Coconut Lemon Layer Cake

Stunning!! Coconut Lemon Layer Cake. And it's easy too!

Moist coconut filled layers of cake are stuffed with a sweet and tangy lemon curd, then coated with a light and fluffy coconut buttercream frosting and topped with a delightful pile of toasted coconut. This Coconut Lemon Layer Cake is basically everything you love about Spring, wrapped up in cake form.

Coconut Lemon Layer Cake

You guys, I am not even going to tell you how many times I tried and tested this recipe until I got it just right.

Let’s just say that I have been eating delicious coconut cake fails for over a week. When it comes to cake fails, they’re still undeniably delicious, so it was hard to resist.

But when I tasted this cake, it was like the heavens parted and I knew instantly it was everything I was hoping it would be.

Coconut Lemon Layer Cake

The cake was moist and thick, yet still light and airy in texture. I used a boxed white cake mix but infused the cake with three types of coconut. I substituted the water for coconut milk, enhanced the flavor with a teaspoon of coconut extract and then plumped it up with a handful of shredded coconut.

You’ll want to make sure to bake the cake slightly longer than a normal box cake, due to the heaviness of the coconut milk. But the end results are simply stunning.

Coconut Lemon Layer Cake

Several years ago I had a friend who made the most amazing coconut cake. The flavors were so rich and nutty, and I simply had to have the recipe.

She refused to give me the recipe.         lil turd!

That moment right there was one of the main reasons I decided to start this blog and share recipes with everyone. I believe that if you have something good, you should share it.

Coconut Lemon Layer Cake

Anyways, so that middle part?

The bright and cheery lemon curd? Yeah, it is downright delicious when paired with that coconut cake.

I used a store bought lemon curd, but you could also use a homemade recipe if you prefer. Either way, just don’t skimp on it. The stuff is addictive.

Coconut Lemon Layer Cake

The last two components of the cake are the frosting and the toasted coconut topping.

That frosting you guys… I could eat it all by itself. It’s a classic buttercream frosting but I switched out vanilla extract for coconut extract and instead of whipping in heavy cream, I added full fat coconut milk. It’s light, fluffy and filled to the brim with that nutty coconut flavor.

Lastly – the toasted coconut! I tried toasting coconut in the oven for the first time with this cake and I will probably never go back to toasting it in the skillet. It was so quick and easy, and made for a perfectly golden brown batch of toasted coconut.

Coconut Lemon Layer Cake

Just don’t forget to share the recipe with others and spread the joy!

Get on it!

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A white layer cake with white icing and a slice removed from it
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Coconut Lemon Layer Cake

Coconut Lemon Layer Cake is the most indulgent cake with coconut layers, tangy lemon curd, and buttercream frosting!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12
Calories: 652 kcal
Author: Shawn


For the Cake:

  • 1 box of white cake mix, plus the egg whites and oil required for baking
  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded coconut, divided
  • 20 oz. lemon curd

For the Frosting:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 to 3 tbsp full fat coconut milk

optional toppings:

  • peeps
  • chocolate eggs


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease two 8 inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  • Combine the cake mix, coconut milk, egg whites and oil in the bowl of your stand mixer and beat on low for 30 seconds, then medium for 2 minutes. Add the coconut extract and 1/2 cup of shredded coconut to the batter, stir to combine. Divide mixture between the two pans (batter will be thick), and spread evenly. Bake for 30 to 33 minutes, or until cake springs bake when gently pushed. Let cool for 15 minutes in pan before placing on wire rack to cool completely.
  • Meanwhile spread the remaining 1 cup of shredded coconut on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 6 to 7 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove from oven and let cool.
  • Once cake is cool cut each layer in half (I froze my layers to make them easier to cut). Spread 1/3 of the lemon curd on each layer, then top with the last layer of cake.

To make the Frosting:

  • Combine the butter and pinch of salt in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until light and fluffy. Add the coconut extract and powdered sugar, then start the mixer on low speed until the butter mixture absorbs the sugar. Add two tbsp of coconut milk and turn the speed up to medium/high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes. If the frosting needs to be thinner, add more coconut milk and continue beating until combined.
  • Frost the layered cake and then top with the toasted coconut and optional toppings if desired.
If you prefer, you could skip cutting each layer in half and simply have two layers rather than four. Just reduce the amount of lemon curd by half.


