Today’s post is all about easy baking. Cakes are one of my favorite baked goods, but a lot of people see them as solely for a special occasion. They take a good amount of time in the kitchen, not to mention skill in evenly frosting each and every inch. But because the idea of a cake in the middle of the week is SO GREAT, I came up with a coconut lemon cake recipe that’s ideal for weekday baking. The cake requires one bowl, no folding, and no sifting. The icing goes on smooth and velvety without the need for a frosting spatula. And the flavors are on point.
I partnered with my local supermarket, Star Market, to create a cake using three different canned goods. The cans made things super easy, not to mention they are readily available year-round. Like, you could buy these ingredients now and wait for months to use them on a rainy day. Perfection.
It’s citrus season, so a lemon cake is a must. The resulting cake is soft, slightly denser than a layer cake, and zippy. In the batter, I turned to canned evaporated milk, resulting in a smooth texture. No measuring required? I’m in. The coconut frosting is a coconut cream and cream cheese frosting. The cream cheese plays well with the tanginess of the lemon, while a can of coconut cream was a unique (and flavorful) alternative to butter, and gives the cake a great thickness without needing to be spread. I literally dumped frosting over the cake, et voila.
Keeping with the citrus/tropical/bright theme, top the cake with canned mandarin oranges. None of that peeling or cutting business here. Just strain the can and place the slices on top. You can create any pattern you want, or make it random. Everything was easy peasy lemon squeezy. Lemon squeezy and lemon zesty, that is. My assistant, Lauren, and I made this after a day of baking three other things, and even as sugared out as we were, we couldn’t stop eating this coconut lemon cake.
Tips for making coconut lemon cake
Don’t swap coconut milk for coconut cream — Coconut milk and coconut cream are two very different products. Coconut cream is incredibly thick and almost spreadable, whereas coconut milk is, well, the consistency of milk. You absolutely cannot substitute any kind of coconut milk in the coconut frosting.
Use room temperature ingredients — To ensure an even bake, you need to use room temp ingredients in the cake batter. And the cream cheese in the coconut frosting should also be room temp, otherwise it won’t whip up properly with the coconut cream.
Use fresh lemon juice — I know you probably have a bottle of lemon juice in your fridge, but you really need to buy fresh lemons for this coconut lemon cake recipe. Fresh lemon juice has a better zing to it and just generally makes for a better cake.
It’s time to bookmark this recipe, people! Easy weekday dessert coming through!
15ounces canned mandarin oranges (in light syrup), drained
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a springform pan with parchment paper and set aside.
In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in the eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla extract, salt, and baking powder, mixing until combined.
On low speed, alternate mixing in the flour and evaporated milk until just combined. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before icing.
To make the icing, whisk coconut cream and ream cheese until light and fluffy, then mix in powdered sugar.
Place cake on cookie rack and pour icing over it. Top with mandarin orange slices.