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Lemon Coconut Naked Cake with Lemon Curd

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Lemon Coconut Cake. Three layers of fluffy, moist lemon cake, generously frosted with the sweetest coconut buttercream, then filled with a bright and tangy lemon curd. So yummy! Every bite of cake is melt in your mouth delicious and perfectly balanced between lemon and coconut.

three layers of naked lemon coconut cake with yellow flower son top on a white cake plate, a cake knife, bowl of shredded coconut, and white flowers around on marble surface.

With Spring a little less than a month away, we thought it was finally time to share a dessert that really tasted (and looked) like Spring! Honestly, it’s been a a little while since we shared our last lemon recipe and it’s been even LONGER since we shared something with coconut. So, we thought we would combine the two and share a simple, yet delicious springtime dessert!

What We Learned During Development & Testing (So You Don’t Have To Make The Same Mistakes!)

When writing this recipe, we originally wrote this recipe with cake flour and sour cream, as we wanted the cake to be super light, fluffy, but still sturdy. The end result was sticky, flat, a little dense, and all around not really what we were looking for in this cake.

We kept the recipe the same, but swapped out the sour cream for buttermilk, as we thought maybe the sour cream was making the cakes a little more dense than we wanted. This test resulted in the same sticky cakes, but now sunk in the middle.

From there, we went back to the drawing board and rewrote the recipe for all-purpose flour and buttermilk. This produced the light, fluffy, tender, and moist cake we were looking for, similar to our lemon blueberry cake.

And through this process, we found that not every cake pan bakes equal. We had two Wilton 6 inch cake pans and 1 Fat Daddio cake pan clean and ready to bake. The two layers in the Wilton cake pans, while beautifully baked, were pale and soft. The cake in the Fat Daddio pan was perfectly caramelized on the edges and not as soft, which made them perfect for building this layer cake.

cut three layer lemon coconut cake on white cake plate with yellow flowers on top and slice of cake behind on stack of white plates.
close up of three layer lemon coconut cake on white cake plate.

There Are 3 Delicious Parts To This Lemon Coconut Cake

While this recipe isn’t necessarily difficult to make, there can be a lot going on at once and it’s always nice to know ahead of time. So, let’s get into it.

  • Lemon Cake: Unlike so many of our cakes on the blog, this recipe uses a blend of buttermilk and all-purpose flour to create a light, tender structure that delivers a sturdy cake that’s perfect for stacking.
  • Lemon Curd: This tangy, sweet curd comes together with minimal ingredients and tastes SO much better than store-bought. Bonus? It doesn’t take long to cool down!
  • Coconut Frosting: The frosting for this cake is our standard buttercream recipe, but instead of milk, we used coconut cream to give it a natural and delicious coconut flavor with no need for extracts or flavorings.

What Ingredients You Need To Make This Cake (& Why!)

We found this combo of ingredients to be the perfect blend for this cake.

  • All Purpose Flour – Forms the structure of the cake, providing the base for the other ingredients to bind to.
  • Baking Powder and Baking Soda – These leavening agents react with the acidic ingredients and cause the batter to rise, making the cake light and fluffy.
  • Salt – Enhances the overall flavor of the cake and balances the sweetness.
  • Lemon Zest – The zest is the outer layer of the lemon peel, which contains the essential oils. It imparts intense, fresh lemon flavor to the cake.
  • Granulated Sugar – Provides sweetness, helps to tenderize the cake, and gives the cake a beautiful golden-brown crust.
  • Unsalted Butter – Adds richness, tenderness, and a lovely buttery flavor. Creamed with the sugar, it traps air bubbles that help the cake rise.
  • Eggs – Contribute structure, richness, and act as a binder, holding the ingredients together. They also help with leavening.
  • Buttermilk – Adds a subtle tanginess that complements the lemon flavor. The acid in buttermilk reacts with the baking soda for extra lift and tenderness.
  • Lemon Juice – Provides a fresh, tart flavor boost and contributes some moisture to the batter.
  • Vanilla Extract – Enhances the overall flavor profile, adding a touch of warmth and sweetness.
ingredients for lemon coconut cake.

⊹ Tip For Success! ⊹

Remember to set your eggs, butter, and milk out ahead of time (they need to be room temperature before mixing). This will ensure the batter is perfect every time.

How To Make This Lemon Coconut Cake

The first step to this recipe is to make the cake. Since this recipe is a little more involved than an oil-based cake, we have provided step-by-step directions and photos to help you make this cake perfectly every time!

