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Lemon-Filled Coconut Cake Recipe

Lemon-Filled Coconut Cake Recipe

One of my coworkers brought this cake to a luncheon almost 40 years ago. It was so delicious that I asked for the recipe. I have baked it ever since, and it's always a hit! —Jackie Bergenheier, Wichita Falls, Texas
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 35 min. Bake: 25 min. + cooling YIELD:16 servings


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups flaked coconut


  • 1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition.
  • 2. Transfer to three greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  • 3. For filling, in a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and water until smooth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 minutes longer or until thickened and bubbly. Remove from the heat.
  • 4. Stir a small amount of hot mixture into egg yolks; return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat; gently stir in lemon juice and butter. Cool to room temperature without stirring.
  • 5. Place one cake on serving plate; spread with half of the filling. Repeat layers. Top with remaining cake.
  • 6. For frosting, in a large heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, egg whites, water and cream of tartar. With a portable mixer, beat on low speed for 1 minute. Continue beating on low over low heat until frosting reaches 160°, about 10 minutes.
  • 7. Transfer to a large bowl; add vanilla. Beat on high until stiff peaks form, about 7 minutes. Frost top and sides of cake. Sprinkle with coconut. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 16 servings.

Nutritional Facts

1 slice: 564 calories, 22g fat (15g saturated fat), 127mg cholesterol, 360mg sodium, 88g carbohydrate (64g sugars, 2g fiber), 6g protein.

Reviews for Lemon-Filled Coconut Cake

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apple50 User ID: 7426516 221747
Reviewed Mar. 1, 2015

"I made the icing differently because I had my own recipe. It is similar but works every time. Beat 2 large room temp egg whites until slightly stiff. In saucepan, combine 1 cup sugar, 1/3 cup water, and 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar. Heat on med until reaches soft ball stage on candy thermometer. Remove from heat and throw in 8 quartered marshmallows. Pour in slow stream into egg whites with mixer going. Turn mixer up and mix till icing stiffens, 3-5 min. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla. Ice cooled cake right away and press in coconut to sides and top."

yvonneacutern User ID: 7998030 155974
Reviewed Sep. 19, 2014

"I love this recipe. My family raved and demanded that I make a second when the first was finished off. The cake itself was moist and in a word...perfect. I had no problems with the lemon curd filling. Maybe because I LOVE lemon curd, so I enjoy taking my time with it. The frosting was a little tricky The first time I made it, I had no problems. The second time I tried, it didn't turn out as nicely my initial attempt. (Beginner's luck? - who knows?.. In any event, I'll take any advantage I can get). Next time, I may change the frosting to something I'm good at like a simple buttercream with coconut topping."

Ilikey User ID: 4528531 209146
Reviewed Apr. 8, 2014

"This recipe seemed to have left out an ingredient that I would have added for the frosting and that ingredient is White Corn Syrup, I use Karo if it's available in your market area. The amount of syrup used is usually 1/2 cup less than the sugar. The recipe can be found in recipe books or on-line as "7 or Seven Minute Frosting. It is made by beating the egg whites at room temperature until soft not stiff peaks form, then if your mixing bowl allows transfer to a double boiler do so. If your mixer does not I like using heat resistant glass bowls. Transfer your beaten egg mixture, and slowly mix/blend in the White Corn Syrup. Your Vanilla Extract or flavoring, sugar, Cream of Tartar, pinch of salt should have been already added to the beaten egg whites. Please allow the frosting to cool, along with the cake. The lemon curd is also something you want to cool before topping the cake. Let it cool in the refrigerator until it is firm, like pudding, that is what it is. Then top your cooled cake with the pudding/curd mixture. And the flour doesn't have to be King Arthur it is not available in all markets either, but use a good quality flour. Pillsbury is well knowned. Take your time, follow measurements, and bake time, and happy baking, and results. It took time for me, I was always in a hurry, and my grandmother corrected my impulsiveness, as well as unfavorable results."

lynn2795 User ID: 7398689 96776
Reviewed Sep. 6, 2013

"This cake is delicious. I noticed a lot of people seem to have problems with it though. First, the lemon filling really needs to be refrigerated to be properly thick so it doesn't run. Second, this frosting is divine, but cannot be made when it's humid. It also doesn't do well with pasteurized eggs. It should be light and fluffy. The cake is a delicious pound cake texture which holds up well with the filling."

sueagonz User ID: 5337616 132056
Reviewed May. 20, 2012

"Made this yesterday with my fourteen year old granddaughter. It was incredible. We had no problems with any part of the recipe and it was thoroughly enjoyed by all."

