Very Vera’s Coconut Cake Recipe with Lemon Curd Filling

I think one of my favorite candies in the entire world has to be an Almond Joy. Something about the rich creamy coconut filling makes my tastebuds start to salivate every time I think about it. I could actually do without the chocolate on it, and would be fine with it just being a pure coconut candy. This Easter, instead of my traditional Carrot Cake, I made Very Vera’s Coconut Cake from her new cookbook, Very Vera “Recipes From My Table” and it filled me with the same satisfaction of the coconut filling of an Almond Joy but in a dense, moist cake format. 

Coconut Cake Recipe

Now I don’t know about you, but making cakes from scratch at home is intimidating. I’ve tried many recipes online and have never had them come out like the box mix. They’re either too dry, too thick, not sweet enough, or something just went plain wrong and I’ve had to scrap the entire dessert like the failed Mother’s Day Strawberry Cake of 2013. So I was apprehensive that this one was going to come out alright but I bunkered down, sifted my flour, and read every line of directions before I had begun to ensure success. 

And what a great success it was. 

Coconut Cake Recipe Coconut Cake Recipe Coconut Cake Recipe Coconut Cake Recipe

I have only been recently acquainted with Vera Stewart, who’s PR agent so thoughtfully sent me one of her new cookbooks to try out, but upon reading through her cookbook, a real genuine and inspirational woman jumps off the page from both the photos and through the words. Her recipes are thoughtful and come with a short anecdote of its origin, she shares with you how she frosts her layer cakes, and she reminices just how she began her empire as a small mail order Cake business who became beloved not only by Opah, but Oscar de la Renta as well. 

I hope you have the opportunity to try this coconut cake, and for good measure, pick up a copy of her cookbook to see what other delicious recipes and which cake was frequently ordered by Oscar de la Renta! 

Coconut Cake Recipe with Lemon Curd Filling
Prep Time
40 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
1 hr
A zesty twist on Vera's classic coconut cake from her new cookbook.
Servings: 20
  • For the Cake:
  • Floured Baking Spray
  • 1 1/3 cups unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 4 cups of cake flour sifted
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups whole milk at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons coconut extract*
  • 2/3 cup coconut milk
  • For the Icing:
  • 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 16 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons coconut extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 pounds confectioners sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups sweetened coconut flakes
  • For the Lemon Curd Filling find the original post here:
  • 3 large eggs lightly whisked
  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • dash of salt
  • 3/4 cup of lemon juice
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter cubed
  1. For the Cake:
  2. 1) Preheat the oven to 400°F. Using the floured baking spray, grease three 9-inch pans and line with parchment paper.
  3. 2) Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed for 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  4. 3) Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl down.
  5. 4) Combine the cake flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl with a wire whisk.
  6. 5) Combine the milk, flavorings, and coconut milk in a large liquid measuring cup.
  7. 6) With the stand mixer on low, alternately combine the flour mixture and the milk mixture begging and ending with the flour mixture until well blended.
  8. 7) Scrape down the sides of the bowl again with a rubber spatula, making sure to incorporate any unmixed batter until well folded in.
  9. 8) Beat the batter for 7 minutes on medium speed.
  10. 9) Divide the batter evenly between the three prepared pans. Tap the pans on the counter to release any air bubbles that may have gotten trapped.
  11. 10) Bake for 18-20 minutes. Test doneness by touching a cake top. If it springs back, it's done. If an indention stays, it needs 2-3 minutes longer.
  12. 11) Cool the cakes at least 10 minutes on a cooling rack before removing the pans.
  13. For the Icing:
  14. 1) Cream the Butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer for 3 minutes. At the end of the 3 minutes, scrape the bowl extremely well.
  15. 2) Add the flavorings and beat for 1-2 minutes.
  16. 3) Slowly add the confectioners sugar, one cup at a time, beating on low speed to ensure the sugar does not fly out of the bowl.
  17. 4) After each addition of the confectioners sugar, scrape the bottom of the bowl extremely well.
  18. 5) Once all the confectioners sugar is incorporated, add the coconut flakes and beat on low speed for 3 minutes.
  19. 6) Let stand at room temperature until ready to frost your cake.
  20. For the Lemon Curd Filling:
  21. 1) Zest two lemons and set aside. Strain and juice lemons to get 3/4 cup of lemon juice.
  22. 2) In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the eggs, sugar, salt, and lemon juice until blended. Add butter and lemon zest.
  23. 3) Continue cooking over medium heat stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the curd has thickened and coats the back of the spoon.
  24. 4) Transfer to a Le Parfait resalable container and let cool for 10 minutes before transferring to the fridge to cool completely.
  25. To Assemble the Cake:
  26. 1) Make sure the cakes are completely cool. After their initial cool on the counter, I like to transfer them to the freezer for 30 minutes to ensure all heat is gone. If there is any lingering heat, it will cause the icing to melt and the cakes to slide.
  27. 2) Trim the tops of the cake so that they are flat. I like positioning them on the counter, uneven side up, between two rimmed baking sheets to ensure I'm getting a flat cut.
  28. 3) Place a dollop of frosting on the base of your cake stand. Then put the first layer of cake cut side down.
  29. 4) Using a rubber spatula, spread a generous amount of coconut icing on the layer. Then add a thin layer of lemon curd.
  30. 5) Place the second layer cut side down, and repeat step four.
  31. 6) Place the top layer cut side down, and repeat step four without the lemon curd but do not ice the sides yet.
  32. 7) Place the semi-assembled cake in your freezer to let the icing set. About 30 minutes is necessary.
  33. 8) Remove cake from freezer and with a rubber spatula, gingerly spread on the icing on the sides. Using an icing spatula to get a nice even coat all the way around.
  34. 9) Refrigerate until ready to serve. Can be served cold or room temperature.
Recipe Notes

* recipe originally calls for 1 teaspoon of coconut extract in the cake, but I wanted mine more coconutty.

Adapted from Very Vera Stewart


Author: Cynthia

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