Lemon Coconut Layer Cake

Vegan Lemon Cake

I recently made this cake to celebrate my daughter, who was visiting. She doesn’t get to visit often so I wanted to make a cake that would say, “you are special.” This Lemon Coconut Layer Cake delivered. As planned, my daughter and I shared happy moments of smiles enjoying the quiet decadence of this cake. The bright lemony flavor, complemented by sweet coconut flakes, achieved a memorable “yum.” This is the cake you want to make a chosen moment feel special. And, how could it not? This cake looks heavenly. It tastes heavenly. And it’s vegan!

Lemon Coconut Layer Cake

  • Servings: 8 servings
  • Difficulty: Not too hard
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  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Zest of 3 lemons
  • 1 ½ cups shredded coconut
  • 1¾ cups non-dairy milk (soy, almond, rice, etc.)
  • ¼ cup apple-cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • Vanilla Frosting (recipe below)
  • 2 cups shredded coconut


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F, with a rack positioned in the center.
  2. Choose your baking pans: two 8-inch springform pans*, two 8 or 9-inch round pans, two 8 inch by 4 inch loaf pans, 10” bundt pan, 24 cupcake pan
  3. *Tip: I use two 8-inch springform pans, with the bottom inverted, and I always get my cakes out safely. I open the sides and then easily slide the cakes off their base.
  4. Prepare the baking pans by greasing them well, lining the bottom with parchment paper, and then greasing the parchment paper.
  5. Work on the dry ingredients first. Put the lemon zest to the side for a moment. Place a sifter over a large bowl and sift the remaining dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt) together. Using a soft folding stir, incorporate the zest into the sifted ingredients. Put aside.
  6. Now work on the wet ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (milk, vinegar, lemon juice, oil, and vanilla extract.)
  7. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and gently combine being careful not to over mix the batter.
  8. Softly fold the shredded coconut into the batter.
  9. Divide the batter equally into the two prepared pans and place in oven.
  10. Bake until the centers are no longer wiggly and a toothpick inserted into the center is dry with a few crumbs on it. This is usually 30 to 40 minutes, but bake times will differ depending on your pan choice. Cupcakes will cook faster. A bundt pan might need additional time.
  11. When done, remove cakes from oven and leave to cool on racks. When the cake pan is cool to touch, remove the cake from its pan.
  12. While the cakes are cooling, make the frosting. Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting and finishing with the coconut.

Vegan Vanilla Frosting

  • Servings: Enough to frost a two layer cake
  • Difficulty: Not too hard
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  • 1 cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons non-dairy milk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla


In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attached, begin beating the non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening until smooth. Turn the mixer off and  add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and 1 Tablespoon of the non-dairy milk. Mix on low, adding more milk as needed to achieve a spreadable consistency. Once you have the right consistency, turn the mixer to high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes. The frosting should be fluffy. Frost the cake and then cover in shredded coconut.

2 Thoughts to “Lemon Coconut Layer Cake”

  1. Alicia

    You wouldn’t even be able to tell this cake is vegan. Truly this is a special cake.. Give it a try all of you are especially not vegan. You just might get extra attention from everyone trying to figure out the ingredients!

    1. Rose

      Thanks, Alicia! It is a special cake, perfect for any celebration!

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