Coconut Layer Cake & A Cookbook Giveaway!

So I heard it might be cold where you live! Being a California wussy, I’m not really familiar with cold weather, but I’ve seen movies and read books about this substance you call “snow” and apparently it comes from the sky and is quite chilly and it requires you to wear cute boots and sassy scarves? Sounds delightful!

Coconut Layer Cake |

Since I’m not regularly exposed to the real thing, I decided to make a snowy coconut cake instead, so we could feel like we’re walking through a winter wonderland! Or eating a winter wonderland. Or walking through a winter wonderland where fully assembled cakes randomly appear on the ground right in front of you…I don’t know…the metaphor kind of breaks down as soon as you start thinking about it.

The important thing, though, is that I ended up with a gorgeous, delicious coconut cake, and also that I never have to shovel snow from my walk or defrost my car windows. Joy to the world!

Coconut Layer Cake |

This cake features three layers of soft yellow cake, brushed with a coconut milk soaking syrup. The filling is a soft and sticky coconut filling (think the interior of an Almond Joy, only more moist) and it’s frosted with a cream cheese frosting, and covered—of course—in a thick, shaggy layer of shredded coconut.

Coconut Layer Cake |

Although coconut is not a traditional December flavor, this still makes a great holiday cake. It’s large and substantial, so it can feed quite the hungry crowd. It keeps well, so it can be made several days in advance and served without losing much moisture or flavor. And although it has several components, the actual assembly and decorating is really simple—there are few cake mistakes that handfuls of coconut cannot cover up! Seriously—throw it on a cake stand, scatter some pine cones around, and your guests will be cooing about your maaaaahvelous holiday coconut cake!

Coconut Layer Cake |

This cake recipe comes from The Lemonade Cookbook by Alan Jackson and Joann Cianciulli. Lemonade is a small chain of restaurants in California, featuring amazing salads, lots of fresh produce, and homey desserts. There are a few things you should know about this book:

1. I received a review copy from the publisher
2. I almost always turn down review copies from publishers because I’m not interested in writing cookbook reviews
3. But I accepted this review copy because…
4. I am obsessed with Lemonade. Really really. We live a few blocks from one location and it’s pretty much my favorite thing ever. Their Brussels sprouts are life-changing, people. I couldn’t resist the chance to try making them in my own kitchen! (Spoiler alert: they’re just as good when made at home!) and also because…
5. I have the chance to give away not one, but two copies to my readers! Yesssss!

Coconut Layer Cake |

This cookbook is filled with all my favorites from the restaurant. It’s heavy on vegetables and salads (including some awesome salad dressing recipes) but also has a number of entrées, desserts, and of course, lots of lemonade recipes! I admit I’m guilty of getting stuck in dinner ruts way too often, so this book is a fun and easy way to add variety—and more vegetables!—to our diet. I have to tell you that, while I did receive a copy of the book for free, this isn’t a sponsored post…I’m just a Lemonade groupie. True story.

Lemonade Cookbook Giveaway | SugarHero.comWant to win a copy of The Lemonade Cookbook for yourself? Yeah you do! It’s easy. Just leave a comment on this post by December 18! Two people will win! Here’s the fine print:

- One entry per person
- Each comment will be assigned a number and two winners will be picked using the random number generator at
- The contest will run from Wednesday, Dec 11 through Wednesday, Dec 18, 11:59 pm Pacific time.
- I will contact the winners by email, so please make sure you leave a valid email address in the comment form. The winners will have 24 hours to get back to me before a new winner is chosen.
- This prize is open to residents of the US and Canada only.

UPDATE: The contest is closed and winners have been notified. Congratulations to Jillian (#22) and Heather (#82)!

