Baker-Procrastinator: Lemon Coconut Cake

Beat the rainy weather with this light and exotic cake

Lemon and coconut cake

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If you were to draw a Venn diagram of remedying both an empty, lonely kitchen and a cake-shaped void in your study-procrastination ritual while stuck on campus during Easter, you would inevitably end up with a circle. In terms of a two-birds-one-stone solution, this takes the cake.

Baking at home is cushy and to be honest, not much of a challenge, what with your mother’s pantry and array of cooking apparatus at your fingertips. No, the brave among us do things the old fashioned way, armed only with the sole silicone baking tray from Morrisons, a large bowl you’ve nicked from your flatmate’s cupboard, a wooden spoon and pure, unadulterated elbow grease.

The result of tired arms, worrying if the butter and sugar were properly creamed and many licked spoons? A beautiful lemon coconut cake with lemon cream cheese icing that could convince even the staunchest coconut-hater and the strictest buttercream icing purist to eat their words. Fairly literally.

For the cake:
125g plain flour
150g softened unsalted butter
150g caster sugar
3 eggs
25g desiccated coconut
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon milk

For the icing:
250g cream cheese
310g icing sugar
juice of half a lemon
desiccated coconut


  • Preheat the oven to 160˚C.
  • For the icing, whip the cream cheese, icing sugar and lemon juice together until slightly translucent and creamy. Place in the fridge for at least an hour to thicken.
  • Grease and line your cake tin.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together for eight to ten minutes until most of the grains of sugar have disappeared and the mixture has turned pale yellow.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix in the milk, lemon juice, sour cream and desiccated coconut.
  • Sift in the flour and baking powder and fold the batter together.
  • Spoon the thick batter into the cake tin, shaking it slightly from side to side until the mixture is evenly spread and fills the corners.
  • Bake on the middle shelf in the oven for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. After the first 15 minutes, increase the oven’s temperature to 180˚C.
  • Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 15 minutes before removing it to cool completely.
  • Spread the cream cheese icing over the top and sides of the cake, and cover with desiccated coconut. Depending on the depth of your cake tin, you could cut the cake in half and spread some of the cream cheese icing on one half, before sandwiching it together with the other half.
  • Find a waterfowl-free spot on the grass and serve as the impressive centrepiece of a picnic.

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