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A Taste of the Tropics – Coconut Lime Layer Cake

During March my son Kyle and I joined friends on a cruise of the Mexican Riviera.  It was a wonderful escape from the snow and cold of Minnesota.  While on the cruise I enjoyed taking a tour of the ship’s kitchen.  It was during the tour that I discovered that most of the beautiful and delicious desserts served on board were actually made from scratch right there on the ship.  I must say I was impressed!  Now that spring is here in Minnesota I thought it would be fun to bake a dessert that reminded me of those served on our cruise.  Coconut Lime Layer Cake came to mind.  

Coconut Lime Layer Cake delivers a “taste of the tropics” with the additions of freshly grated lime peel and cream of coconut.  These were two popular flavors I enjoyed on the cruise.  The desserts on the ship were always beautiful, as is this cake.  It does take a little more time and care to prepare, but the results are worth the effort.  Maybe you have a special occasion to celebrate or you just simply want to impress your family or friends.  Trust me, this recipe will do just that! 

The first step is to make the cake.  Heat the oven to 350°F.  Grease and flour 2 (9-inch) round cake pans that are about 2 inches deep. Set the pans aside until the batter is prepared.


Next grate the lime peel so it is ready to add once you start mixing the cake batter.


Combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl then set it aside.


Combine the sugar and butter in a large bowl.  Beat at medium speed until well mixed.


Add the cream of coconut.  Cream of coconut is available at large grocery stores in the baking isle and liquor stores.  It’s available in a can or plastic bottle.  Cream of coconut is a thick sweet liquid made from fresh coconut and is often used in drinks like Piña Coladas.


Add the freshly grated lime zest.


Continue beating, scraping the bowl often, until creamy.


Add one egg at a time, beating well after each addition.


Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture that was set aside alternately with the buttermilk.  First, add about 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat.  Now add about 1/3 of the buttermilk and beat.  Repeat until all the flour and buttermilk are incorporated.


The batter should look like this when it is well mixed.


Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans.


Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


Cool 10 minutes.  Invert onto cooling racks and remove pans.  Cool completely.


Once the cakes are completely cooled prepare the frosting by combining the butter, cream of coconut, cream cheese and lime zest in a large bowl.


Beat at medium speed until creamy.


Reduce speed to low and add the powdered sugar and enough half & half for the desired spreading consistency. Continue beating until the mixture is creamy.  It’s best to start with the small amount of half & half and slowly add more until the desired consistency is reached.  If you add too much, add a little more powdered sugar.


To assemble the cake place one cake layer onto a cake plate, bottom-side up.


If the cake layer is too rounded and doesn’t sit flat you can carefully trim the top of the cake layer to make it flat.


Frost the top of the cake with about 1 cup frosting.


Place the second cake layer, bottom-side down, on top of the frosted cake.


Frost the entire cake including the sides using all the remaining frosting.


Sprinkle the top of the cake with coconut.


I garnished the cake with a slice of lime.  Isn’t it beautiful!


Coconut and lime, brings back memories of ocean breezes and warm sunshine.  Here’s a picture of Kyle and me in our happy place having just finished dinner one night on our cruise.


If you try Coconut Lime Layer Cake please come back to rate and review the recipe.  I really want to know what you think  about this recipe so feel free to leave me a comment too.

Looking for a fun Spring activity to do with kids? Come back on Monday when Mallory will share a fun, kid-friendly recipe.

Becky Wahlund is the Director of the Test Kitchens for Land O'Lakes and writes for our Recipe Buzz® Blog.


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• Comments •

Where can I just get the recipe without the pictures?

Posted Sep 25 2012 by elayne
Test Kitchen Comment


The name of the recipe is underlined in the beginning of the blog as well as at the end. If you click on that name it will take you to the actual recipe document that shows the specific ingredient amounts and the method. This cake has fantastic flavor and is impressive! Hope you try it!
Posted September 27, 2012

I am so glad the cake was a hit! Hoe nice of you to share with your co-workers. Just yesterday I was telling someone about this recipe. Not only is it delicious, it's beautiful too.

Posted Apr 29 2011 by Becky

I made the lime coconut layer cake for my family for Easter and it was a huge hit! It is a wonderful recipe and makes a nice big cake, sturdy and moist. I brought the leftovers to work today and they were consumed with great enthusiasm. I totally endorse this cake!

Posted Apr 27 2011 by Barbara

Lindsay- to find the amounts of ingredients, simply click on the name of the recipe in the blog that is underlined, and that will bring you to the actual recipe. Hope this helps!
-Mallory from the Test Kitchens

Posted Apr 21 2011 by Mallory

You're right, this would make the perfect Easter dessert. Let me know how your's turns out.

Posted Apr 18 2011 by Becky

Sounds like the perfect dessert for Easter.

Posted Apr 16 2011 by Sue

I love this idea, and it looks yummy. However there is not directions on how much, 1/2 cup whole can, a tsp,or anything like that,so I don't know how much to put in? Usually at the top it says what ingredients you need,and the steps to take,and measurements.Lindsay

Posted Apr 15 2011 by Lindsay

Pam, What a great idea, to serve this at a family reunion. I look forward to hearing what everyone thinks.

Posted Apr 15 2011 by Becky

looks good will try it out at a family reunion!

Posted Apr 14 2011 by Pam k.

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    Hi, I'm Becky. I'm eager to share my best ideas and favorite recipes from my 20+ years in the Land O'Lakes Test Kitchen. I'm also excited to help with any questions you have about cooking and baking with Land O Lakes® products. Some of the questions and answers will be published in our newsletter, The Measuring Cup®. Please use the short form below to ask your questions, or share your tip or memory.

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