Lemon Coconut Cake

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 Hours (includes baking and chilling)
  • Yield: serves 16 to 18
  • Category: Desserts


  • 1 (18.25-ounce) box butter cake mix, sifted (I use Duncan Hines)
  • 3 eggs, well beaten
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick) soften
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • 1 (15-ounce) can real cream of coconut, divided
  • 1 (16-ounce) container of sour cream (2 cups)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 ½ cups freshly grated coconut or frozen coconut, divided (3-6-ounce packages of frozen coconut)
  • 2 ½ cups lemon curd (See recipe for homemade lemon curd)
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • Garnish: Fresh lemon slices


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 9-inch round cake pans and lined with a small circle (6-inch) of wax paper or parchment paper. (This keeps the cake from sticking to the pans. Believe me, this is a miracle worker.) Set the prepared pans aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat cake mix and butter together with an electric mixer on medium speed. Add the milk and beaten eggs and beat on medium-high speed for about 4 minutes.
  3. Pour batter evenly into the 2 9-inch prepared pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until cake test done. Cool the cakes in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn them out on wax paper to cool completely.
  4. While the cake cools make the filling: In a large bowl combine sour cream, sugar, and coconut. Mix well. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  5. Split cake layers horizontally to make four layers. (a corrugated knife works well for splitting the cakes.)
  6. Pierce holes in cakes layers using a fork and drizzle a small amount on each layer. (about 3 Tablespoons on each layer. You won’t use the whole can.)
  7. Mix the remaining cream of coconut with the lemon curd.
  8. Spread sour cream mixture over of cream of coconut layer, then spread the lemon curd filling over the sour cream mixture. Repeat the process with the remaining layers as you stack them.
  9. To make the frosting: Pour whipping cream into a medium size bowl that been chilled. After beating my cake layers, I put my mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer until I get ready to make the frosting. The real cold bowl and beaters makes the whipping cream whip up so much better! Beat whipping cream on medium-high speed until cream thickens. Add confectioners’ sugar and continue beating until stiff.
    Be careful not to beat too long because the cream will turn to milk if beaten too much.
  10. Frost sides and top of cake. Sprinkle the remaining coconut over all the cake. Keep cake in the refrigerator. Just before serving, garnish with fresh lemon slices.


Make ahead tip/freeze:  This cake can be made 3 days ahead and kept in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Actually the flavor is much better if it’s made ahead. This allows the cake to soak up moisture from the coconut. You can also freeze this cake up to 2 months in the freezer and it will keep up to 6 days in the refrigerator.