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Lemon coconut cake topped with frosting and shredded coconut

Lemon Coconut Cake

This Lemon Coconut Cake is an absolute dream! A combination of shredded coconut, lemon zest, and lemon juice give this cake tons of flavor. It’s tender with a moist crumb and is topped with cream cheese frosting, shredded coconut, and a sprinkling of lemon zest.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Dessert
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 10
Calories 419kcal



  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (about 1 large lemon)
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ cup buttermilk

Lemon syrup:

  • 1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar


  • 2 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • teaspoon almond extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk or half and half as needed
  • Shredded coconut and lemon zest garnish



  • Preheat oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle of the oven. Grease a 9x5 loaf pan and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and shredded coconut.
  • In a separate bowl, using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (preferred) or a hand mixer beat butter, sugar, and lemon zest on medium speed for 3-4 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition and scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl and beater as necessary. After both eggs have been added beat in the almond extract.
  • In a liquid measuring cup combine the buttermilk and lemon juice.
  • Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the buttermilk into the butter mixture. Add one third dry ingredients, beat until almost combined. Add half buttermilk, beat until almost fully combined. Follow with half of the remaining dry ingredients, the remaining buttermilk, then the remaining dry ingredients. Beat between each addition until just combined and scrape the bowl and beater as needed. Once everything has been added, beat the whole mixture on medium-high speed for about 15 seconds.
  • Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (be careful not to overbake). Rotate the pan halfway through bake time to ensure even browning. The edges and corners might get a bit dark (that's OK, it will taste fine). Place the pan on a rack to cool for 15 minutes. Proceed with the syrup.

Lemon syrup:

  • In a glass measuring cup or bowl, heat lemon juice, water, and sugar in the microwave until the sugar dissolves, about 30 seconds. Stir well.
  • After the cake has cooled for 15 minutes, carefully remove it from the pan (I run a thin knife around the outside, between the cake and pan). Place the cake on the wire rack. Place a paper towel or wax paper under the wire rack. Brush/drizzle the lemon syrup on the top and sides of the warm cake, allowing it to soak in. Cool completely.


  • Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until combined. Add powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add 1 tablespoon milk, and extract, beat until combined. Adjust the consistency by adding more milk to thin or powdered sugar to thicken. Spread the frosting on the cooled cake and top with shredded coconut and lemon zest.


Serving: Serve this cake at room temperature. The crumb is more tender and moist when the cake is at room temp.
Storage: This cake can be stored tightly covered at cool room temperature for up to 2 days or refrigerated for up to 4 days. Bring to room temp before serving.


Calories: 419kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 124mg | Potassium: 147mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 44g | Vitamin A: 579IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 1mg