Lemon Coconut Cake Recipe
Lemon Coconut Cake Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Lemon Coconut Cake Recipe

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“If you’re pressed for time, use a white cake mix and dress it up with the filling and frosting from this recipe,” suggests field editor LaDonna Reed, Ponca City, Oklahoma. “This is a lovely dessert for spring and summer.”
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 1 hour + cooling Bake: 20 min. + cooling
MAKES:12-14 servings
Test Kitchen Approved
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 1 hour + cooling Bake: 20 min. + cooling
MAKES: 12-14 servings


  • 5 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Dash salt
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 3-3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1-1/4 cups flaked coconut


  1. Place egg whites in a small bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. In a large bowl, cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; gradually fold into creamed mixture.
  2. Pour into three greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  3. In a heavy saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and salt. Stir in water until smooth. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened. Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat. Stir a small amount of filling into egg yolks; return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat. Stir in lemon juice and butter. Cool, without stirring, to room temperature.
  4. In a large bowl, cream shortening and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy; beat in vanilla. Gradually add water, beating until smooth. Spread filling between cake layers. Frost top and sides of cake; sprinkle with coconut. Yield: 12-14 servings.
Originally published as Lemon Coconut Cake in Taste of Home April/May 2006, p14

Sweet White Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a sweet white wine such as Moscato or a sweet Riesling.

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Reviewed Aug. 27, 2013

"The cake and custard filling were very good. The frosting was not. It tasted terrible and left a film on the top of your mouth. I threw it away and make a standby butter cream frosting. It tasted much better but once I frosted it I figured out why they use a shortening based frosting. My icing wouldn't stick in between the cake layers and ended up sliding down a bit. We all joked about it but everyone liked the flavor. Next time I make it I'll just make my frosting stiffer."

Reviewed Jul. 3, 2012

"This cake had a very heavy batter and did not rise even 1" per layer. It had a coarse crumb. Also the shortening in the icing left a heavy coating on the tongue and mouth. A real disappointment, I had to throw it out;, would not serve it to anyone! The filling was good. otherwise a waste of time and money. Use a cake mix or something that uses butter not shortening (healthier too!)"

Reviewed Mar. 21, 2012

"This was a very good recipe. I used to be a pastry chef and have some tips for those who had heavy cakes and loose frosting. Beat the batter until it is more fluffy. If you don't beat the eggs whites they won't make the batter light. Also beat the frosting more and add powder sugar until it is stiff yet able to be spread. The cake must be cold to be able to frost. Try refrigerating it or freezing the cake for a few hours."

Reviewed Dec. 23, 2010

"My new favourite cake"

Reviewed Oct. 7, 2010

"The only lemon coconut cake recipe I'll use! It doesn't have an overpowering lemon flavor. The entire family loved it, even my son who hates flaked coconut. And my daughter has requested one for her birthday!"

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