Sweet, simple, and delicious, Lemon Coconut Vanilla Sheet Cake. Light and fluffy lemony vanilla cake swirled with a lemon coconut topping. Then generously frosted with creamy whipped vanilla buttercream. Make it pretty for spring and summer by swirling in freeze-dried berry powders or berry jams to create ombre shades of pink and purple. It’s a simple sheet cake that’s lemony, sweet, light, fluffy…and pretty too!
Happy Friday, happy almost Easter Sunday! Hoping today’s sweet cake brings a little spring pep and cheer into your weekend! I’m currently looking at a photo of this cake with its light colors and dainty little chamomile flowers. Thankfully, it’s cheering me up on this cold and snowy day.
Which if being honest is the reason I made this cake. Ever since I returned from my almost 2-weeks of travel, it’s been windy, cold, and snowing almost every day. I’ve really needed to physically brighten my days and this cake did just that for me.
The bonus, of course, is that it’s delicious. But I made it because I wanted to create something light and colorful for spring. So happy that it turned out even better than I’d envisioned!
Here are the details
When it comes to vanilla cake I like to keep my recipes pretty straightforward. I always go heavy on the vanilla, but I wanted this to have awesome lemon flavor too. So I used a mix of lemon juice and zest, which is key.
Mix the coconut oil with sour cream, eggs, sugar, all the lemon, and then that vanilla. Next add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and a nice pinch of salt. Stream in a little milk and that’s it. Keep it simple.
Now pour the batter into a rectangle baker and pop it in the oven. You’ll smell the lemon as the cake bakes, it’s wonderful.
While the cake is baking, make the quick coconut topping. This is a mix of lemon juice, honey, and toasted coconut.
It’s boiled together on the stove until the lemon and honey form a glaze, then simply stir in the coconut. Just three ingredients, but wow so good. Spread the topping over the cake when it comes out of the oven, then let everything cool.
Cream cheese, butter, sugar, and a splash of vanilla. Beat that all together and you’ll have one of my favorite cake frostings.
No one ever knows there’s cream cheese in the frosting. But it’s what makes this frosting extra special and leaves everyone wanting more. It’s my go-to for cakes.
For decorating, I envisioned the cake to be light shades of pink and purple, but I didn’t want to use food coloring. I ended up using a combination of freeze-dried strawberries and raspberries to create different shades of pink.
For the purple shade, I used blueberry jam, but you can’t see it as much. So I wouldn’t recommend this as highly as the freeze-dried berries. I didn’t try them, but I’m sure you could also use freeze-dried blueberries for that purple shade.
To blend the dried berries into a fine powder use a food processor or blender. Then stir the powders into separate bowls of frosting to create an ombre look. Super cute and easy!
What I love most about this sheet cake is how just pretty it turns out with minimal effort. The beauty of a sheet cake is that you don’t have to cut or layer anything. Just bake, frost, and enjoy!
This will be so fun for Easter this weekend!
Looking for other sweet cake recipes? Here are some favorites:
Swirled Blueberry Lemon Thyme Cake
Retro-Style Chocolate Sheet Cake
Swirled Blackberry Lavender Sheet Cake
Lastly, if you make this Lemon Coconut Vanilla Sheet Cake, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Lemon Coconut Vanilla Sheet Cake
Calories Per Serving: 664 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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- 1 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 2/3 cup milk
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Coconut Lemon Topping
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 1/2 cups toasted coconut
- 2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 sticks salted butter, at room temperature
- 2 1/2-3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 ounces freeze-dried strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries (optional)
- 1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a 9×13 inch baking dish with parchment paper.2. In a large bowl, beat together the coconut oil, sour cream, eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until just combined, then slowly beat in the milk until fully combined 3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 30-35 minutes, until the top is just set and no longer wiggly in the center. Remove and let cool.4. To make the topping. In a small saucepan bring the lemon juice and honey to a boil over high heat. Boil 1-2 minutes, until just slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the coconut. Evenly spoon the syrup over the cake, then let cool. 5. To make the frosting: In a stand mixer, beat together the cream cheese until whipped. Add the butter and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar, and vanilla. Beat until the frosting is light and fluffy. Frost the cake all over (decorating directions in notes).
