Mum's Coconut Lemon Cake

Coconut Lemon Cake (01) by MeetaK

On my 16th birthday my mother bought me a lovely gift. A simple chain with my name “Meeta” hanging in free letters. My mother is a gorgeous woman and has all the grooming of an aristocratic Sikh Indian family.

Like many Indians she believes only in India one can buy the purest gold and perfect diamonds.

Her gift to me on my 16th birthday was bought in Delhi from our trusted family jewelers, who had served my mother’s family for years. Diamonds, sapphires, rubies, gold – whatever was desired was always via this family jeweler. So, when my mum came with me on that particular day, I am sure the jeweler was thankful to see yet another generation who would be buying precious gems from him.

I was not told to choose anything I wanted as many may have expected. My mother had something very particular in her mind. She gave the order and the jeweler looked rather surprised at the mediocre order my mother had just given him. I suppose he was expecting something flashier in diamonds, in comparison a 22 carat gold chain seemed almost insufficient to him.

My mother knows me well. When we picked up the chain, she opened the box and I was ecstatic at the contents. It was her way of welcoming me into sweet “almost” adulthood! A secret family ritual apparently, that was passed down from generation to generation – the mother gives her 16 year daughter a gift to remember her by.

Twenty years later I still wear that chain! It’s how I keep my mum close to my heart. She is all the way in Dubai and I often miss her. Our talks, our shopping sprees, our eating binges, our laughs, her kisses and hugs and yes even our arguments! I love her because she knows exactly how I tick. She knew back then that I was not the one for gaudy, big, flashy jewelry. She knew I would always be the one for elegant but exquisite things. She knows I like to make my statement with an understatement. She knew exactly how I would cherish this gift. I do!

There are so many great memories I have of my mum and me – the ones I adore the most are definitely the times I used to spend baking with her. One such memory is from not so long ago as a matter of fact. Last April when we were in Dubai I had asked my mum to give me a recipe of her luscious coconut and lemon cake. It was one of the cakes I grew up on.

Many of you will remember her wonderful refreshing orange cake. The cake was extremely popular with many of you too. So many of you left comments and sent me wonderful emails regarding the cake that I had to show my mother some of the feedback you sent. She certainly was blushing with pride LOL!

Instead of giving me the recipe for this cake via telephone or email, she made me wait till I made my trip to Dubai! Once again she hit the nail on the head. Because the time I spent with her in the kitchen that afternoon was unforgettable.

Just like her gift twenty years ago, she knew what I would cherish the most. Time! Time with her because it’s what I miss out on the most.

To my mum – you mean the world to me!

Printable version of recipe here.

Coconut Lemon Cake (02) by MeetaK

For the cake

185g all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
45g shredded dried coconut
1 tablespoon lemon zest
250g sugar
125g butter + more for brushing the cake form, melted
2 eggs
250ml milk

For the Coconut Frosting

185g icing sugar, sieved
90g shredded dried coconut
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, coarsely grated
60ml lemon juice


Coconut Lemon Cake (04) by MeetaK

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C. Brush a round cake pan (20 cm in diameter) with some of the melted butter, then line with baking paper.

In a large mixing bowl sieve the flour and baking powder. Then add the shredded coconut, lemon zest, sugar, eggs, butter and the milk. Using a wooden spoon mix into a smooth creamy mixture.

Fill the dough into the cake pan and bake for 40 minutes, until a slight crust forms on the surface. Take the cake out of the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Finally, take out of pan and allow to cool completely on a rack.

For the Coconut Frosting

In a smaller bowl, mix the icing sugar and the shredded coconut. Add the lemon zest and pour in enough of the lemon juice to make a stiff, but still spreadable mixture.

Spread the frosting over the surface and the edges of the cake using a metal spatula.

Storing: Stored in an airtight container and in the refrigerator this cake will last for 4 to 5 days.


Coconut Lemon Cake (05) by MeetaK

This cake brings back a lot of childhood memories for me. I made this for my birthday earlier in June. It was just another way for me to be a little closer to my mum. My friends and colleagues simply loved the flavors of this cake. The lemon juices are soaked up by the coconut, keeping the entire cake moist and luscious. The aroma of this simple but flavorful cake is incredible. Each bite is utterly delicious so much so that I have to reveal a little trick. Make two smaller sized cakes with this recipe. This way you can indulge in smaller slices without feeling the big guilt.

I was looking forward to enter this cake to A Fruit A Month, which is being hosted this month by Sug at Tasty Palettes. The fruit she has chosen is the great coconut. However, I believe I have missed the deadline. Sug I had all the good intentions as you see. You can read all about the coconut and get detailed information on selecting and storing in my Food Know-How section: coconut.

