Lemon Coconut Cake

My mom LOVES lemon, much like she loves ginger. So every year when I ask what kind of birthday cake she’d like she requests something lemon. And what goes better with lemon cake than coconut? I did some serious searching for vegan lemon coconut cakes and I really didn’t find much. The best, simplest (and probably tastiest!) recipe I found came from Epicurean Vegan (thankyou!). She has some seriously incredible looking recipes… this was the first I tried. It was so simple and it looked so beautiful I was like “damn, I’m gonna make that cake.” And I did! I did make some tweaks because of the ingredients I had. I had a whole can of cream of coconut, you know… the kind you use to make Pina Coladas. And I had sweetened shredded coconut I couldn’t not use. And I bought some beautiful organic lemons from Fresh Market.

The original recipe is for a bundt cake and I do have a bundt cake pan but I’ve never used it… it reminds me of the Sydney Opera House to be honest. Not that there’s anything wrong with that… I’ve just never had the urge to make a bundt cake. It was a gift from my dad (thanks dad, I’ll use it one day!).

Anyway, I wanted to make a more traditional birthday cake so I broke it down into two layers and totally winged it with the frosting. I made sure coconut oil icing had been done before & then I did my thing. The measurements for the icing are estimates as I really just eyeballed my ingredients as I threw them in. I knew it was a winner when dad came home, tried it without my approval, and said “oh man, that’s delicious!” Even though he’s had INCREDIBLE vegan desserts from Vegan Treats in Bethlehem, PA & vegan doughnuts in Las Vegas he still does that “but it’s vegan?” (and makes a face) thing.

Anyway, the major point here is that the cake was delicious and every person who ate it Saturday night agreed. These cake-eaters were all non-vegans by the way (besides Stephen). It was moist, it was coconuty & lemony, the frosting was fluffy. It was pretty damn good if I do say so myself. Dad & Stephen both had seconds. As only my second attempt at a vegan cake thus far, I couldn’t have hope for better and it’ll definitely be hard to top.

For mam’s birthday we enjoyed dinner & drinks at one of our favorite restaurants EVER… Old Stein Inn. Dear Old Stein Inn, I love you. Thank you for your incredible fried pickles & potato pancakes (with applesauce) & red cabbage & franziskaner hefeweisen on tap. I shall take pictures of all that you have to offer one of these days to show the people of blogosphere world. Until then, enjoy my lemon coconut cake. NOM.

Lemon Coconut Cake

  1. Adapted from Epicurean Vegan
  2. Makes a 2 layer cake using 9inch rounds.
  • 1-1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/3 C Canola/Veg Oil
  • 1/3 Cup Coconut Oil (melted)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Coconut Milk
  • 1/4 Cup Cream of Coconut
  • 1/4 Cup Soy Milk
  • 1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbsp Lemon Zest
  • 2 Tsp Vanilla
  • 3 Cups Flour (I actually used 2 cups AP, 1 Cup + 2Tbsp Cake)
  • 2 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Cup Shredded Unsweetened Coconut
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Sweetened Coconut

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease two 9″ round cake pans. Dust with flour and tap off any excess.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the granulated sugar, canola/veg oil, melted coconut oil, coconut milk, cream of coconut, soy milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla. Stir to combine.

Sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the wet ingredients. Stir well to combine, tiny lumps are okay but you want to mix thoroughly.  Add the shredded coconut and stir one last time to combine!

Distribute batter evenly amongst the two pans. Bake for about 30 minutes. Keep an eye out, the cake is done when it springs back when lightly poked.

Slide a knife around the edges of the pan to make sure it’s loose. Flip onto cooling rack & let sit.

Lemon Glaze

  • 3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup (or 2 lemons) Lemon Juice
Combine granulated sugar & lemon juice in small saucepan over medium/low heat and stir until sugar is dissolved. Take off heat & let cool slightly. When cake is no longer hot (but still warm) gently poke several times with a fork. Make sure to poke the sides of the cake that will be facing upward. Lather glaze onto cake. It should soak up in front of your eyes (much like tres leches cake).

Coconut Icing:

  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Vegetable Shortening
  • 1 Box + 1/4 Box Confectioner’s Sugar (this is how I remember dumping it into the bowl, for everyone normal out there… about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 2 Tsp Vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbsp Cream of Coconut
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Milk

Beat coconut oil (not melted) and vegetable shortening until soft & fluffy. Alternate between adding powdered sugar & liquids until your icing is creamy & fluffy. This may require slightly more coconut milk. Wait until cake is completely cooled before frosting! You don’t want your icing to melt!

I probably should have made two. It was really divine.

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14 thoughts on “Lemon Coconut Cake

  1. How much confectioner’s sugar is in your box (it probably says the weight on the box in ounces or grams)? They come in different sizes in different countries…

  2. I made this for my birthday! First cake I’ve made from scratch. Pretty impressed with myself. 🙂 It was sooo good. Thanks for a great recipe!

  3. This cake looks delicious! I’m planning on making it for my daughters birthday party this weekend. Is the coconut milk canned coconut milk or the kind from the carton?
    Thank you!

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