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Decorating: If desired, you can pulse the freeze-dried berries into a fine powder, then divide the frosting between 2-3 bowls and stir in the dried berries to create lighter and darker shades of pink. Frost the cake all over with both shades, or spoon the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a star tip (I use a 1M Wilton tip), then frost.
- You can also use blueberry jam to make a purple shade, just use 1-2 teaspoons of jam.
This recipe was easy, looks so tasty too! I used Bon Maman raspberry jam and the hue of the frosting is so pretty. What’s the trick to cutting this without destroying the pretty decor? I put it in the fridge for now so it hopefully in a few hours, it will cut a bit easier.
I just cut straight, simple lines to make square cuts:) I hope you love this recipe! xx
Can this be made with GF flour instead??
Yes, that should work well for you! Please let me know if you have any other questions, I hope you love this recipe! xx
Made this with my daughter a few weeks ago and forgot to comment. This was so yummy made it exactly as described. Will definitely be making this again over Easter. We did not do the elaborate frosting job, but it was still pretty with a light pink frosting from the freeze dried strawberry powder added. Awesome idea.
Happy Valentine’s Day! 💌 I appreciate you giving this recipe a try and sharing your feedback, so glad to hear it was tasty! xT
This cake was AMAZING! So moist and delicious! I omitting the “topping” suggestion as my sauce seemed too runny. I used the freeze dried strawberries in the icing (was so happy to find this idea as we do not use food colorings).
Happy Monday!! I love to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks for making it:) xTieghan
Hi can you make this a layer cake in 3 6 ” rounds?
Sorry, I would not recommend that for this recipe, if you want a layer cake with similar flavors, try this one:
Please let me know if you have any other questions! xx
This looks so good. I’m looking to make a cake for my husband who loves both lemon and coconut. Trying to decide between this one and your layered cake that has the berry jam buttercream. Any thoughts as to which one?
I would go with this one since it has the main flavors that your husband is looking for:) Let me know how it turns out! xx
Amazing! Best thing I’ve ever baked. The flavors are so delicious. Ran out of frosting at the end so next time I’ll make a little extra 🙂
Fantastic!! I love to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks for trying it out! I hope you had a great holiday weekend!?
Hoping to make this for the 4th of July! Instead of freeze-dried berries, would something like a strawberry extract work- mainly for flavor? Thanks!
Sorry, I wouldn’t recommend that for this recipe as I have not tested this, I would probably stick with the freeze-dried berries:) I hope this recipe turns out amazing for you, please let me know if you give it a try! xT
All I have is sweetened coconut shredded flakes. Should I just reduce the amount of honey I’m the recipe?
Sure, try using just 1/4 cup of honey, it should be just fine. Please let me know if you have any other questions, I hope you love this recipe! xTieghan
5 stars when it first comes out of the oven and same day.
But anything past the that for me , my cake went from light and fluffy to super dense and heavy.
Frosting is great the addition of dried fruit is a great idea.
Happy Wednesday! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was a hit, thanks a bunch for giving it a try! xx
Made this for a Memorial Day dinner party & it was FABULOUS! So moist & delicious! I love lemon & coconut so it was perfect.
Happy Monday! I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for making it and sharing your feedback!! Have the best week:) xx
This was super yummy! I want to make it into cupcakes? Would I need to change anything?
Happy Friday! Thanks so much for sharing your feedback and trying this recipe out! Love to hear that it was enjoyed:) I would just start checking for doneness at 25 minutes for cupcakes. xxTieghan
We loved this! I almost didn’t make it due to some negative comments but I followed recipe exactly and it was perfect. Definitely don’t skip the lemon coconut! It was our favorite part.
Wonderful!! Thank you so much for making the recipe, I am so glad to hear that it was enjoyed!! Have the best week:) xxT
I made this today and it’s very yummy!
I love the lemon, and added lemon to the frosting as well.
The freeze dried raspberries combined with the lemon are an excellent flavour.
Thanks for the lovely spring/summer recipe!
Thanks for your comment! Love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed:) Have a great weekend! xxTieghan