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Lemon Coconut Cake

“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
    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 sweetened shredded coconut


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
Nutrition Facts
1 slice: 585 calories, 26g fat (9g saturated fat), 30mg cholesterol, 306mg sodium, 84g carbohydrate (69g sugars, 1g fiber), 4g protein.

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  • sheilagh
    Apr 27, 2018

    I agree that buttercream or cream cheese frosting tastes better than the ones used with shortening, but that's just my personal taste buds.Also, for this, what is the nutritional value please?No matter what recipe you test, rate and print, it would be VERY nice if you gave the nutritional value on every recipe, not just some. Also, would be nice if you start experimenting (as I do) with gluten free ingredients AND with sugar substitutes, particularly using Stevia, Erythritol and Swerve (for Keto diets). Since you are the experts, it would save me a lot of time experimenting.Thanks

  • Danerlea
    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.

  • Kathleencnm
    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!)

  • tnnelson23
    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.

  • Cricket115
    Dec 23, 2010

    My new favourite cake

  • Jujube33
    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!

  • iluvlemon
    Jan 15, 2010

    This cake was very heavy and dense. The only part I liked was the lemon filling. :) There was also a lot of frosting left over. I frosted the cake and put it in the frige but then when I took it out a couple of hours later the frosting had all slipped off the cake and onto the platter underneath.

  • pjjernigan
    Mar 25, 2009

    I made this from scratch, following the printed recipe and I found the cake to be very heavy. The lemon filling was very good and easy, but there was a lot of icing left over. Everyone enjoyed the cake, but I will use a cake mix the next time I make it. I wasn't sure how many of my guests might not care for be want to eat the coconut, so I only sprinkled it on half the cake.