Coconut Layer Cake & A Cookbook Giveaway!
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This dreamy coconut cake has 3 layers of fluffy yellow cake, a coconut soaking syrup, a coconut filling, AND is covered with cream cheese frosting coated guessed it...coconut! This recipe is adapted from The Lemonade Cookbook by Alan Jackson and Joann Cianciulli, used with permission.
Recipe type: Cake
Serves: 9-inch cake
For the Cake:
  • 13½ oz (3 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 8 oz (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 14 oz (2 cups) granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
For the Coconut Soaking Syrup:
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 1¾ oz (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Coconut Filling:
  • 8 oz (1 cup) heavy cream
  • 5¼ oz (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 3 oz (6 tbsp) butter
  • 7½ oz (2 cups) shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Cream Cheese Buttercream and Assembly:
  • 1 lb cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 oz (1/2 cup) butter, at room temperature
  • 8 oz (2 cups) powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 7½ oz (2 cups) shredded sweetened coconut, for topping
To Make the Cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line three 9-inch cake pans with parchment circles, and spray the pans with nonstick cooking spray. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside for now.
  2. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted wit ha paddle attachment, or use a hand-held electric beater. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the vanilla extract.
  3. Turn the mixer to low speed and add a third of the dry ingredients. When they’re mostly incorporated add half the evaporated milk, then half of the remaining flour. Finish by adding the rest of the milk, then the rest of the flour. Mix until the batter is smooth, then scrape down the bottom and sides with a spatula.
  4. Divide the batter into the three pans (if you want to weigh it out, each pan gets about 16.67 oz batter). Tap the pan a few times firmly on the counter top to level the batter and knock out any air bubbles. Place the pans on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when touched. Cool the cake in the pans until completely cool. In the meantime, prepare the glaze, filling, and frosting.
To Make the Coconut Soaking Syrup:
  1. In a small bowl, stir together the coconut milk, sugar, and vanilla; set aside.
To Make the Coconut Filling:
  1. Combine the cream, sugar, and butter in a large pot and place over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced and slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the coconut, cornstarch, and vanilla. Cool and then store in the refrigerator until ready to use. If you need to cool it down quickly, spread it into a thin layer on a baking sheet and press a layer of cling wrap on top, and refrigerate until completely cool and thick.
To Make the Cream Cheese Buttercream:
  1. Place the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or use a handheld electric beater. Beat on medium speed until very smooth and lump-free, about 2 minutes. Stop the machine periodically to scrape off the paddle and sides of the bowl. While beating, gradually sprinkle in the powdered sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and continue to mix until combined.
To Assemble:
  1. When the cakes are cool, turn them out of the pans, remove the parchment paper, and trim any uneven edges. Place one cake on your serving platter or a cardboard cake round. With a pastry brush, coat all of the cakes with the coconut soaking syrup.
  2. Put some of the frosting in a piping bag fitted with a ½-inch round tip, or a large plastic bag with a hole cut in the corner. Pipe a circle around the outer edge of the cake on the serving tray, and fill the center with half of the coconut filling. The frosting circle will act as a moat and keep the coconut filling from leaking out. Top it with another cake round, and repeat the frosting and filling procedure a second time. Place the third cake round on top, and frost the top and sides of the cake with the rest of the cream cheese frosting. Generously cover the top and sides of the cake with shredded coconut. Refrigerate the cake for at least 45 minutes before cutting and serving.


If you don’t want to miss a SugarHero recipe, you can subscribe to get new posts by email, subscribe to the SugarHero RSS feed, become a fan on Facebook, or follow on Twitter. Ooh, and let’s not forget Pinterest. (I love Pinterest.) Thank you!

Disclosure: I received a review copy of The Lemonade Cookbook, and the giveaway copies are being provided by the publisher. I did not receive any additional compensation for this post. For more information, see my Affiliate and Advertising Policy.

100 Responses to Coconut Layer Cake & A Cookbook Giveaway!
  1. Emily says:

    What a pretty cake–with decoration even I could do! I am a Lemonade fan too-I had no idea they had a book coming out!

  2. Wooow this cake looks likke its actually covered in snow. Loving the sound of that sticky filling.

  3. Katie Hannig says:

    This looks amazing!! I’m usually afraid to make layer cakes but I may just have to conquer my fears for this one!

  4. GORGEOUS cake. I am trying to conjure up a white Christmas too (I’ve heard a lot about this ‘snow’). Might have to bring some coconut cake into my life.

  5. Sara says:

    I love coconut cake at Christmas! We make one too, and…me too – I wish I could wear boots and cute scarves. We’re still reaching 80 here…. And the book, I’d love it. So would my husband. He’s a huge fan of all the cookbooks I have piling up in our kitchen!! ;)

  6. Jenny says:

    Coconut cake is perfect for the holidays!

  7. Joyce L. says:

    Wow, that cake looks amazing…will have to try making it. Thanks for the chance to get a copy of this book!

  8. Sarah B says:

    Yummy! I love coconut (and as a fellow Californian, I love Lemonade too!)!

