This cake is truly one of the best lemon cakes you will ever taste, and has been one of the most widely popular layer cakes amongst my friends and family for many years. The tang of lemon curd marries perfectly with velvety coconut buttercream in this delicious cake, and creates a perfect harmony between layers of luscious lemon cream cheese cake. I’m yet to find anyone who is not succumbed by this cake, with the sweet aroma of coconut mingled with tantalising lemon curd in a treat that makes this layer cake a delight for all the senses.
- If this is your first time making a layer cake or you encounter any problems while making it, I would highly recommend referring to my post on Layer Cake Basics.
- If this is your first time making swiss meringue buttercream or you encounter any problems while making it, I would highly recommend referring to my post on Swiss Meringue Buttercream Basics.
- A thick lemon curd consistency is essential to filling this layer cake. If the curd is too runny – your precious cake layers will slide off each other resulting in a deconstructed lemon cake rather than the beautiful layer cake you had envisioned. That being said, remember that the curd will also thicken significantly once cooled, so if you reach what you think is the right consistency while it’s hot and still cooking, you’ve gone too far. I find the easiest way to tell if it’s done is by placing a small spoonful of curd on a plate and allowing it a minute or so to cool. If it maintains it’s structure and doesn’t spread, it’s ready. The curd can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge (just try not to eat it all before you make your cake!).
Lemon Curd and Coconut Cake
Lemon cake layers are filled with tangy lemon curd and covered in velvety coconut buttercream in the best lemon and coconut layer cake you will ever taste.
Lemon Cream Cheese Cake
- 200g unsalted butter, softened
- 150g cream cheese, softened
- 300g caster sugar
- Zest of 1 large lemon
- 1 tsp vanilla paste
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 250g plain flour
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- 3 large egg yolks
- 80g caster sugar
- 45g unsalted butter
- Zest of 1 large lemon (2–3 tsp)
- Juice of 1 ½ large lemons (60ml or 1/4 cup)
Coconut Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 3 large egg whites
- 135g caster sugar
- 200g unsalted butter, softened
- 1–2 tsp good-quality coconut essence
Lemon Cream Cheese Cake
- Preheat oven to 175°C (155°C fan-forced) and grease or line two 15cm (6”) cake pans with greaseproof paper.
- Beat butter, cream cheese, sugar, zest and vanilla in free-standing mixer with paddle attachment until thick and pale.
- Slowly add eggs, one at a time, ensuring to scrape the bowl with a spatula in between each addition until smooth.
- Sift flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl, then slowly add to batter on low speed until just combined. Take care not to overbeat.
- Divide batter evenly between cake pans, weighting pans to ensure equal volume.
- Bake in pre-heated oven for approximately 50-55 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean.
- Lightly whisk egg yolks and sugar together in large clean bowl until pale and thick but not frothy.
- Melt butter, lemon juice and zest together in a medium saucepan over low heat.
- Add egg yolk and sugar mixture to saucepan and stir constantly over low-medium heat until in turns a deep yellow colour, and thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon (approximately 10 minutes). The easiest way to tell if it’s done is by placing a small spoonful of curd on a plate and allowing it a minute or so to cool. If it is thick and doesn’t spread, it’s ready.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. If not using immediately, pour cooled curd into sterilised jar and keep in fridge.
Coconut Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- Place egg whites and caster sugar in heatproof bowl over small saucepan of simmering water, ensuring the base of the bowl does not touch the water.
- Allow the sugar to dissolve, whisking intermittently, heating to 65°C to ensure egg whites are pasteurised.
- Allow mixture to cool to room temperature, then whisk in free-standing mixer until white, glossy, soft meringue peaks form.
- Very slowly add small 1cm cubes of softened butter, then coconut essence, and continue whisking until buttercream is light and fluffy.
- Assembling this cake is easiest when the cake is slightly chilled, and the buttercream and curd are at room temperature.
- Level each cake by slicing off the cake domes, then cut them in half lengthways to yield four cake layers in total. Use the base of one layer for the base of the cake, and the base of the other layer (turned upside down) for the top of the cake to avoid crumbs in the buttercream.
