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Lemon Coconut Cake

Let's talk about bundt cake.

There's something awfully special about it, no? I am in love with bundt cake. Bundts of all kinds. There is something about mixing up an incredible batter and pouring it into a pan and baking it and then unmolding it and seeing how beautifully transformed it is -- AND, with half the work of a double-crust pie or a layer cake. Especially if you're a layer cake person and you enjoy the utterly terrifying process of flipping cakes onto stands and icing them for hours. I've tried it before and I've never been so afraid while baking. And I used to be that way with pie, like a coy friend out for coffee - what do I say? How do I act? What do I do with my hands -- and this last one is especially appropriate for pie because truly, your hands are an important part (if not the most important part) of handling pie crust.

Am I talking about pie again? I'm sorry. That happens often. Even when I literally began this post with "let's talk about bundt cake."

So let's talk about it. This Lemon Coconut Cake, in particular. It's lovely. It's delicious. And it was the result of an initially-failed attempt of this recipe. I do this thing where I assume I have all needed ingredients for something I want to bake when really, I only have one or two elements in the recipe name: In this case, I had lemons and coconut. Therefore, I must have the ingredients for a lemon and coconut cake. Right? Wrong. I was actually 1 cup short of sugar (lol), so I swapped a little brown sugar in the batter. I also didn't have it for the glaze, so I used powdered sugar. What fun. I also didn't whip the egg whites stiffly enough for the coconut meringue layer, and I also failed to grease the pan as well as I should've.

Let's talk about this cake: I completely set myself up for failure, and the result was a smashing success. So instead of setting YOU up for failure, I've recorded the recipe with a few slight tweaks: brown sugar indeed, coconut in the batter instead of a meringue filling (which sounds and looks beautiful so if you try it and succeed, report back!), and a glaze with powdered sugar. Hooray!


2 cups shredded or flaked sweetened coconut

2 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 teaspoons baking powder

3 cups All-Purpose Flour

1 cup milk

Zest of 2 lemons

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 350 F. GENEROUSLY (seriously, don’t be shy about this) grease a 9” to 10” bundt pan. In a small bowl, toss the coconut with the 2 tablespoons of flour and set aside.

Beat together the butter, sugars and salt until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla. Add the baking powder, then add the flour alternatively with the milk in 3 additions. Stir in the lemon zest and coconut tossed with flour.

Dollop the batter into the WELL-GREASED pan, smooth with a spatula, and pop into the preheated oven. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour, until the cake is a deep golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool for 5 minutes in the pan. Make the glaze by whisking the powdered sugar with the lemon juice. After 5 minutes, carefully invert the cake onto a rack lined with parchment paper. Poke the cake all over with a toothpick, and brush the glaze over the cake. Let the glaze absorb, then brush the rest of the glaze over the bundt. Allow to cool completely before serving.

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