  9. Chantel F says:

    This cake makes me want to make it just because of the pretty factor! And can I say I LOVE the banner decoration?!? I have been dying to do that since I saw it like 8 months ago on Pinterest… But I rarely make cakes simply bc I don’t want to eat it, lol, but my sons 2nd bday is coming up, and his cake NEEDS a banner, he pretty much begged me for one ;) okay, that begging part may have been a dream lol. But for real, you do FABULOUS work!! I love checking your blog multiple times a week!

  10. Jane Johnson says:

    How is it that I have never been to lemonade? Next gno? Please bless I win.

  11. Ulrike says:

    The cake looks absolutely delicious!

  12. Annie Y says:

    Ooh!The cake looks so light

  13. Sara says:

    I would love to win!

  14. Michelle says:

    My Fav Cake In The World Am Drooling With My Glass Of Milk I Hand A Lemonade Is Awesome To Cook And Bake With Would Love To Win The Cake My Mom Would Make Me For Every One Of My Birthdays Hadn’t Had One Since She Passed Boy I Sure Miss Her And My Birthday Cake…Thank You For Recipe

  15. Love coconut in everything! This cake looks ideal for Christmas. :-) Pinning it right away!

  16. Lisa says:

    beautiful cake

  17. TC says:

    Sounds like a good cookbook, and the cake looks amazing!

  18. Becky M says:

    This looks so yummie!! And I have to tell you, I made your gingerbread chocolate chip cookies this weekend and THEY were life changing. :)

  19. I love the snowflake background! And all the coconut is making my coconut heart skip a beat … could I ask for a more coconut-y cake?! It is beautiful and the layers sound so delicious!

  20. A couple of things….

    1. I too have heard of this “snow”… I’ve actually seen it once or twice in South LA (the state, not the city). But it’s being “cold” is rare so this coconut cake…. totally holiday since it’s as close to snow as we’ll get.

    2. This place Lemonade sounds like something I need in my life. Like bad.

    3. Since I’ve never heard of Lemonade, I had to laugh at myself because when I saw that it was owned by Alan Jackson, my first thought went to the country singer. I mean there could only be one person in this world named Alan Jackson right?! :)

  21. Jason says:

    Coconut cake is so rockin! I would give anything to be able to make one that looked even close to this one! Thanks for the chance

  22. Jillian says:

    I would love a copy of the cookbook! One of my dad’s favorite desserts is coconut cake – I’m going to have to try out this recipe for him!

  23. karen says:

    Gorgeous cake. I love Lemonade – got to eat there when I was in LA in September

  24. Jayne Gallagher says:

    Snow! Surrounded by lots of it here in Ontario Canada. They’re calling for 10 cm on Saturday. But what a lovely distraction it would be to bake this cake. Thinking of infusing some lemonade flavour into it by using lemon infused sugar and or lemon juice in place of coconut milk. Think I could trick myself into believing I’m somewhere tropical?? If not, it would still be scrumptious!,

  25. Anna says:

    This cake looks so very moist, unlike most coconut cakes. I will definitely be baking this for Christmas family gathering!

  26. samantha says:

    This cake looks amazing!!! Can’t wait to they it .

  27. Audra Bell says:

    Wow! Fingers crossed!!! What a great giveaway!

  28. Billie means says:

    Since my daughter’s favorite cake is coconut, I shall definitely try this! And you had me when you mentioned Brussel sprouts at the restaurant. I recently had an appetizer at the Gladly in Phoenix which had fire-roasted Brussel sprouts served on a Bed of polenta or white grits. I nay go back and just have that as my main course. Would love to see what Lemonade does with theirs!

  29. Jane Thompson says:

    I would love to win this cookbook!

  30. Johlene says:

    Hey! Looking at all the comments I can imagine why this post is so popular.. this cake looks really delish, especially the inside.. super moist.. amazing.. a great bake!!! Xx

  31. Elkeer says:

    Oh me, oh my! Coconut and the opportunity for a lemon(ade) cookbook. What a treat! I have really been enjoying your site!
    Love it, love it!

  32. erin m. says:

    That cake looks divine!

  33. Patty says:

    I just stumbled across you website and I absolutely love it. I too am a sugar connoisseur and just love my desserts. I’ve never heard of Lemonade restaurant, but I love Lemon desserts of all types. The Coconut Cake looks amazing. I have to make it for the up coming holidays.

  34. Sandra says:

    looking forward to making this cake
    coconut is my favorite

  35. Linda K. says:

    This looks like a great cake and a fun cookbook.

  36. Elizabeth says:

    Enjoy all your recipes, sure will love this too!

