Coconut Cake with Lemon Coconut Frosting

Coconut cake with lemon coconut frosting.

As you may know, Jesse’s 32nd birthday was New Year’s eve. I always like to do something special for him and this year, I let him choose his cake. Usually I pick it completely, but I guess I still kind of picked it because I showed him different options, but he made the final decision.

Anyway, the cake recipe is compliments of The Food Lovers Kitchen from their cookbook, Make it Paleo. I’ve made this cake two other times, but it turned out the best this time around. Three’s a charm, right? Don’t get me wrong, it was delicious before, but there were a few things I needed to toy with to perfect it. The only ingredient change I make with this recipe is that I swap out the maple syrup for raw honey since maple is a no-go for me. In terms of directions, I bake the cake for less time than the recipe states, and instead of a four-layer cake, I stick with two layers.

Two layers is easier to work with than four.

The lemon coconut frosting is compliments of The Detoxinista. I doubled her recipe after realizing a single batch was not enough for the whole cake. I listed the double recipe below. This frosting is fantastic by the way. It’s the first time I’ve ever made it. When I’ve made this cake before, I made a frosting from dripped 24-hour yogurt. This makes the yogurt a bit thicker and sort of cream cheese-like (a little runnier though). Making The Detoxinista’s recipe was actually a lot less fuss. Plus, I didn’t have any yogurt ready and didn’t have enough time for all the waiting. I think the lemon coconut frosting will be my go-to whenever I make this cake from now on though.


For the frosting:

  • 3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2/3 cup full-fat coconut milk, at room temp (or almond milk, which the recipe calls for, but I didn’t have any made)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp raw honey
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  1. Measure out all the ingredients and toss into the blender. Make sure to measure out the coconut flour exactly — it’s dense, so a little extra can throw the recipe off. Also, this can not be done with a hand mixer or whisk. You need to use a blender and be patient!
  2. Blend for 30-45 seconds or until everything is mixed together well. Pour into a bowl once done. FYI it will not be thick yet.
  3. Place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours to set. The frosting will be runny after you first mix it, but it does firm up in the refrigerator. Just be patient! I recommend letting it sit overnight.
  4. Before using, remove from refrigerator and mix well. Then, let the frosting soften to room temperature a bit. This will make it easier to spread.

For the cake:

  • 3/4 cup coconut flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup raw honey (or maple syrup)
  • 10 eggs, preferably pasture-raised (Yes, 10 eggs! Coconut flour needs a lot of moisture.)
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut plus a little extra for garnishing, if desired

The cakes, post baking.

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl, add sifted coconut flour, salt, and baking soda.
  3. In a large bowl or kitchen mixer, combine eggs, vanilla, honey and melted coconut oil. If you don’t have a kitchen mixer, use a hand mixer. It works just fine.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet and continue blend.
  5. Once batter is blended and smooth, stir in shredded coconut by hand.
  6. Line two 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper and grease the sides of the pans with coconut oil. Pour batter evenly into both pans.
  7. Bake for 25 – 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. My cakes were perfect after about 26 minutes.
  8. Remove cakes from the oven and cool.
  9. Frost one of the cake tops with the lemon coconut frosting and then, stack the other cake on top (stack it top-facing up, flat side down). Then, frost the entire top and sides of the cake. Garnish with a little unsweetened coconut flakes, if desired.
  10. Store any uneaten cake in the refrigerator, as it is perishable.
Wonder what he wished for...
Wonder what he wished for…
Birthday cake beauty.
Birthday cake beauty.

58 thoughts on “Coconut Cake with Lemon Coconut Frosting

  1. Leah January 3, 2013 / 10:34 am

    This cake looks fantastic. I have a HUGE sweet tooth so I can’t wait to give this a try!

    • paleoinpdx January 3, 2013 / 10:38 am

      It definitely is! It’s my favorite grain-free dessert that I’ve tried. It’s a great special occasion cake, especially since it’s kinda pricey to make, but it’s worth every penny.

