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Dairy-Free Coconut Lemon Layer Cake

A dairy-free version of rich coconut cake with a citrus twist.
Cuisine Dessert
Servings 8 big pieces
Author Ashley



  • 1 ½ cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 3 1/4 cups cake flour spooned and swept
  • 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 13.5 oz can coconut milk
  • ¼ cup + 2 tbsp stirred sweetened cream of coconut (such as Coco Lopez)
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 ½ tsps pure vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 16 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3 large eggs

Dairy Free Lemon Curd

  • 4-5 lemons
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 egg yolk

For the frosting:

  • 1 can (13-15oz) of cream of coconut
  • 1 ½ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup to 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut to top the cake


For the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Generously coat 3 (9 inch) round cake pans with coconut oil and flour the pan, discarding excess.
  2. Place shredded coconut in bowl of food processor and pulse until very finely chopped.
  3. In large mixing bowl, combine the chopped coconut, flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the coconut milk, cream of coconut, egg whites, vanilla and lemon zest until completely blended.
  5. In bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the sugar and coconut oil on high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium low and beat in the 3 whole eggs, one at a time, until well combined. Add the flour mixture, alternating with the coconut milk mixture, to the creamed oil and sugar mixture, starting and ending with the flour.
  6. Divide batter equally in the 3 prepared pans. Bake for about 35 minutes or until the layers are light golden and set (you can check with a toothpick to make sure it comes out clean). Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove to wire racks and cool completely prior to assembly.

For the lemon curd:

  1. Wash the lemons well and zest 2 of them. Mix the zest with the sugar in a small bowl and rub the mixture between your fingers to bring out the flavor of the zest. Set aside.
  2. Roll the lemons under your palm to prime the juice. Juice the lemons until you have ¾ cup of juice. Strain seeds.
  3. Add the juice, lemon sugar and salt to a saucepan. Warm over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved.
  4. Beat the eggs and egg yolk together in a medium bowl. While whisking constantly, pour the warm lemon mixture into the eggs. Continue to beat for a minute or so then return the mixture to the sauce pan over low heat. Whisk constantly until mixture thickens about 10-15 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
  5. Lemon curd can be transferred to glass jar or airtight container and kept refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

For the frosting:

  1. Store the cream of coconut in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Open and drain any liquid that has separated and discard.
  2. Beat the cream of coconut in a stand mixer or with beaters and add the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla, and continue to beat until mixture becomes somewhat fluffy.

To assemble the cake:

  1. Even off the top of the cake layers as needed. Place one layer on a cake stand and spread half of the lemon curd over it. Top with the next cake layer and spread the rest of the lemon curd.
  2. Top with third cake layer. Frost the top and sides with the frosting, and cover with the shredded coconut to your liking.