  37. S. Harris says:

    Looks yummy! Thanks for the giveaway!

  38. Caley says:

    Gorgeous cake…I love coconut SO much, and this looks like the perfect showcase!

  39. Katherine says:

    I’m always looking for new cook books! The cake looks amazing. I can’t wait for an excuse to make it!

  40. Wicked cake, girl! Fabulous styling and photography, too. Thanks for sharing! xo

  41. I lived in LA for a few years when I was in grad school, and I really miss the weather. Who are these people that like the snow and cold? I’ve never been to Lemonade, but I would love to try making some life changing Brussels sprouts, or this gorgeous cake!

  42. Lori Rosell says:

    This cake looks beautiful. I am a coconut lover, so I might get brave enough to give this recipe a try.

  43. Brad G says:

    The Cake looks amazing. I love Lemonade too, there’s one near my house and I think their vegetables are fantastic, really love them. Really excited about the cookbook!!

  44. Ceri says:

    Well being from SD and living somewhere that got 8 inches of snow then got to 8F. I think the scarves and boots highly overrated. Besides you could just wear them with shorts if you wanted. Haven’t heard of the Lemonade but like salads.

  45. Danguole says:

    Can I package up some snow and send it your way? Maybe in exchange for one of these cakes?

    It sure is pretty until it gets dirty and slushy and freezes all over again and… Sigh. (Snow, not cake.)

  46. Tamara Davidson says:

    Luscious and Perfect!

  47. Sonya says:

    I was looking for this receipt for long time.Thank you!

  48. This is the most beautiful cake ever! I’d pin it a million times if I could ;–) Happy Friday! X

  49. Jill Byrd says:

    I’m a HUGE coconut AND Lemonade fan, so this cookbook will be perfect! The cake is gorgeous and looks like something even I could do :) Thank you for the opportunity and good luck to everyone :)

  50. Erin Hurt says:

    At least in California it’s not 80 degrees in the morning and then 40 by the afternoon, like Texas ;) LOVE coconut cakes and I can’t wait to try this one out!

  51. Oh my gosh, that pic of the slice of cake looks amazing!!! I can see the ooey gooey filling and moist, fluffy cake. I’m craving this so bad right now. Haha, I actually like shoveling the driveway! I dunno, I guess it reminds me of snowdays when I was little :) Your cake is definitely wintry looking.
    And I could use this book- my husband is lemondade-obsessed!

  52. Liz says:

    I never liked coconut all that much as a kid but now I love it and find excuses to put it in things! Your cake looks so moist and festive! I’m so happy this contest is open to Canadians….where we’re getting all the snow and cold weather! :(

  53. Maria says:

    Looks delicious! Thanks for sharing your swag! :-)

  54. Paul Croughn says:

    I wish you were giving away that cake, too!

  55. Mary says:

    I LOVE coconut cake and can’t wait to try this one. Thanks for sharing!

  56. Nicole says:

    coconut cake is a fave at my house……cookbooks are another fave…..

  57. Jan says:

    The cake looks delicious. I can’t wait to make it..thanks so much.

  58. Andj says:

    I am crazy about coconut cake but for some reason have never actually made it. But now I have to because that is the only way I will be able to try this cake!

  59. I want a huge slice of this cake with extra frosting!

  60. Nice cake! Is like snow^^

  61. Meryl says:

    Thanks so much for the giveaway!

  62. Tabbi says:

    As the soon-to-be recipient of about 10 inches of snow, I can say it’s not always delightful…but a new cookbook to read would help the situation greatly!

  63. Chelsea says:

    I’m totally salivating over that cake… Will you please be my Lemonade buddy? I’ve looked at the menu online but haven’t gotten around to trying it. (I somewhat fear what could possibly be new addictions.) Besides, I think Asher needs another baby fix so we need to hang out soon anyway. ;-)

  64. Kelsey says:

    Oooh pick me pick me! ;) I love Lemonade. And I love you. Obviously I’m a winner.

  65. sophiemama says:

    My husband will absolutely love this cake.

  66. Debbie says:

    I haven’t tried the desserts at Lemonade but anything I have tried is so yummy. It’s amazing what they make appetizing. Your cake does look good.