Calories: 652kcal | Carbohydrates: 95g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 21g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 608mg | Potassium: 116mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 76g | Vitamin A: 473IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 104mg | Iron: 2mg
Keywords: cake, Coconut, coconut milk, lemon curd
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?don't forget to share a picture and mention @iwashyoudry on Instagram or tag #iwashyoudry!

About the author

Shawn is the Owner and Creator of I Wash You Dry. She loves to create and share simple, family-friendly recipes. Mom to 5 adorable children and dwells in the desert of Southern Utah.
26 Responses
  1. Lisa

    Hi! I totally want to make this for Easter!

    Quick question – I don’t know why I am not understanding. Ha! So excuse me if this is a silly question!! Haha You mention cutting the two layers in half, then you will get 4 layers. But when the cake is complete won’t it just be a “half” cake rather than a full cake? …. I’m sure I’m reading this wrong but wanted to check!

    1. Shawn

      You’ll want to slice the cakes horizontally, not vertically. You’ll bake two round cakes, cutting each round into two (creating a total of four round layers).

  2. Erin Eidsvik

    I was looking for something to bring to a welcome back party on Easter Sunday and found this recipe! I love the sweetness of coconut and the tartness of the lemon mixed together, and the peep on top just fits the Easter theme so perfectly! I messed up one of my three layers buy it falling in half, so we got to try the cake before we went to the party, so delicious. I made homemade custard from this recipe: Didn’t have any coconut extract but it was still perfect! THANK YOU!

  3. Donna Wilder

    I’m new to your blog and now feel like I can’t live without it!!! Your recipes are just my style, creative, simple and delicious!
    Thank you for all the inspiration!!!

  4. Kat

    I have made all of the components for this cake and plan to put it all together tomorrow for my birthday. Now I just have to stop myself from eating all of the fabulous frosting and lemon curd before tomorrow morning! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  5. Christa

    Mmmmm I just made this but in my house cakes don’t really get eaten, so I made coconut cupcakes filled with the lemon curd. Was delicious! Thank you so much for the wonderful recipe. I was going to attach a picture but it won’t let me.

    1. Beth

      How did you fill the cupcakes? I am making carrot cake cupcakes for Easter and this would be a great addition to desert! I have never made filled cupcakes, can you elaborate?

  6. kathy

    is the coconut sweetened or unsweetened. Any hints on what to use to cut the cake. It looks wonderful, I love the idea of lemon and coconut

  7. Maureen

    This cake is so heavenly! The lemon curd is so mouth-watering. The whole cake itself is very mouth-watering! The combination of lemon and coconut is just outstanding!

  8. Kat @ Curls'n'Chard

    Oh gosh, this cake sounds so delicious! I would probably make the cake from scratch instead of a box mix, but apart from that, it sounds right up my alley <3

    1. Shawn

      You could definitely make the cake from scratch. I tried a few variations but found that the box mix just held up better. Maybe you would have more luck! 🙂 Thanks Kat!

  9. Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel

    Um, first of all, I hope you ditched that friend – she’s no good if she teases you with a moist and fabulous coconut cake and then won’t give you the recipe! LAME. Second, I’d love ALL of this cake in my face right now. Like, now now. Give it to meeeee.

    1. Shawn

      Don’t worry I have long since talked with this lady. And thanks! This cake is so wonderful, I know you’ll love it! 🙂

  10. arjgn

    This reminds me of a “pie” my mother-in-law used to make for her older brother. It was homemade lemon curd sandwiched between layers of light meringue and then frosted with whipped cream. It was called “Kiss Pie” for a reason! I only ate it once, but it was delicious!

    This version sounds absolutely decadent! Thanks for sharing!

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Shawn Syphus

Hi, I’m Shawn and I’m a busy mom of five; pretending to live on a budget. I love to cook, and explore new recipes, but they have to be quick and easy with as few dishes as possible.

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