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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!

overhead photo of lemon cake cute into square pieces

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!

process photo of lemon cake batter in mixing bowl

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.

process photo of ombre colored frosting

The frosting

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.

close up overhead photo of lemon cake with square slices cut

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!

photo of lemon cake with slices cut

Looking for other sweet cake recipes? Here are some favorites:

Swirled Blueberry Lemon Thyme Cake

Double Strawberry Cupcakes

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

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings: 12
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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Ingredients

Coconut Lemon Topping

Instructions

  • 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).

Notes

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.
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lemon cake with slices cut

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    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).

  2. 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?

    1. Hi Julie,
      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

  3. 5 stars
    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 🙂

    1. Hey Amelia,
      Fantastic!! I love to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks for trying it out! I hope you had a great holiday weekend!?

  4. Hi Tieghan,

    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!

    1. Hi McKenna,
      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

  5. All I have is sweetened coconut shredded flakes. Should I just reduce the amount of honey I’m the recipe?

    1. Hi Madeline,
      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

  6. 4 stars
    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.

    1. Hi Gilly,
      Happy Wednesday! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was a hit, thanks a bunch for giving it a try! xx

  7. Made this for a Memorial Day dinner party & it was FABULOUS! So moist & delicious! I love lemon & coconut so it was perfect.

    1. Hi Carolyn,
      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

    1. Hi Emily,
      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

  8. 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.

    1. Hey Maura,
      Wonderful!! Thank you so much for making the recipe, I am so glad to hear that it was enjoyed!! Have the best week:) xxT

  9. 5 stars
    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!

    1. Hi Jen,
      Thanks for your comment! Love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed:) Have a great weekend! xxTieghan