  2. Megan January 3, 2013 / 10:48 am

    Holy moly, 10 eggs! That’s an extra carton for the week.

  3. paleoinpdx January 3, 2013 / 11:06 am

    That’s partly why I deem it a special occasion cake. It’s expensive to make! 1 cup coconut oil, 1 cup raw honey and 10 pastured eggs. Ingredient-dense! It’s totally worth it though!

  4. paleoptdoc January 3, 2013 / 11:28 am

    It looks delish! Can’t wait to try it!

  5. Randy Boboltz January 3, 2013 / 11:45 am

    Why am I not surprised that you usually pick the cake!

    • paleoinpdx January 3, 2013 / 11:48 am

      Haha 😉 Maybe I get it from mom … like the year she picked a “healthy” brown oatmeal cake that had zero frosting. I think that was my 12th birthday. What 12-year old wants that?

  6. Cinnamoneats January 3, 2013 / 11:54 am

    Shame Joe doesn’t like coconut too much… I think this one would be too coconutty for him hmmm maybe I can make it just for myself haha 😉

    • paleoinpdx January 3, 2013 / 11:59 am

      I don’t understand how one can not like coconut! He’s missing out on so much good stuff! I’d make the cake anyway … and you never know, he might like it 😉 To me, the cake tastes kinda pineapple-y too. It’s SO good!

      • Cinnamoneats January 3, 2013 / 12:26 pm

        Haha I know! Last night (after eating a slice of the cake mind you) he goes to me… you put coconut in this cake didn’t you and I said yep there’s coconut oil and coconut flour in there and he’s like but you know I don’t like coconut and I’m like ummm you just ate a whole slice of cake lol!

      • paleoinpdx January 3, 2013 / 1:04 pm

        That’s funny! He obviously liked it, but probably wouldn’t have eaten it if he knew about the coconut beforehand. Way to sneak around it 😉

      • Cinnamoneats January 3, 2013 / 4:03 pm

        Haha I know! Well there was coconut oil and flour in the brownies as well so… 😉

  7. Shonnie January 3, 2013 / 1:59 pm

    I am gonna rebog cuz I have to try this! Love you girl!

      • Shonnie January 3, 2013 / 2:39 pm

        You are welcome. I really want to have paleo friendly deserts, because that seriously works well for my food controlled Type II diabetes. I still have to be careful with starchy veggies like the squash, but it is sooo nice to have these on hand so that I can enjoy them on special occasions.

      • paleoinpdx January 3, 2013 / 2:57 pm


  8. teresasdreams January 4, 2013 / 1:06 pm

    Wow, this looks delicious!! I usually make myself a cake for my birthday in March, and I might have to try this instead of the sugary cakes of past years.

    • paleoinpdx January 4, 2013 / 1:20 pm

      It’s wonderful! I’ll probably make it again for my birthday, which is also in March 😉

      • teresasdreams January 4, 2013 / 5:47 pm

        I may make 1/2 a batch the first time…I’m afraid having that much cake around the house would be way too tempting for me! Excited to try it though…it’ll be worth the wait!

      • paleoinpdx January 4, 2013 / 6:42 pm

        Haha, yeah … it’s a little dangerous. Especially if you don’t have others to share it with!

  9. Jill January 4, 2013 / 3:29 pm

    Would it be okay if I halved this recipe and only made one single layer in a 9 x 9 pan? Thanks.

    • paleoinpdx January 4, 2013 / 3:31 pm

      Yes, I imagine it’ll work just fine.

    • paleoinpdx January 4, 2013 / 9:02 pm

      It tastes fabulous too 😉

  10. grokgrub January 7, 2013 / 6:36 am

    One thing I’ve learned (and I just learned this, I’m firmly a baking amateur) is to trim the cake after baking in order to get smooth vertical sides and a flat top if the domed look isn’t your favorite. I did this and the finished cake looked bakery-perfect!