  67. Carolsue says:

    What a beautiful cake! I wish I could bake something that pretty! :)
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

  68. Sharon from freezing Massachusetts says:

    Hi Elizabeth, Your recipes are amazing! Keep them coming. I am a cookbook junkie! The cookbook looks incredible. Happy Holidays! Sharon

  69. Carol Hanson says:

    this looks like a super delicious cake; will be trying it soon. I love cookbooks and so do my daughter, son and granddaughters; so it would get lots of use. thanks love your blog

  70. S. Harris says:

    Sweet. Literally! Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

  71. Morgan says:

    I love coconut-flavored things. That cake looks amazing!

  72. Cathy says:

    Ooo, coconut cakes always look so lovely and fluffy!

  73. I love coconut and this looks amazing! Pinning to my coconut obsession board. :)

  74. Richard Hewlette says:

    Looks great. Will try this with a lemon curd filling.

  75. Emilia H. says:

    That cake looks delicious!

  76. Gloria Richards says:

    This cake recipe sounds wonderful. I have to try it soon and then I have plans for this yummy recipe. Coconut is my best friends favorite (thant and lemon) so what better to make her as a birthday cake? She’ll love it! :)

  77. Christa Todd says:

    It looks delicious! I can’t wait to try it.

  78. Christa todd says:

    Looks delicious!!!

  79. Becky says:

    It has been yeeeeaaaaars since I have had a coconut cake this good!! Thanks for sharing,

  80. I can’t wait to try this recipe! It looks and sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  81. Patricia says:

    Hello from (very) snowy Canada! Agreed – this cake looks like a big puff ball of snow. Before it gets all grungy on the ground in the middle of the city. Definitely the best cake for all snow-or-no-snow holidays! This one will definitely be on my Christmas table.

  82. Heather Theurer says:

    I’ve been looking for this recipe!!
    Thanks! Looks delish.
    Hope I win the whole recipe book.

  83. Tammy J says:

    Man, does that look good…..Got it pinned to try it out….Thanks for sharing..

  84. Riverspice says:

    Cake looks wonderful and I like the lemon curd suggestion. Wish me luck because I want this book,bad.

  85. Rachael says:

    I found this recipe through Pinterest. Coconut cake is my favorite and I can’t wait to make this!

  86. Alex says:

    Ooooooh coconut is my fave. This may have to be my first attempt at a layer cake. I miss Lemonade so much since my move to Philly.

  87. Maria says:

    The cake looks so good. I’ve made a coconut cake before, but always looking for different recipes. I’m going to try making this one for Christmas.

  88. Kelly says:

    Oh wow, I go on a blog fast for a week and missed this bad boy? Now I have go to see what other treats you’ve whipped up in the meantime. Be still, my beating heart, watering mouth and growling stomach.

  89. I wish my husband didn’t hate coconut! I’ll have to think of an excuse to make this! It looks amazing :)

    Oh and I definitely want to win that cook book!

  90. I can assure you there is nothing, absolutely nothing, delightful about snow, cold, winter, ice. None of it. I am doing my best to move to CA! It won’t stop snowing here in MI :( But I love coconut cake. It probably my favorite dessert, and that filling is calling my name!

  91. Teresa says:

    I have just found your site and have posted it on my Pinterest site. I just had hand surgury and this is such an enjoyable site. Thank you for making the world a little sweeter!

  92. June Tyler says:

    I loved the picture of the coconut cake so much that I made it. What a delicious cake. I’ll be sure to serve it again and again. I love lemons in most dessert recipes and would be thrilled to win THE LEMONADE COOKBOOK. Your site is amazing.

    • Elizabeth says:

      June, I’m so glad to hear you made the cake and enjoyed it! We scarfed it down too–a definite winner! Thanks for visiting. :)

  93. I absolutely LOVE coconut cake! Looks delish! Can’t wait to try the recipe myself. In fact, I would love to try all of the recipes in the cookbook!

    Good luck to all who has entered!

  94. Nicole says:

    I need to make this coconut cake for my dad….it look yummy… If I am a cookbook winner – I will be overjoyed!

  95. Kyeesha Baldwin says:

    What a lovely cake. So elegant. Can’t wait to make it. The coconut buttercream frosting sounds delicious.

  96. April says:

    This looks like a great cookbook and that cake is gorgeous!

  97. PJ says:

    I love Lemonade, such a great place. The cake looks wonderful, I can’t wait to make it. Thanks!

  98. Tammy says:

    This cake looks moist and delicious I will be trying this for the christmas holiday.

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

Oh Hello There
Don't Be A Stranger
Take Me Home Tonight
Hey sugar heroes!
My candy cookbook is available now from:

Barnes & Noble
Easter Desserts