calls for. I bump up the lemon flavor by pureeing a whole organic lemon (seeded) and using 1/4 c. of the puree (which I strain through a fine sieve) instead of the juice.

                      1. Here's a favorite recipe from the era when doctoring cake mixes was the rage:

                        1 pkg. cake mix plus butter
                        1 cup apricot nectar
                        1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

                        8-oz pkg cream cheese, softened
                        1/4 cup sugar
                        1 tablespon lemon juice
                        1/2 cup flaked coconut

                        1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
                        1 tablespoon lemon juice
                        1 tablespoon apricot nectar

                        Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 12-cup tube pan.

                        In large bowl, combine cake ingredients, blending at low speed just until moistened. Switch to high speed and continue blending 2 minutes. Pour batter into prepared pan.,

                        In a small bowl, combine the four filling ingredients, beating until smooth. Spoon filling into the cake pan on top of batter, taking care not to let filling touch the sides of the pan.

                        Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 inutes or until top spring back when touched lightly in center.

                        Cool upright in pan for 1 hour, then, invert onto serving plate. Allow cake to cool completely.

                        In a bowl, combine all three glaze ingredients, stirring until smooth. Drizzle over cake.

                        1. Just want to hold this discussion for myself (save discussion doesn't always work for me)

                          I'm always on the lookout for a good coconut cake, myself!