    • paleoinpdx January 7, 2013 / 8:44 am

      Good to know! I don’t worry too much about it being perfect, especially when it’s just for Jesse and me. I like it looking a bit more rustic with a domed top anyway 😉 I don’t have a real frosting spreader, so trimming the cake and spreading the frosting on with a spatula or butter knife could be detrimental. I’d be kind of afraid of trimming it anyway since it’s coconut flour, which tends to be a bit more delicate. I’m glad it worked out for you though!

      • grokgrub January 10, 2013 / 5:09 pm

        I didn’t have a real frosting spreader, either, so applying the frosting was tricky, you’re right!

      • paleoinpdx January 10, 2013 / 9:43 pm

        It’d be handy to have one, but at the same time, I rarely make cakes!

  11. Nikki February 10, 2013 / 12:30 pm

    I’m looking for a basic cake recipe and remembered how good this one looked…could you tell me a bit about the texture? Is it a heavier, moister cake or lighter/spongier? Thanks!!!

    • paleoinpdx February 10, 2013 / 12:49 pm

      It’s really moist and sort of in the middle between heavy and light, if that makes any sense? I can’t recommend this cake enough…it’s my favorite! I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

      • Nikki February 10, 2013 / 2:18 pm

        Thanks! I’m working on a green tea cake and thinking of adapting this recipe. I think I’ll give it a go! 🙂

      • paleoinpdx February 10, 2013 / 2:25 pm

        Ooo, that sounds great!

  12. stacey March 4, 2013 / 7:12 am

    I made this cake for a friend’s birthday this weekend and it was such a hit. My friend is diabetic so I halved the amount of honey and replaced it with a bit of stevia in both the cake and the frosting. I upped the lemon juice a bit to hide the bitterness of the stevia. (And I added an extra egg to make up for the lesser amount of liquid provided by the honey.)

    This recipe is a keeper. Thank you!!!! Satisfied the myriad of allergies/aversions that I’m avoiding on behalf of family and friends.

    • paleoinpdx March 4, 2013 / 8:28 am

      Wonderful! I’m glad you were able to successfully modify it for your friend! I agree, this recipe definitely is a keeper! I think I’m going to make it again for Easter 🙂

  13. grokgrub March 4, 2013 / 9:18 pm

    I’m thinking of using this as a cream cheese frosting substitute for a carrot cake I’m concocting. Think it’ll suit?

  14. Corinn April 11, 2014 / 2:48 pm

    Hi! I would LOVE to make this for Easter but I’m on a completely sugar free diet right now due to candida. How much “Just Like Sugar” would I use to substitute the honey? Thanks!

    • paleoinpdx April 11, 2014 / 9:30 pm

      Sorry, Corinn, but I really don’t know the answer to that. I have no idea what, “Just Like Sugar” is and have never heard of it. Try searching online to see what the equivalent is to 1-cup of liquid sweetener.

      • Corinn April 20, 2014 / 10:07 am

        OMG it was so delicious!!! We’re ecstatic!!! I was even inappropriately licking out the blender after I made the icing. :-/ lol For anybody else the does a keto paleo diet, honey is 25% sweeter than sugar. The substitute we use “Just Like Sugar” is all natural & converts cup for cup with sugar. For the icing, in place of the honey, I used a little more than half a cup of my sugar sub & added 2 tbsp extra coconut milk. For the cake, I used 1 and 1/4 cup of my sugar substitute & added 2 tbsp of coconut milk instead of the honey!!! 🙂

      • paleoinpdx April 20, 2014 / 3:31 pm

        Glad you liked it and found a way to make it work for you. Cheers!

  15. Miranda April 20, 2014 / 2:14 pm

    How do you get the frosting smooth? It came out crumbly

    • paleoinpdx April 20, 2014 / 3:30 pm

      I’ve never had that problem, so I’m not sure. Did you veer off the directions by chance and not blend it in a blender? Mine has always come out smooth when I’ve made it. The only thing I can think of is that your coconut flour didn’t get mixed well enough. This could happen if you mixed it by hand.

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