You might enjoy these cakes from WFLH too:

PartyCake 10 framed
The Perfect Party Cake
Sour Cream Cherry Cake
Orange Cake 03 framed
Orange Cake


Other coconut recipes from around the blog:

Closet Cooking's spectacular Mango Coconut Rice Pudding
Taste & Tell's creamy Coconut Cream Flan
Dhanggit's Kitchen's moist Almond, Coconut, Honey Brioche
Simply Recipe's fruity and nutty Berry Cobbler with Coconut Walnut Topping

All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2008 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

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  1. That is a beautiful post.Nice to remember those things!:)
    My grandfather bought me gold earrings for me one day for no reason because he had a dream of me asking him for it. I would never ask anybody anything that easy in real life!:D
    I always cherish that memory!
    Great looking cake, very moist. I will try in few weeks!:)
    Hope you got my Mango Jello entry for MM, sent you few weeks ago.

  2. What a lovely write-up for your Mom! And your cake looks delicious!

  3. Aw, Meeta. Mom's always know the 'right' things. I am still receiving a couple of entries today. I would be more than happy to include this in the roundup.

  4. Beautiful cake, but an even more beautiful tribute to your mom.

  5. I loved your orange cake.So, I'll def make this. My son's bday is coming up. I'll make this cake in the shape of Carz as he wanted. Thanks for the post.

  6. Such a wonderful post! So nice to read about your mom and you...I can just imagine :) And that cake look delicious!

  7. Your mum's not just aristocratic, she's very warm too! I'm glad to have met her. Hope she's doing fine :)

  8. Its wonderful the way food can reveal so many memories. The cake looks wonderful.

  9. Another touching post...and a lovely cake. Mothers are truly something else.

  10. What a beautiful and gorgeous post!

  11. lovely post and a beautiful cake.....

  12. That's a beutiful cake, Meeta. I love the crumbly texture.
    A lovely tribute to your mum. I hope she reads it.

  13. Sooo lovely that you still wear that chain to this day :0) Your mother sounds equally as lovely!!

    That cake sounds so delectable!!

  14. Meeta, what a beautiful post! I'm so glad you get to share the love for cooking and baking with your mom, even from a distance.
    This cake has lemon, which is my favorite flavor, and coconut, something I never resist. YUM!

  15. I'm sure your mum will become quite weepy, reading this. How lucky you both are!

  16. Beautiful post Meeta, I'm sure that cake was made even sweeter by the time you were able to spend with your mom baking it!

  17. Thanks so much everyone. It's lovely being able to share these memories with you. I really appreciate it.

    Glad you like the cake.

    Jyo - lovely to see your comments. I am sure mum will be chuffed to see it too. They are fine and have moved to JLT in Jumeirah!

    Alanna - weepy? I was weepy writing it up! So, I think my mum will be too. Thanks for the lovely comment.

    Hugs to you all

  18. Needless to mention - The pics look great! My mum makes my fave 'poricha kuzhambu' each year on the day I land in B'lore - I guess that's how the legacy of love goes from one generation to the next - Nice post! The orange cake was my first visit to your blog:)

  19. that looks great Meeta! and when its got "mum" to it, there can't be anything missing! I made coconut cookies sometime back..and now I really want to try a coconut cake..maybe this week(wink!):)

  20. Nice pics. I love lemon cakes that too with coconut. SOunds yummy. Can i have some, :)

  21. Love the recipe but your post was even more beautiful.

  22. Ah, what a great post. And what a great looking cake...I love coconut cake.

  23. Meeta this is wonderful. I always love ur pics and recipes. So far never tried any. will start soon and come back to u :). Great

  24. Lovely story and the cake looks absolutely delicious. I will definitely be trying it,

  25. Hi Meeta,

    Lovely Lovely post. Reading it has made me so glad that I am going to India next week. Will be meeting my Aai(Mum) after a span of 19 months. Thanks for another wonderful cake . I have made the Orange cake 4 times till date.

  26. I wish I liked lemon cos this cake looks a beauty!

  27. Hi Meeta,

    I have visited your blog quite a few times. Your cakes look tempting, and the recipes easy too. I have only one problem, Can you please give the corresponding measurements in cups? I do not own a scale, but would love to bake the cakes you have written about.

  28. Fabulous writeup about your mom! And the cake parallels that! Traditions make our loves so rich and meaningful..forgive me for being philosophical, this post really gets your soft spot!

  29. This is so special for a mom Meeta! Even more special than on commercial mother's day!
    Beautiful cake and wonderous icing!

