Many people have tried this now and no one thinks of it as a gluten free cake. It’s just a delicious cake! Love the coconut + lemon + almond meal combination, and the springy, moist crumb. BONUS: Just about the fastest, easiest cake recipe I know.
Lemon coconut almond cake
This is a cake that is as delightfully easy to make as it is delicious to eat. Just put everything in a bowl and mix! There’s no need to whip softened butter or pull out your electric beater.
It’s been likened to the fan favourite orange cake in texture – springy yet with an appealing moistness about it. And the flavour! Adore, adore, adore the coconut lemon combination. Idea swiped from my local coffee shop where I’ve been eyeing lemon coconut cake bars for years. This is my copycat.
I don’t actually know if theirs is gluten-free. Mine is, because I’ve never come across a flour-based cake recipe with a crumb as moist as you can make using almond meal.
What you need for this lemon coconut almond cake
Here’s what you need to make this lovely cake:
Almond meal (aka ground almonds) – This is raw almonds that are blitzed into a fine powder. Easily found nowadays, sold in the dried fruit & nut section and health food section of grocery stores. Or make your own by blitzing raw, unpeeled, unsalted almonds in a powerful blender (I use a Vitamix) until it becomes a fine powder.
Almond flour can also be used (not as common here in Australia). It’s finer so gives the cake a slightly fluffier texture and less almond flavour. Hazelnut meal can also be substituted though you’ll have lovely hazelnut flavour instead of almond.
Butter – The fat in this recipe, gives it a beautiful buttery flavour.
Baking powder – This is what makes the cake rise.
Eggs – Make sure they are at room temperature so they incorporate more easily into the batter.
Coconut – Desiccated coconut which is finely shredded, unsweetened coconut. Standard shredded coconut (which is like fine strands) will work but you’ll get more coconut texture in the cake. I don’t think coconut flakes (shavings) will work in this cake, it’s not absorbent enough.
Sugar – Use caster / superfine sugar if you can because it is finer so it will dissolve easier. Otherwise, regular / granulated sugar can be used.
Vanilla extract – For flavour. Not to be confused with artificial vanilla essence which is…well, artificial. So not as nice!
Lemon – We are only using the zest in this cake, for beautiful lemon flavour. Because the zest is where all the lemon flavour is – the juice is mostly just sour.
Flaked almonds – for sprinkling on the surface. Adds lovely texture to the cake, looks good and protects the surface from browning too much. But you can skip it you don’t have it!
Salt – Standard inclusion in most of my sweet recipes these days. Just a touch, to bring out the flavours in this cake. Doesn’t make it salty!
How to make lemon coconut cake
Put everything in a bowl and MIX! How good would life be if all baking recipes were this easy??? (Though, my waistline begs to differ).
Melt the butter in a bowl using your microwave.
Wet ingredients – Whisk in all the other wet ingredients (eggs, vanilla, sugar – yes, sugar is considered a wet ingredient in baking because it liquifies when mixed with other wet ingredients).
Dry ingredients – Whisk in the almond meal, coconut, baking powder, salt and zest.
Pour it into a 20cm/8″ lined round cake pan. DO NOT skip lining the pan! Even greasing very generously is not enough to stop it from sticking to the pan, no matter how non-stick you think your pan is. (As you might have guessed, I’m speaking from first hand experience here).
Bake 40 minutes – Sprinkle the surface with almonds then bake for 40 minutes at 180°C/350°F (160°C fan) or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Cool for 1 hour before cutting to serve. I was a bit impatient in early versions and found that because the cake is quite moist, it can appear undercooked if you cut it while still warm. (But it’s not undercooked, it just looks that way if you cut while still hot!).
Serve it plain!
While some cakes I recommend serving with a dollop of cream, ice cream or other such accompaniment, this is a cake that definitely stands on its own two feet. Great flavour (lemon + coconut with a hint of almond) with a very moist crumb which is virtually impossible to replicate with flour-based cakes.
So it’s a great cake for taking places – such as for a work morning tea, book club, school bake sale. Just cut and serve. And those who are gluten-intolerant can enjoy it too. Though honestly, don’t just make this because you need a gluten-free cake. Make it because it’s just a really great cake that happens to be just about one of the easiest, quickest cake recipes I know. – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
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Easy Lemon Coconut Almond Cake
- 150g / 10 tbsp unsalted butter
- 4 large eggs (55-60g/2oz each), at room temp
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup caster sugar (superfine sugar, Note 2)
- 1 1/2 cups almond meal (ground almond, Note 1)
- 1/4 tsp cooking/kosher salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 cup desiccated coconut (US: finely shredded unsweetened coconut)
- 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest (1 large lemon)
- 1/4 cup flaked almonds , optional (Note 3)
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F (160°C fan). Grease a 20cm/8” round cake pan (or springform pan) with butter then line with paper.
- Melt butter – Place the butter in a large microwavable bowl and melt in the microwave. Let cool for a couple of minutes.
- Wet ingredients – Add egg, vanilla and sugar and whisk until combined.
- Dry ingredients – Add almond meal, salt, baking powder, coconut and lemon zest. Whisk until combined.
- Bake 40 minutes – Pour into pan. Sprinkle over almonds. Bake 40 minutes. Cool 15 minutes in pan then carefully turn out onto cooling rack.
- Cool at least 1 hour before cutting slices to serve. Moist enough to serve plain – doesn't need cream or anything!
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