Step 1: Whisk the dry ingredients

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest together. Set aside.

Step 2: Prepare batter

Combine butter and sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Once all eggs are added, continue beating until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.

Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

Stir in lemon juice and vanilla.

Step 3: Bake

Divide batter evenly among prepared pans. Bake for 30 minutes, or until cake tests done.

Grab The Ingredients For The Curd

  • Granulated Sugar – Balances the tartness from the lemon juice and contributes to the smooth, jam-like texture of the curd. The sugar granules become coated in the egg mixture, creating a thick and creamy consistency.
  • Egg Yolks – The essential thickener in lemon curd. As the yolk proteins cook gently, they coagulate, transforming the liquid mixture into a luscious, velvety cream. They also add richness and a beautiful pale yellow color.
  • Lemon Juice – Provides both the signature bright and tangy lemon flavor and essential acidity. The acid helps with the coagulation of the egg yolks, contributing to the thickening of the curd.
  • Lemon Zest – The outer yellow layer of the lemon peel, containing potent essential oils. The zest infuses the curd with an even more intense lemon flavor and a hint of pleasing bitterness that cuts through the sweetness.
  • Vanilla Extract – While not traditional, a small amount of vanilla complements the lemon flavor and adds a subtle warmth and sweetness that rounds out the taste profile of the curd.
ingredients for lemon curd.

Quick Tip: If you’re in a pinch, you can use store-bought lemon curd.

It’s Super Easy To Make!

One of the easiest things you can make that sounds complicated is a curd. It’s quick, simple, and always comes out perfect. Here’s how to make it:

  1. Whisk together lemon juice, egg yolks, and granulated sugar.
  2. Cook. Place bowl over a pot of simmering water and stir continually until thickened.
  3. Strain through a sieve.
  4. Refrigerate.
lemon curd in glass bowl

Our Favorite Coconut Buttercream Frosting

We’re using our favorite coconut buttercream for this recipe, so you know it’s going to be good! It’s sweet, silky smooth, and oh-so easy to work with. For the frosting you’re only going to need 3 ingredients. Yep. You read that right. Only 3! So, what are they? Well, let’s talk about it.

(The shredded coconut is technically 4, but since it doesn’t go IN the frosting, I’m not counting it 😉)

  • Salted Butter – The base of most buttercreams, providing richness, creaminess, and a delicate salty note to balance the sweetness.
  • Powdered Sugar – The main sweetener, it also gives the frosting its structure and thick, spreadable consistency. Powdered sugar dissolves easily, unlike granulated sugar.
  • Coconut Cream – Adds the essential coconut flavor and a lovely creaminess. This is the thick, fatty portion that separates and rises to the top of a can of full-fat coconut milk.
  • Unsweetened, Dried Coconut – This adds a visual element and an extra layer of coconut flavor and texture. 
frosting ingredients for lemon coconut cake.


Make sure you have coconut cream and not cream of coconut. They are two very different ingredients and cream of coconut will not work in this recipe.

The Frosting Is Made In Only 2 Steps!

3 ingredients. 2 Steps. 1 delicious frosting! Here’s how you make it:

  1. Beat butter and powdered sugar.
  2. Mix in coconut cream.

That’s it! That’s all you need to do to have the fluffiest, most delicious coconut buttercream with all-natural flavors.

coconut buttercream in stand mixer.

How To Assemble This Lemon Coconut Cake

This is my favorite part about baking! I love getting to be creative and have fun. Though with this recipe, I really just wanted to keep it simple and easy. Plus, I love getting to do naked cakes! There’s just something so beautiful in their simplicity, you know?

First, I like to level my cakes. I use a serrated knife, but if you have access to a cake leveler, that would be a great tool to use! Then, we’re onto building.

Spoon about 1/4-1/2 cup of frosting onto your base cake layer. Using a offset spatula, spread the frosting until it’s level and smooth. From there, spoon about 1/2 cup of frosting into a piping bag and snip off the end. Pipe a ring around the edge of the cake. Then, fill with half of the lemon curd.

Repeat the same exact process with the second cake layer. Then, place the 3rd layer on top.

Personally, to finish this cake, I frosted the top with my remaining frosting, swirled a little bit of remaining curd in the middle, then pressed some shredded coconut around the sides of the cake! You can finish this cake however you wish, but this was just a simple way to have a gorgeous, but low-effort cake.

three layers of lemon coconut cake on white cake stand with yellow flowers on top, shredded coconut around on marble surface with white cheese cloth and empty glasses behind.

