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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.


Coconut Lemon Topping


  • 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).


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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  1. 4 stars
    I made this cake for family dinner and it was really good. I had to double the icing amount, and if you aren’t super savvy with a piping bag – I had some pieces of berry jam get stuck in the piping tip lol- I spooned some homemade jam over the top of each piece of cake and added some fresh berries. Great taste, great texture, was a hit.

  2. 2 stars
    If you like a soft sweet lemon flavor this one is a little too bitter for my taste. Maybe it was a lemons I ended up picking? But it was too much of a flat lemon taste. I struggle to get lemon flavored bakes right.

    1. Hi Leah,
      Thanks for trying this recipe and sharing your feedback, so sorry to hear the cake was not enjoyed. Please let me know how I can help! xT

  3. Hi Tieghan! Do you think it would be ok if I made the cake a day ahead and frosted it the day of?

    1. Hi Laura,
      You bet, that will work well for you! Please let me know if you have any other questions, I hope you love this recipe! xT

  4. Hi Tiegan! What would be a good sub for the honey (making for a friend who’s allergic to it) would maple syrup with?

    1. Hey Vi,
      Totally, maple syrup will work well for you! Let me know if you have any other questions, I hope you love this recipe! xT

  5. 5 stars
    This recipe was delicious and so fun to make! I opted to make 24 cupcakes instead of a sheet cake, cooking for about 25 minutes. I also ran out of coconut oil while baking so I ended up doing 1/2 cup melted coco oil and 1/2 cup melted butter. The cupcakes were perfectly moist in my opinion. And… even better on day 2! It was so fun to decorate these and they really were a sweet Easter treat for the spread! 🌸

    1. Hey Mallory,
      Happy Monday!!🌞 I appreciate you making this recipe and sharing your feedback, so glad to hear that it turned out well for you! xx

  6. Am excited to make this cake for my dads birthday !
    How important is the toasted coconut ? Was going to use some but maybe a little less ?!

    1. Hey Heather,
      Sure, use as much or as little as you like, it won’t hurt the recipe either way:) Please let me know if you have any other questions! xT