Lemon Coconut Birthday Cake

April 27, 2016



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April 27th, 2016


A Grain + Dairy Free Recipe:

Lemon Coconut Birthday Cake

Due to some food sensitivities, our family decided to go Paleo earlier this year.  We had been considering it for a while, but it was hard to make the commitment to go grain and dairy free in particular. 

The reason this was especially hard for us is because baking is a part of our lives.  My oldest daughter and I have baked together for every special occasion for years and it is a hobby that we have always enjoyed.

We like to do big, complicated desserts from scratch and it seemed impossible to make them to our standards while staying grain and dairy free.  My favorite thing to bake has always been layer cakes. 

I love the look of a really tall round layer cake, something about it just takes me back to my childhood and how special it felt to have something made just for me.

When my youngest daughter’s birthday came up and she asked for a lemon cake, I thought about going back to my tried and true recipe but hated the idea of having a cake that not everyone in the family could eat.

I am happy to report that the recipe below more then fulfilled our expectations.  Not only did it look amazing, it also tasted like heaven.  It is grain free, dairy free, and refined sugar free.

Although I am OK with a little bit of refined sugar for special occasions, I thought the honey was a perfect pairing with the tart lemon. 

This cake itself is not too sweet and subtly lemony, the addition of the tart lemon curd and rich coconut cream with fresh berries really elevates the cake to sublime. 

I made everything the night before and assembled the day of the party.

We may have eaten the leftover slices for breakfast the next day.

Editors Note: This cake is quite large (4 layers)! If you would like a smaller cake, just cut all ingredients in half and bake one 8” pan instead to make a 2 layer cake.

This recipe was inspired by this blog post.


Lemon Pound Cake
2 cup coconut flour, sifted (200g)
16 eggs
1 3/4 cups plain coconut yogurt
12 tbsp butter
1/2-3/4 cup raw honey
1.5 tbsp vanilla extract
6-8 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp lemon zest
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
½ tsp Cream of Tartar

Honey Sweetened Lemon Curd
16 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup raw honey
10 egg yolks
1 cup lemon juice (fresh squeezed preferred)
dash of sea salt


14 oz can Coconut cream
1-2tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla
1.5-2 pounds fresh berries of your choice


Lemon Cake:

1. Grease two 8” cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper, grease
parchment paper – I like to use ghee, coconut oil and regular butter are also
fine.  Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Sift together coconut flour, baking soda & salt.  Add lemon zest and mix.

3. Using a stand mixer – cream together butter and ½ cup honey.

4. Take six eggs and separate yolks from whites.  Set egg whites aside.

5. Add yolks and vanilla to creamed butter and honey and mix well.

6. In separate bowl mix together remaining eggs, yogurt, and 6 Tbsp lemon

7. Put stand mixture on low and add flour mixture alternating with egg mixture,
begin and end with flour mixture. Scrape down bowl then mix on high for a
minute to let the coconut flour absorb the liquid.

8. At this point the mixture should have a liquid batter consistency, if it looks very thick and stiff, the coconut flour has absorbed too much liquid.  Add reserved lemon juice and/or honey until a thinner consistency is reached. You can also use a little extra yogurt if needed.

9. Beat reserved egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks have formed (I do this by hand because I like the challenge, you can also use a hand mixer)  Do not overbeat.

10. Fold egg whites into cake batter gently but thoroughly.  You want them incorporated completely, but don’t overmix, the egg whites will help the cake rise and be a little fluffier.

11. Divide batter among the prepared cake pans and bake for 40-45 minutes.  The top of the cake should spring back when touched gently.  

12. Set on cooling rack for about 30 minutes, then invert pans gently onto rack to cool completely.

13. You can assemble the cake once they have cooled completely or wrap each cake individually in plastic wrap and let sit overnight.

Lemon Curd:

1. In double boiler or cast iron saucepan over low heat, melt butter.

2. Whisk together egg yolks, honey and salt until smooth in separate bowl.

3. Temper yolk mixture by adding hot butter while whisking constantly.

4. Add entire mixture back to hot pan and continue stirring constantly while heating until curd begins to thicken to a pudding and starts to steam.  Be very careful that it does not simmer or burn.

5. Remove from heat and transfer to clean bowl to allow it to cool for about 15-20 minutes.  Once it has cooled, use saran wrap to cover the entire surface of the lemon curd – it must be touching the surface to prevent a skim from forming.  Put curd in fridge to firm up for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Coconut Cream:

1. Chill can of cream in the fridge the night before whipping. Chill beaters and bowl about 10 minutes before whipping.

2. Carefully scrape hardened cream into chilled bowl, leaving any liquid in the can.  I love using Trader Joes because it is all cream and you don’t have to worry about the liquid.

3. Whip cream for about 30 seconds, add in vanilla and honey to taste.  Whip until smooth and creamy.

4. You can use immediately or put it back in the fridge, it will harden and set.  I then give it a quick whisk right before using.


1. Carefully slice both cakes into 2 layers using a sharp knife.  I like to go around the edges slowly then slice through the middle in order to get the cut as even as possible.

2. Remove lemon curd and coconut cream from fridge and give both a quick whisk.

3. Set the bottom layer on your cake plate.  At this point you are going to want to work quickly as the curd and whipped cream will loosen up as they warm.

4. Spread ¼ of the lemon curd over the bottom layer, staying about ½ inch from the edge.  Plop ¼ of the coconut cream on top and spread it over the curd.  Gently place about ¼ of your berries on top of the cream.  

5. Place the second layer on top of the first and repeat as above.

6. Repeat for third and fourth layer.  Heap as many berries as you can on top of the final layer to make it look fresh and pretty.

7. Place cake immediately in fridge so the lemon curd and coconut cream can firm back up.  Make sure to serve the same day.

8. Lick bowls from lemon curd and coconut cream clean while waiting for cake.



Alison Dollaway is a portrait and wedding photographer living in Ithaca, NY with her husband and two daughters.  She loves to bake and cook real food for her family and likes to share her passion for healthy living with others.  She plans to become Buti certified this coming year in order to bring the practice to the Ithaca area.


Renee Claude
Renee Claude


2 Responses


May 25, 2016

This looks wonderful! I can’t wait to try it. Thank you for sharing. I don’t mind butter but I’m curious why the recipe is considered dairy free with butter in it?

Christine Phillips
Christine Phillips

April 28, 2016

Fantastic now I can make my own! Great picture of the birthday girl!

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