Recipe FAQ’s

We wouldn’t recommend doing this. As stated above, we found that cake flour made this particular cake dense, sticky, and overall not a great cake. This recipe should be made as-written for best results.

If you would like more coconut flavor in this cake, you can add ½ teaspoon coconut extract in with the vanilla and lemon juice.

Sure! If you don’t want to add curd in-between the layers, that’s fine. The cake will still be equally as delish, just with a little less lemony flavor in every bite.

If you want to make this cake ahead of time, you can store the baked and cooled cake layers covered tightly at room temperature overnight (or in the freezer for 3 months!). The frosting can be prepared then covered and refrigerated overnight. If your cake is frosted, then you can store it, covered, in the fridge for 3-4 days or freeze it for up to 2 months

More Cake Recipes You Will Love

pulled back image of lemon coconut cake on white plate with lemons and shredded coconut around, white flowers, empty glasses, and white cheesecloth on marble surface.

When you make this Lemon Coconut Cake, leave a comment down below! We love hearing from you and answering any questions you might have! Also, be sure to tag us on social media and hashtag it #BakersTable.

Happy baking!
x, Caylie

three layers of naked lemon coconut cake with yellow flower son top on a white cake plate, a cake knife, bowl of shredded coconut, and white flowers around on marble surface.
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Lemon Coconut Naked Cake with Lemon Curd

Get ready to enjoy the fresh, vibrant flavors of spring with this Lemon Coconut Cake! The zesty kick of lemon and the sweet nuttiness of coconut come together in this tender, moist, and oh-so delicious dessert. The perfect treat for bringing a little sunshine to your day!
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 8 slices



  • 2 cups all purpose flour*
  • tsp baking powder
  • teaspoon baking soda
  • teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1⅛ cups granulated sugar
  • 9 Tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
  • 1⅓ cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • Tablespoons lemon juice
  • teaspoon vanilla extract

Lemon Curd

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 3 Tablespoons salted butter, sliced, room temperature


  • cups salted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • cup coconut cream
  • ½ cup unsweetened, dried coconut



  • Heat oven to 350℉.
  • Spray three 6 inch pans with baking spray. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest together. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, combine butter and sugar.
  • Beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Add eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Once all eggs are added, continue beating until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
  • Stir in lemon juice and vanilla.
  • Divide batter evenly among prepared pans.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, or until cake tests done.

Lemon Curd

  • Combine sugar, egg yolks, and lemon juice in a heatproof glass bowl.
  • Whisk until smooth.
  • Place bowl over a pot of simmering water.
  • Stir continually with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until thickened, about 10 minutes.
  • Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl.
  • Whisk in lemon zest and butter.
  • Cover with plastic wrap touching the top of the curd.
  • Set aside until ready to use. Or, if not assembling right away, refrigerate.


  • Combine butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater.
  • Beat on high speed until smooth, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add coconut cream. (Feel free to add more, if you need it.)
  • Beat until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.


  • Trim cake layers, if necessary.
  • Place 1 cake on cake plate (or whatever you are using to hold the cake).
  • Spoon frosting into a piping bag (or zip top bag).
  • Snip the bottom so that you have about a ½ inch hole.
  • Deposit ¼-½ cup of frosting onto cake layer.
  • Spread until smooth and level.
  • Pipe frosting around outer edge of cake layer.
  • Fill center with half of lemon curd.
  • Top with another cake layer.
  • Repeat filling.
  • Top with final layer.
  • Frost top.
  • Press coconut around the sides of the cake.

Notes + Tips!

*This recipe was written using an average of the dip and sweep method for measuring flour and the spoon and level method. If you are using a scale, you will need to add 3/4 oz or 22 g  to the measurement for each cup of flour.
  • Room temperature is about 70℉.
  • Use an oven thermometer to ensure accurate cooking temperatures.
  • To substitute salted butter for the unsalted in the cake, reduce salt to 1/3 tsp.
  • To substitute unsalted butter for the salted in the curd, add a pinch (slightly less than 1/16 teaspoon) of salt.
  • To substitute unsalted butter for the salted in the frosting, add 3/8 teaspoon of salt.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 1143kcal | Carbohydrates: 131g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 68g | Saturated Fat: 44g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 302mg | Sodium: 698mg | Potassium: 246mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 102g | Vitamin A: 1877IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 139mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

When you make this recipe, remember to tag @bakerstble or hashtag it #BakersTable!

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