  30. Lovely post about your mom. The cake looks scrumptious.


  31. That cake looks so light and fluffy and good!

  32. Very nice post Meeta. Cake looks delicious.....yummy...

  33. Hi Meeta, I am a regular at your blog and never miss an item that you have posted but this one is truly heartwarming. I lost my mum many many years ago so I know how precious the time spent with her was. Not to mention I got my love for cooking by spending all that time with her in the kitchen :) I am definitely going to try this cake!! Thanks for sharing this with us!!


  34. It was a good write-up. Your mom's coocnut lemon cake looks yummy

  35. That is one beautiful moist cake and the story was even sweeter - thanks for sharing that beautiful memory - you are indeed blessed to have such a great relationship with your mother!

  36. Hi Meeta, it's a gorgeous cake, fluffy & not overly sweet...amazing what zest can do.

  37. this looks absolutely scrumptious. i can imagine the different flavours coming together.

  38. I made this cake for a picnic with our friends. The cake came out awesome. It was a big hit. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe.

  39. Thank you to all of you for the feedback. I am telling you my mum has been pretty darned overwhelmed by your comments. LOL!

    Anupama - wow! $ times already. You know I like hearing that ;-) glad you liked it!

    Rashmi, Glad to hear you like spending time hear. On my Menu Bar you will see a tab called "Links" there you will find a section called "Helpful Resources" I have listed a few very useful links and one of them is called Convert me! I use this myself very often. Hope it helps.

    Jyotsna, sorry to hear about your mum. AS I get older I too realize the time we have together is getting shorter. Gives me the freaks but I try to enjoy each moment I spend with her more intensively. Thanks for the lovely comment.

    Nangil Girl, oh I am excited to hear that. Glad that everyone liked this cake. It's always great to get the verdict from my readers. Thanks for coming back to tell me about it!

  40. Thanks for a lovely story. You made my favorite Coconut Cake, wow!

  41. A beautiful post, and a beautiful cake!!

  42. What a wonderful cake and great memories to go with it. Love the combination of lemon and coconut...I can almost smell it!Your mother sounds elegant, too, and very thoughtful. The gold chain will last longer than the cake, but food memories are very long lasting in thier own way.

  43. I made this cake and though the taste was absolutely delicious, it just didn't manage to retain its shape....I think the milk needed to be cut down a bit.
    Thanks for the recipe. I will be making it again...

  44. Just saw this, it looks wonderful. Will definitely try it. Loved the pictures too.

  45. This cake is gorgeous! Its one of the best i've ever tasted. I will give future bakers of the cake a tip though; make sure you melt the butter before mixing it into the mix.

  46. Wow! That post was amazing!! You're such a great writer, and photographer!


  47. Meeta- this is a fabulous recipe. I made the cake today and it has received rave reviews from my husband- in fact, he declared it one of the best cakes he's ever tasted! Thank you.

  48. Hello Meeta, I love , love what you are doing..the food, the pictures and the stories are all so lovely and refreshing. How delightful to see you have a dubai you visit often? Shout out a hi next time you are here..:)

  49. Meeta! I thought id already commented thanking you for this gorgeous recipe but it appears not! This truly was a stunning cake, everything about it was perfect and it went in the space of literally 2 days :) I will definitely be repeating this one, it was so lovely. If you wish to check out my post on it i will include the link below. Thank you again and i will continue to make your recipes with utter confidence! :)

  50. wow Meeta!!..lovely post..reminds me of my 16th birthday wen i was also gifted a name pendant..its most cherished piece of jewelery i have..and 15 yrs later i still wear it often.

    And the cake seems to b a hit among all ..i seriously need to try it!!

  51. Hi Meeta. Recipe sounds very good but it seems to me the pictures don't match.
    It looks like the cake has been spread with some type of jam and then covered with a rough dessicated coconut.
    The icing looks nothing like your description.

  52. Thank you so much to everyone for your comments and absolutely great hearing that so many of you have tried the cake and are loving it! Love this feedback

    Leanne: Thanks for your comment. What you see is really what you get in the recipe :o) The shredded dried coconut is soaked in the frosting. Maybe you are imagining the typical think frosting that goes on many cakes you find in the US. This is actually a simple icing sugar/liquid (lemon juice) frosting to which I added the dried shredded coconut. I did not slather it on the cake either but just a very thin layer goes on.
    Hope that helps!

  53. Hi Meeta, do you think the cake will be too flat if I bake it in a 23cm springform pan ?

  54. Hi Meeka do you think the cake will be too flat if I bake it in a 23cm springform pan ?

  55. Oh no sorry for spelling ur name wrongly and for sending It twice !


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