Go Back

Lemon coconut cake with raspberry swiss meringue buttercream

A subtle lemon cake filled with layers of fresh raspberry swiss meringue buttercream and homemade lemon curd.


  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp each baking powder & Bicarb soda
  • 1/2 cup dessicated coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups castor sugar
  • zest of two lemons

Raspberry swiss meringue buttercream

  • 12 egg whites
  • 2 1/2 cups castor sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 625 grams unsalted butter, chopped and at room temp (2 1/2 blocks) It needs to be quite soft
  • 1 punnet fresh (or frozen) raspberries
  • 2 - 3 drops pink gel paste I used Wilton Rose colour
  • 1 cup lemon curd to put between cake layers I used Wilton Rose colour
  • 4 -5 drops Americolor "Wedgewood" food gel paste For final coat of frosting


  1. Preheat oven to 180C

    Grease and line three 20cm (8 inch) round cake pans

  2. In a medium bowl, using a hand whisk, beat eggs until well combined.

  3. Add vanilla and oil. Whisk well

  4. Add sour cream. Whisk until well combined. Add coconut and water, whisk well.

  5. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, bicarb soda

  6. In another separate bowl, measure sugar. Add zest of two lemons and using your fingers rub the zest into sugar until well combined and fragrant.

  7. Add sugar to dry mix and whisk together until well combined

  8. Carefully pour wet mixture into dry mix. Whisk well.

  9. Divide cake mixture into three prepared cake tins.

  10. Bake in moderate oven for 25 minutes. Check and continue to bake for another 5 minutes if needed. 

  11. Place tins on a wire rack to cool. Leave cakes in tins for 10 minutes before turning onto rack. When completely cool, wrap each cake in plastic food wrap and refrigerate at least an hour (I leave mine overnight)

Swiss meringue buttercream

  1. Carefully separate egg whites, ensuring no yolk gets in. I find it best to separate each egg in a small bowl before adding it to the mixing bowl, so you don't contaminate all of the other whites if some yolk gets in..make sense?

    Keep two egg yolks to make your lemon curd

  2. Place egg whites in your electric mixing bowl.

  3. Add sugar and hand whisk until well combined

  4. Put the bowl carefully over a medium saucepan on a stove, with 1 inch of simmering water in it. Whisk to ensure sugar and eggs are combined

  5. Wait and watch for about ten minutes until you feel no sugar granules as you rub mixture between your fingers. NOTE: mixture will be hot but shouldn't be too hot to touch. Never do this if you are making caramel!!

  6. When you are sure the sugar is dissolved, remove from stove top. Put bowl into electric mixer and using the whisk attachment whisk on high until meringue forms with stiff peaks. About 5 - 8 minutes

  7. Stop mixer and change over to paddle attachment. (Give the whisk to the nearest child who walks past and s/he will love you forever)

  8. Turn mixer onto the LOWEST speed and gradually add pieces of soft butter, one at a time. This will take some time.

  9. Wait and watch. This is where SMBC can get tricky. When all of the butter is in, the mixture will change consistency and flop slightly. It will then change to look soupy, then curdled like scrambled eggs. Don't panic, YOU WANT THIS TO HAPPEN. Don't give up when it looks weird. It will take about 15 minutes to turn into silky smooth buttercream and you will be beside yourself with how fabulous it looks. 

  10. TROUBLESHOOTING: SMBC can be temperamental. If it still isn't coming together after say 25 minutes, then it probably won't. The experts say to refrigerate for 15 minutes then mix again, but this has never worked for me and I find it easier to admit defeat and start all over again. Yep, that means another dozen eggs, so be prepared.

  11. If all is going well, rejoice! 

    Add vanilla bean paste and mix for another minute or so.

    Separate icing into two bowls. Reserve half for final coat of frosting. Colour with "wedgewood" Gel paste. 

    Add raspberries to the second half of frosting. Add food gel paste to make it pink if that hasn't happened naturally. (frozen berries may give more colour than fresh)

Assembling the cake

  1. Take your cold cakes out of the fridge. Using a serrated bread knife, carefully level cakes until flat on the top. They should be pretty flat already. 

  2. Put one layer of cake onto a cake board and onto a turntable if you have one.

  3. Spread a spoonful of lemon curd onto the cake, then some of the raspberry meringue buttercream. 

  4. Repeat with second layer. 

  5. Turn third layer upside down and place on top. Eyeball the cake to check it is level.

    NOTE: The cake I made in the photo has 4 layers. If you want the cake this tall you will need to make two batches, putting a third of the mixture into one 20cm (8 inch) round tin. I used the rest of the second batch to make cupcakes.

  6. Using a cake spatula, smooth the sides of the cake and put more icing on top. Smooth as best as you can, adding more icing to cover the entire cake with a thin coat. This is called a 'crumb coat' and stops crumbs getting into your final coat of icing.

  7. Refrigerate cake until crumb coat has crusted.

  8. Use the remaining blue coloured buttercream to frost the cake. (Keep frosting at room temperature and beat on low to get back to desired consistency if necessary)