Easy Homemade Coconut Lemon Cake

Coconut lemon cake with toasted coconut icing

The Spruce / Christine Benlafquih

  • Total: 60 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 40 mins
  • Toasting Coconut: 10 mins
  • Yield: 12 to 16 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
257 Calories
13g Fat
33g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12 to 16 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 257
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 17%
Saturated Fat 4g 22%
Cholesterol 55mg 18%
Sodium 236mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 33g 12%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Protein 3g
Calcium 100mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Boxed cake mixes aren't very popular in Morocco, where traditional cakes such as meskouta are almost always made from scratch and are regarded as quick, simple treats to make for dessert or tea time. This coconut and lemon cake is equally easy to make, and you'll find the few extra minutes spent measuring out ingredients to be well worth your time.


  • For the Cake:
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 g) granulated sugar
  • 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cups (120 g) grated unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) milk
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • For the Icing and Garnish:
  • 1 cup (125 g) powdered sugar (sifted)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons cream or milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup (45 g) toasted, sweetened coconut*

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Preheat your oven to 350 F / 180 C. Grease and flour your cake pan(s). Zest and juice the lemon.

  3. With an electric mixer or by hand, beat together the eggs and sugar until thick. Gradually beat in the oil, then beat in the vanilla, lemon juice, and zest.

  4. Stir in the flour, coconut, baking powder and salt, and then the milk. Beat until smooth, 

  5. Pour the batter into your prepared pan(s). Bake in the middle of your preheated oven until the cake tests done – approximately 25 to 30 minutes for layers; 35 to 40 minutes for oblong; 40 minutes for a tube or bundt pan.

  6. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes. Carefully loosen the cake from the sides of the pan with a spatula, then turn out the cake onto a rack to finish cooling.

  7. To decorate the cooled cake, mix the sifted powdered sugar and vanilla with enough cream or milk to a spreadable consistency. Spread the icing in a thin layer over the top of the cake, and dust the icing with toasted coconut.

  8. Allow the icing to set before serving.

*Note: To make toasted coconut, spread the grated unsweetened coconut in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 F / 180 C for 5 to 8 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove from the oven, mix in a few tablespoons of powdered sugar, and leave to cool. Cover and store until needed.


  • You'll need one or two fresh lemons for zest and juice.
  • When baking the cake, use any standard shape pan; I like to bake the cake as two individual 9" layers, which are then served by cutting into wedges.
  • Keep things simple and offer the cake plain with no frosting, or dress it up as shown with a light coating of vanilla-flavored icing and toasted coconut.