Baked Goods · Cooking · Sweets

Lemon Coconut Chiffon Cake and Lactose-Free Buttercream Icing

It was my birthday a couple of weeks ago, so I made myself a birthday cake. I made the cake to share with my band, since so many of us have birthdays in January and February. I brought it to rehearsal – and nobody ate it. Too bad…for them! I brought it home, ate a piece myself – just to check that it was edible (I’ve never had my treats turned down before), and deemed it to be a fine cake. So I brought it to work the next day, and it was gone by morning recess. We had cake for breakfast, second breakfast and recess (or at least I did).

Lemon Coconut is one of my favorite flavour combinations, after chocolate plus anything. I’ve made a lot of chocolatey things lately, so I decided to take a break from that and try something different. This cake was actually 2 cakes, lemon chiffon, cut into 4 layers. The layers were lemon pudding. The icing was coconut buttercream with coconut sprinkled on top. Very pretty, very tasty – and the lactose-free buttercream icing turned out fantastically.

I’ve had a hard time making good lactose-free buttercream icing. I think I may have just made the best I can using vegan margarine. I could make it entirely out of lactose-free butter, but the process of getting that butter isn’t worth the effort when just putting it into an icing. I used a half butter/half vegan margarine combo in this recipe. Using only margarine gives a strange, fake taste to the icing. It also separates like crazy, and unless you eat the cake as soon as you’re done icing it, the icing will slide off the sides of the cake. Adding the real butter helped the texture and the taste. You can make this cake with my lactose-free ingredients, or use a full cup of real butter. Whatever you choose to do, this cake is perfect for a celebration. If you wanted to up the wow factor, top the cake with candied lemons.

Lemon Coconut Cake and Lactose-Free Buttercream Icing

Yield: 1 4-layer cake

Prep Time:30 minutes | Cooking Time: 30 minutes | Decorating Time: 15 minutes

Lemon Coconut Cake


2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
7 egg yolks
3/4 cup cold water
1 tsp lemon zest
3 tbsp lemon Juice
1/2 tsp vanilla
7 egg whites
1/2 tsp cream of tartar


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Prepare 2 round cake pans by greasing then laying a piece of parchment paper in the bottom of each pan. Set aside.

2. In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder and salt).

3. Create a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, and in the center of it add the wet ingredients (vegetable oil, egg yolks, cold water, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla). Mix well.

4. In the bowl of your mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form.

5. Add the egg whites to the cake batter in 3 parts, mixing gently but thoroughly after each addition.

6. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Pick up each pan and drop (not from a great height!) on the counter to work out any air pockets and even out the cake batter.

7. Bake the cakes for 25 – 30 minutes. The cakes are done when they’re lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the centre pulls out without any cake batter or crumbs on it. Watch closely – you don’t want an over-cooked, dry cake. (Use your oven light to check on the – opening the oven door will change the temperature of the oven and effect the cooking – it could also cause the cake to not rise properly)

8. Remove cakes from oven and cool in pan for 10 minutes. Flip on a cooling rack. Remove the parchment paper when cakes have completely cooled. When cooled, cut each cake horizontally in half to create 4 layers of cake.

9. Decorate the cake to your own preferences and/or level of ability. I gave this cake a pretty hefty layer of icing (the recipe follows), and filled the layers with lemon pie filling – I used a box mix (I know, I know, I hate to do this). If using a pudding, allow it to cool before putting it on the cake (I didn’t, and I had next to no layers when I dug into the cake. It had all absorbed into the cake since it was so liquidy when hot).You could also use the buttercream icing for the layers. Make a double recipe of icing if wanting to go that route.

10. Top the cake with fancy flake coconut and if feeling adventurous, candied lemons. Serve and enjoy!

(Adapted from Lemon Chiffon Layer Cake at LiveLovePasta at

Coconut Buttercream Icing


1/2 cup lactose-free butter
1/2 cup vegan margarine
4 cups icing sugar
3 tbsp lactose-free milk
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp coconut extract
1 cup fine shredded coconut


1. Add the butter and margarine to the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until light and fluffy.

2. Sift the icing sugar into the butter. Beat well.

3. In a measuring cup, dissolve the salt in the milk. Add the milk, salt, coconut extract and coconut. Mix well.

(Adapted from Jerilyn Brusseau’s Butter Cream Frosting found on TasteSpotting at


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