Labor Day Lemon Cake with Toasted Coconut Lemon Buttercream Frosting

Now that people know I love to bake, I’ve received plenty of suggestions for what my next creation should be. This next one was inspired by my good friend and former co-worker, Kelly Radcliffe, who jokingly requested a recipe for a lemon cake with a light lemon frosting. At first I thought, “that’s a lot of lemon” but the more I considered it, I realized it could be a perfect end-of-summer treat if executed well.


And so I went on to research a gluten-free lemon cake that would work for such a challenge. It actually was kind of challenging to find a good lemon cake recipe that is gluten-free. I think mainly because lemon cake should be light and springy and that’s hard to do without a lot of gluten.

imageI came across a cake recipe from epicurious that I was skeptical of
at first. I don’t trust a lot of sponsored sites because the recipes don’t seem to be tested. I generally like to get them from blogs/recipe sites if possible. But I went for it and adjusted it along the way, and it turned out well in the end. The texture is closer to that of a pound cake.

I would recommend making double this recipe with a two-layer cake. I only made one layer because we had a small family gathering to go to. I was pretty nervous to see how the cake would turn out, because the batter seemed stringy and SUPER dense when mixed together, but the final product seemed to turn out well.

IMG_1084 The frosting is what made this cake amazing. It’s really the most important part of any cake – I always say that cake is merely an instrument to get the frosting into my mouth. I actually prefer to use Imperial spread instead of just unsalted butter, because it is lighter and produces a better result, in my opinion. I whipped something together out of my imagination and decided to toast up some coconut as a final, crunchy topping. The result was amazing. In the end, everyone was “mmmm”ing and “ahhh”ing over it, and several people had second servings (a true sign that you have a hit).

Ingredients (for one layer, double for two):image

  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1 ¼ cup gluten-free flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ cup milk (I use almond)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ tablespoon finely grated fresh lemon zest
  • Splash of lemon juice
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  1. Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9 inch cake pan with non-stick spray or rub with canola oil.
  2. Whisk together gluten-free flour mix, salt and baking powder until combined well.
  3. Stir together almond milk, canola oil, vanilla, a splash of lemon juice and lemon zest in another bowl.
  4. Crack your eggs and blend on high for about a minute.
  5. Blend sugar and eggs in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed just until combined, about 1 minute.
  6. Reduce speed to low and add flour and milk mixtures alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture and mixing until just combined.
  7. Spread cake batter in pan, and bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 35 minutes at the most.

Frosting Ingredients:IMG_1088

  • About 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 stick Imperial butter spread
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • Sweetened coconutIMG_1085
  1. Let butter soften a bit before making frosting.
  2. Blend butter with hand mixer.
  3. Add in vanilla extract.
  4. Add powdered sugar in, 1/2 cup at a time.
  5. Add lemon zest and lemon juice.
  6. Spread evenly over cake.
  7. Spread sweetened coconut evenly on a cookie sheet, roast in the oven at 325 for about 6 minutes.
  8. Sprinkle toasted coconut over cake.

IMG_1159 IMG_1161IMG_1123

Layer cake recipe adjusted from Epicurious.


2 thoughts on “Labor Day Lemon Cake with Toasted Coconut Lemon Buttercream Frosting

  1. well, what I was really hoping is that you would test several batches and let me taste test and help to decide which was best! In any case, sounds like you didn’t have to make more than the one to get it right anyway!

    Terri Lynn’s (our former caterer at work) made a delicious albeit gluten filled version that I’ve been missing. Can’t wait to try this recipe now!

    Liked by 1 person

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