Tiff7781 User ID: 2647989 132054
Reviewed Apr. 14, 2012

""I used 3 egg whites" sorry for the typo..."

Tiff7781 User ID: 2647989 71454
Reviewed Apr. 14, 2012

"This cake is delicious and beautiful! I had made it a couple times before and had a horrible time with the frosting. after researching and reading these reviews I figured it out!

instead of placing all the ingredients together, place seperately the egg whites (I used) and beat until foamy add the cream of tarter and continue to beat until soft peaks form. meanwhile, add the vanilla, sugar and water to the saucepan, heat to the specified temp, while stirring. then very slowly dribble (must be slowly added!) the sugar mixture to the egg whites, while beating and increase speed as you go. the frosting turned out beautiful and glossy. enjoy!!"

life50 User ID: 1047966 97680
Reviewed Apr. 8, 2012

"cake was great but the lemon fill run all over, didn't bother making the frosting. Yes I followed the recipe to the nail."

chefsandra User ID: 3791035 97676
Reviewed Apr. 8, 2010

"I would like the printed recipe of the coconut cake made in the spring form pan with coconut milk in it. Thanks Sandra"

nmphifer13 User ID: 4962273 167814
Reviewed Mar. 28, 2010


iluvlemon User ID: 4743462 132052
Reviewed Dec. 30, 2009

"This cake was good but a bit dry. The glaze over the cake was terrible too, cause it would just pour over the cake and eventually come off! It didn't stick or anything, for me at least. It was good though! I think I would maybe make this again."

Mama_B User ID: 163440 80015
Reviewed Jun. 18, 2009

"It's a basic Italian Meringue. A link for a couple of good recipes for it can be found here..."

AZSINGER User ID: 512064 99239
Reviewed May. 11, 2009

"I cooked the ingredients for the frosting the amount of time called for  plus used a therometh to make sure it reached 160 degrees.for the 10minutes called for. If I had used the extra two egg white, would this have turned out? It only calls for 2 egg whites."

AZSINGER User ID: 512064 167784
Reviewed May. 11, 2009

"I made this cake this past weekend. But like others befor me, the frosting did not turn out correctly, it slid all over the place . I had to scrape alot of it off the bottom. Did you test this frosting? In what magazine does this receipe appear,(Date & magazine) I have them all.What is the problem with the frosting, i would like to make this cake again, but want a frosting that does not do what this frosting did. It was qutie a waste of ingredients. HELP!!!!!"

jbalovi User ID: 4099512 167782
Reviewed May. 6, 2009


It sounds like you let the frosting get too hot then over beat it. Try a lower temp and slower speed"

gailluther User ID: 3347059 132051
Reviewed Apr. 14, 2009

"I had trouble with getting the frosting to form stiff peaks. I am hoping that someone can tell me why. It got sort of stiff. I put it on the cake and some of it sort of slid down. Still, even with the screwy frosting, the cake tasted really good. If I can find out what I did wrong, I will definitely make it again. It's perfect for Easter dinner."

daintydish User ID: 1053922 97674
Reviewed Apr. 12, 2009

"I loved this cake and made it for Easter dinner. One of my son-in-laws just thought it was the best cake ever; the other said he thought it was good, but would have loved to have had the lemon filling over the top instead of the frosting. That actually sounded pretty good. I am a big fan of lemon anything. The whole family loved the cake though. I did only make one change I put a little extra lemon juice in the filling. Excellent cake and worth the time it takes to make it, which by the way, takes way longer to make than the listed amount of time. The frosting alone is beat for a total of about 18 min. Thanks for the keeper recipe!"

Eunicita User ID: 3919254 80014
Reviewed Feb. 25, 2009

"Good Recipe. I prefer a stronger taste of lemon for the filling though."

071246lm User ID: 825140 99238
Reviewed Dec. 26, 2008

"Thanks for a great recipe. I find that 3 cups of coconut is far too much. I used 1 cup and that was plenty - personal preference."

sundergill User ID: 3716937 155969
Reviewed Dec. 24, 2008

"Cake falls apart to easy when cutting."

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Wine Pairings

Sweet White Wine

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