- Place the first layer on a round cake plate or turn-table and spread a thin layer of frosting on the top, smoothing with a palate knife. Pipe a frosting dam of buttercream around the edge of the cake layer. Place 1/3 of the lemon curd on top of the frosting and gently spread it evenly to the edges of the frosting dam. The frosting dam will prevent lemon curd oozing out of your cake. Repeat frosting (including piping a frosting dam) and filling with lemon curd between each cake layer.
- Cover the top and sides of the cake in a thin layer of frosting, allowing portions of cake to show through, giving a ‘naked’ appearance. Allow to chill for a couple of hours or overnight.
- Decorate with fresh flowers, then serve at room temperature.
Makes a four layer 15cm (6”) cake and serves 8-12 people
You may also like:
Coconut Raspberry Cake with Lemon Curd
Lemon and Blueberry Layer Cake + Cream Cheese Frosting
Lemon and Elderflower Syrup Cake
Looks delicious Salam!
I really enjoy making your recipes but would like to make a bigger version of this one, is it easy to scale up?
I know that sometimes it’s not as simple as doubling the recipe!
Thanks so much for the query. I’m delighted to hear you’ve been baking and enjoying my cakes. This is one of my favourites (and one of my most requested cakes), so I hope you love it! I have scaled it up on a couple of special occasions to a 4-layer 8” (20cm) cake before and it came out beautifully and fed about 24-26 people. From memory, I believe I doubled the entire recipe, used 2 x 8” pans baked it for 5-10 minutes longer, but please use this as a rough guide because unfortunately I didn’t record the details. Also, especially if doubling the recipe, you may not need all the lemon curd, so take care as you don’t want to overfill the cake with excess curd – it will ooze out the sides and your layers will slide off each other. In regards to the buttercream – if you prefer the naked look – doubling the quantity should be fine, but if you want to frost it completely you will likely need more (2.5x the recipe I would estimate instead of 2x). Hope that helps and please use those as general guidelines, but adjust to your oven and personal preferences.
Thank you and sorry for incorrect spelling of your name! Not me but silly autocorrect 😬
Would using gluten free plain flour work okay for this recipe?
Thanks for the query. A few people have told me they’ve used gluten-free plain flour for this recipe with great results, although I haven’t personally tried it myself. Just be mindful that the cake overall may have a slightly different flavour/texture depending on your the actual base of the flour is that you are using. I often turn to one of my favourite bloggers and bakers Alanna Taylor-Tobin of The Bojon Gourmet blog when making gluten free goods, as they always turn out perfectly, so I would recommend browsing her site as well for any similar recipe/flavour combinations, or perhaps just a great cake base if you are keen to stick with the lemon curd and buttercream from this recipe. Hope that helps and happy baking!
I made this for my birthday party. Doubled the recipe and cooked 2 x 23cm cakes which I split to give a total of 4 layers. Served ~18 people. A lovely recipe. The curd is amazing in it. And I really enjoyed the coconut flavour of the buttercream. My only challenge was that there were lots of air pockets in the cake. Any suggestions? I’ve made it twice. The second time folding the dry ingredients in by hand to try to avoid this but it didn’t make a difference. Also banged the cakes on counter before baking to remove any air trapped.
Thanks for the recipe!
Thanks so much for your comments. I’m delighted to hear you and your guests enjoyed the flavours, it’s hard to go past the divine lemon curd and coconut flavours, isn’t it. I’m so sorry that you noticed air pockets in your cake. If they were very fine – this does tend to happen with the rise of this cake. If they were larger and detracting from the overall appearance of the cake – this ideally shouldn’t occur. It sounds like you’ve already tried a few measures to fix this. Other techniques I could suggest would be 1) ensuring the batter isn’t over beaten, 2) when pouring the batter into the pans, try to pour it all in the middle and then spreading it out to prevent large pockets forming when transferring the batter into the pans and 3) I sometimes use a blunt knife or fork to poke the cake batter to ‘pop’ any possible pockets that may have occurred during transfer, then smooth the top and then give it a tap on the counter. Hope these tips help and thanks again for baking this cake, hope it was a very happy birthday!
I made this cake for a wedding and it turned out beautifully. Such a simple recipe for a high quality cake!
Thanks for the lovely comments. This cake does make a beautiful wedding cake doesn’t it! I originally made it for my sister for her wedding (and numerous times afterwards!) and it is always such a crowd pleaser. So glad to hear you enjoyed it and hope the bride and groom were excited too.