Martha Stewart Living Radio: The Radio Blog

Make the best coconut lemon curd cake. Ever.

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On a recent Baking Day segment, Living Today had the wonderful Chef Neil Kleinberg, co-owner of Clinton St. Baking Company, on air. The chef brought along the most amazing Coconut Cake we've ever seen.

An Amazing Coconut Cake

Neil also offered these tips for baking the perfect coconut cake:  Make sure the butter is room temperature before you begin to make the cake, use the lemon curd to separate the cake layers with a generous layer of filling, and when putting the coconut on the icing -- hold the cake in your hand and lightly press the coconut into the cake with the other.  Do all this with a large sheet pan below to pick up the stray flakes of coconut. This will be the final result:

Notice the tart and sweet lemon curd between the layers...

The recipe is posted after the jump, enjoy!   Thanks to Neil Kleinberg for this wonderful recipe!

Coconut Lemon Curd Cake
Recipe by Neil Kleinberg
Makes one two-layer, 8" cake

Lemon curd ingredients:
1/2 cup lemon juice (fresh)
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
2 large eggs

To make the lemon curd:
1. Boil the lemon juice, sugar, and butter in a medium sauce pan

2. Whisk the eggs together in a large bowl

3. Pour 1/2 a cup of the lemon mixture into the eggs and whisk together. Add the egg mixture back into the pan with the lemon juice

4. Cover and cool in the refrigerator until ready to assemble cake.

Cake ingredients:
2 1/2  cups cake flour, (measure, then sift)
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon  plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (room temp)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
5 large egg whites
16 ounces sweetened coconut flakes

Make the Cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour an 8-inch round cake pan.

2. Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and oil and mix until small pea sized balls form. Add the milk and vanilla and mix until smooth

3.  In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until medium peaks form (this will take 4-5 minutes by hand; 1 to 2 minutes if you are using an electric mixer with a whip attachment).

4. Fold the whipped whites into the batter (you should not be able to see any whites and the batter should look light and fluffy).

5. Pour the batter into a prepared pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

6. Let the cake cool, then unmold.

Frosting ingredients:
8 ounces cream cheese (not whipped)
Half a stick unsalted butter
4 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup milk

Make the Frosting
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and cream cheese until soft.  Add the confectioners sugar, blending in 1 cup at a time. Add the milk slowly, as needed, and mix until the frosting is smooth and creamy.

Assemble the cake
1. Slice the cake into three layers with a long serrated knife.

2. Reserve the bottom layer. Place another layer on a serving plate. Using a pastry bag, pipe circles of lemon curd on the top using half the curd. Place second cake layer on top of first and repeat with remaining lemon curd. Top with the reserved bottom layer.

3. Refrigerate for 10 minutes to allow the cake to setup

4. Ice the outside of the cake with the frosting.

5.  Gently apply coconut to the top and sides of the cake. The frosting will act as a glue to hold the coconut. Cut and serve

Comments (23)


  • i made this cake and the cake turned out fine but took alot longer than 35 minutes to bake in my oven. the concern I have was with the lemon curd. it didnt get thick like other curd recipes i have used. i even put it in the freezer to help cool it faster and it still didnt get as thick as it should have been.

  • Cake took about ten minutes longer to bake (total 45 mins). Even then, I had to let it sit in the oven while the oven was off just to make sure the center was cooked. Lemon curd also did not thicken, so I added another egg. That didn't work either and I got a little impatient and threw in some cornstarch so it would thicken faster. I also tweaked the frosting and added more cream cheese just because of personal preference. The cake turned out delicious!

  • Looks to me like there is a crucial step missing when making the lemon curd...usually you put it back in the pot and cook it for awhile..."until it coats the back of a spoon"...not sure, but it doesn't look complete.

  • [...] for more mouth-watering recipes from Clinton Street? Try these: Coconut Lemon Curd Cake Pumpkin Cheesecake and Black and White Cake Add [...]

  • Our cake is in the oven and it is spilling over the pan. We had the foresight to put foil under it after reading Katie's comment and noticing that we had a lot of batter for our small pan. I think that perhaps a 9 inch pan should be used, or even a springform pan. We're going ahead with the baking and we'll post how it turns out.

  • maybe should use 3 pans, since picture shows three layers not two as indicated in the recipe

  • Whoever is gono do this cake, put only half of the powder sugar in frosting otherwise it will be too sweet

  • Why in good heavens would you pour all of the batter into one pan? Clearly there are three layers in this cake and the batter is meant to be divided into thirds. Use some common sense, people!

    As for the sweetness of the icing - adding the powdered sugar in incrementally is fine. If it's not sweet enough for you, add some more - easier to add than to remove. Keep in mind that the sweetness is cut by the tartness of the lemon curd.

    That said, I knew to steer clear of that lemon curd recipe; I have been making lemon curd since I was a kid (lemon trees in our garden) and I have never used butter while making it. Here is my fail-proof recipe:

    Lemon Curd

    1/2 cup sugar
    2 T cornstarch
    3 egg yolks
    1/4 cup lemon juice
    1 teaspoon lemon zest
    1/3 cup water

    In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and cornstarch. Then mix in the egg yolks, lemon juice, lemon zest, and water. Cook over medium to medium low heat, stirring constantly until bubbly. I usually start with a flat wooden spoon, then finish with a flat whisk. Cook and stir (or whisk) for 1-2 minutes more.

    Remove from heat and pour into a separate bowl, cover with plastic wrap, pressing it to the surface, and cool. Refrigerate.

  • Regarding my comment above, I stand corrected. I just made lemon curd with butter and it came out beautifully. Is thinner than my recipe but once you pop it in the fridge, the butter solidifies a bit and the texture is gorgeous. I only used yolks though as I had some that needed to be used. My recipe:

    Lemon Curd
    6 egg yolks
    3/4 cup sugar
    1/2 cup lemon juice
    1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
    dash of salt
    1 Tbsp lemon zest (use microplane to zest so this is very fine)

    Combine yolk, sugar and lemon juice in saucepan, cook over medium low heat and stir until it thickly covers back of a spoon. I use one of those old fashioned hand-cranked egg beaters and it whipped up and thickened fine. Stir in butter and zest. Bring to room temperature, cover and refrigerate.

  • In defense of the other bakers and their hard work, the recipe clearly states it's for a "two-layer 8-inch cake." If you are dividing the batter in half and it is still baking over the sides of the pan then there is something clearly wrong with the recipe.

  • Do not walk away from this cake recipe. Run.

    First, it has ingredients listed in wrong places. Second, the proportions are out of whack on the frosting (waaaay too much liquid) and probably in other places. As you can see from the other comments, the directions are probably messed up. Though the pictures and the assembly describe a three layer cake, the recipe is for a two-layer cake that is also problematic as you can see from the prior posts.

    If you like the idea of this cake, do four things:

    1. Find a good, trustworthy lemon curd recipe and make it.

    2. Find a good, trustworthy white cake recipe and make it.

    3. Find a good trustworthy cream cheese frosting recipe and make it.

    4. Top with coconut.

  • I concur with Kevin's comments above. This recipe will drive you nuts. Nothing works, and trying to make adjustments after the fact just makes it worse. The recipe is HORRIBLE and is guaranteed to FAIL.

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