Last Updated on September 10, 2022 by Share My Kitchen
This recipe for coconut cloud cake has layers of fluffy coconut cake, lemon curd, and some delectable coconut cream cheese frosting. It is a Southern-inspired classic which has warmer days vibes!
If you are also predisposed to craving lemon curd snack cakes, then you might be from the South. Honestly, a Food Historian might be able to better explain why coconut cake is so deeply rooted in Southern tradition. But it is truly undeniable that a coconut cake is always a dessert choice for any holiday or special occasion. There are even coconut cakes in every cafeteria you can visit (sort of a buffet down south). It doesn’t matter why though. It’s a Southern thing, and it makes everything better.
Sometimes you just want to have a little coconut cake. This is why this recipe was created. It’s a snack-sized cake, so it is just right. There’s no need to stack layers or make fussy frosting. Making lemon curd is the most complicated part of our job, but it’s much simpler than you might think.
Ingredients of Coconut Cloud Cake
- Lemons: Choose the juiciest ones you can find. There are many ways to tell if a citrus is fresh and ripe. But it is preferable to just squeeze the lemon in the grocery store. It’s juicy if it feels squeezy. It also tends to be juicier if the skin feels tight and appears shiny and smooth.
- Eggs: Three large eggs will be used in this recipe, and they must be separated. The curd will use the yolks and the cake will use the whites. If you want to whip a fluffy egg white, ensure that there is no yolk in the white. To increase the fluffiness of the cake, the egg whites are added to the batter. However, it is also an important reason as to why the coconut cake is as white as the inside of a coconut.
- Unsalted Butter: Always use unsalted butter because every brand has different amounts of salt. It is not standardized. So, unsalted butter is always better used in sweet and savory dishes.
- Cake Flour: As you are already using whipped egg whites to create fluffiness, cake flour will just ensure you get a light, fluffy cake.
- Unsweetened Coconut Milk: This is used to emphasize the fact that this is Coconut Cake.
- Coconut Extract: Use this instead of vanilla extract in most cakes. You can find it in your Mega Market’s spice aisle, right next to vanilla. It gives you that extra coconutiness, and it won’t cause your batter to turn yellow.
- Cream Cheese: The tang of a whipped cream cheese frosting on this cake makes it better, especially when it’s finished with sweetened coconut flakes.
- Sweetened Coconut Flakes: This recipe calls for the traditional sweetened coconut flake.
Putting All the Coconut Cloud Cake Ingredients Together
This delicious cake has many layers. The lemon curd, the cake and the frosting are all part of this delicious dessert. It’ll all be broken down into simple steps, so you don’t have to worry.
- Making lemon curd: There are so many complicated lemon curd recipes over the years, but today you are going to follow a simplified version. You need to whisk all the ingredients, except the butter. Once the mixture has thickened, you can take it off the heat and add bits of butter until it is smooth and creamy. That’s it. It will take a few hours for the lemon curd to thicken and set properly before you can spread it on your cake. However, it should be ready when your cake has cooled. You can also prepare the lemon curd the night before, so it will be easy to bake your cake the next day.
- Reverse creaming your cake batter: The reverse creaming process involves incorporating the butter and/or oils into all of the dry ingredients, including sugar, prior to adding the wet ingredients. This method is easier and produces a light, fluffy cake. It is practically foolproof.
- The frosting: Because this is a sweet cake, cream cheese frosting is the perfect complement. The frosting is quick and easy to make, and you don’t need it to be perfect because it will be covered in coconut flakes.
|Prep Time||30 mins|
|Cook Time||30 mins|
|Cooling Curd||2 hours|
|Total Time||3 hours|
Coconut Cloud Cake Recipe Card
- Zest from 2 lemons
- ½ cup lemon juice from 2-3 lemons
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 3 large egg yolks save the whites for the cake
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup unsalted butter 1 stick/113 g
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ cup unsalted butter 57 g, cut into small cubes and softened
- ¼ cup vegetable oil 60 g
- 1 ¾ cups cake flour 224 g
- ¾ cup granulated sugar 150 g
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup canned coconut milk 240 g (save 2 teaspoon for the buttercream)
- ½ teaspoon coconut extract
- 3 large egg whites whipped to soft peaks
Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
- 4 oz cream cheese 113 g, softened
- ¼ cup unsalted butter 113 g, softened
- ½ teaspoon coconut extract
- ⅕ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoon coconut milk 10 g
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar 150 g
- ½ cup sweetened coconut flakes
Making the lemon curd
- First, whisk together the egg yolks, egg, sugar, lemon juice and zest, and a pinch of kosher salt in a small saucepan until well combined.
- Heat the pan over medium-low heat, and whisk constantly until mixture thickens. Then, continue cooking the mixture until it coats your spoon, and running your finger through the mixture to leave a clean trail. This takes approximately 8 to 10 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and add your butter piece by piece. Wait for each piece to melt before you add the next.
- Use a strainer to transfer the curd into a bowl. Then, use a rubber spatula to press the curd through a strainer and remove the zest, and any possible cooked egg or shell bits. Press plastic wrap directly on top of the curd, and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. If you are done making the cake, any leftover curd can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
It’s time to make the Coconut Cake!
- Preheat the oven to 350°F
- Spray an 8-inch square pan with nonstick spray, or line it with parchment paper.
- Mix flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a stand mixer for approximately one minute. Then, add the softened butter and oil, and continue mixing on low speed until you get a wet sand-like texture.
- Combine the dry ingredients with coconut milk and coconut extract. Use medium speed for approximately one minute. The batter will still have some lumps, but that’s okay. They will be incorporated during baking.
- Whip the 3 egg whites you reserved with a hand mixer in a bowl until you achieve soft peaks (if you haven’t done so). The bowl should be stable enough that you can hold it upside down on your head without the egg whites falling (but don’t actually do this). Then, add approximately 1/3 of the whipped whites into the batter. Don’t forget to mix in well. This will make your batter “looser,” so that you can fold in the remaining whites. Add in the remaining egg whites, and gently fold until these are fully incorporated. It’s okay if there are still a few white streaks.
- Lastly, pour the batter in the prepared pan. Smooth the top using a spatula, and bake at 350°F for 24 to 28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Take it out from the oven and let it cool completely on a rack.
Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
- In a large bowl, combine cream cheese and butter. Use a handheld mixer on high speed for about one minute, until it is fluffy. This takes about 1 minute. Mix in coconut extract, salt and 2 tablespoons coconut milk. Mix in 1/2 cup of powdered sugar at a time, and continue beating on low speed until it is just combined before adding more. Once all of the sugar has been added, increase the speed to high, and beat until smooth and fluffy. You can add more powdered sugar, one tablespoon at a time, to make the frosting thicker. You can add coconut milk one teaspoon at a time if the frosting seems too thick.
Coconut Cloud Cake! Assemble!
- Lemon curd should be spread in thin layers on top of the cooled cake. Use an ice cream scoop or large spoons to put dollops of frosting on top of the cake. Spread frosting on top of the curd layer using an offset spatula. Sprinkle coconut flakes on top. Slice, serve, and enjoy!
Coconut Cloud Cake Recipe Notes
Note on coconut milk: Depending on which brand you have, you might see a thick layer of coconut cream on top and a thin, white liquid below (the “milk”) when you open the coconut milk can. You can blend the contents of the can in a blender, food processor, or a bowl with a whisk to get thick coconut milk to work with.