Sometimes you’re not looking for a super fancy dessert but are more in the mood for something that totally satisfies the urge for sweet and hits the spot with your cup of coffee or tea. A slice of coconut lemon cake is just that kind of cake.
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Similar to pound cake, coconut lemon cake is a perfect dessert or treat for all occasions. Made with coconut milk, shredded coconut and a little rum (totally optional), it is baked in a Bundt pan. Casual yet so scrumptious. Try popping a slice into the toaster for a tasty breakfast treat.
I have made this cake several times and you can be creative with the ingredients. Switch up the lemon juice for orange or lime for a different flavor.
You can even leave the citrus out all together for a plain yet delicious cake.
Preparing to make coconut lemon cake
Begin by gathering the ingredients and allowing the butter and eggs to come to room temperature. I usually add 2 teaspoons of rum to the batter but this time, since I had it, I added a coconut rum. Either is good!
Using a microplane, zester or grater, zest the whole lemon.
Slice the lemon in half and juice one of the halves.
Using your fingers, rub the zest into the sugar.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. You can do this by placing the ingredients into a fine mesh strainer. Shake back-and-forth and tap the side with your hand until the mixture sifts through.
Give the can of coconut milk a good shake and pour into a small saucepan. Add the butter.
Heat until the milk is hot and the butter is melted. Remove from the heat.
Add the sugar and eggs to a large mixer bowl.
Using a whisk attachment if you have one or use the beaters with a hand mixer, beat the sugar and eggs at medium-high speed until thick and almost doubled in volume, about 3 minutes.
Add the vanilla and rum (if using) and beat to combine.
Adding the dry ingredients
Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients.
Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat just until the flour is incorporated.
With the mixer on low, add the coconut, mixing just until blended.
Slowly but steadily, pour in the milk, butter, juice and zest mixture and continue mixing until smooth. Run a spatula around the bottom of the bowl to be sure all of the flour is mixed in.
Pour the batter into a prepared pan and bake for 60-65 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes on a rack before removing from the pan and then allow the cake to cool completely.
Serve coconut lemon cake plain, dusted with a little confectioners sugar or add frosting (recipe below).
Coconut Lemon Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk (stir well before measuring)
- 1/2 stick (4 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- zest of one lemon
- 4 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp dark rum (optional, but so good)
- 3/4 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened or sweetened), toasted or not
- 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon butter, melted
- 1 1/2 tablespoons milk, cream or orange juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter a 9- or 10-inch (10-to-12-cup) Bundt pan, or use an unbuttered silicone pan.
Don’t place the pan on a baking sheet because you want the oven’s heat to circulate through the inner tube.
Using your fingers, rub the lemon zest into the sugar.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together.
Pour the coconut milk into a small saucepan, add the butter and lemon juice (if using) and heat until the milk is hot and the butter is melted. Remove from the heat, but keep warm.
Working with a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar at medium-high speed until pale, thick and almost doubled in volume, about 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and the rum, if you’re using it.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed and stopping just when the flour is incorporated.
Keeping the mixer on low, add the coconut, mixing only until it is blended, then steadily add the hot milk and butter. When the mixture is smooth, stop mixing and give the batter a couple of turns with a rubber spatula, just to make certain that any dry ingredients that might have fallen to the bottom of the bowl are incorporated.
Pour the batter into the pan and give the pan a few back-and-forth shakes to even the batter.
Bake for 60-65 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a thin knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean.
Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before unmolding onto the rack to cool to room temperature.
In a small bowl, add the frosting ingredients and stir until smooth and combined, adding additional liquid to desired consistency.
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