Moist Lemon Coconut Loaf Cake is EASY to make. No one will know you didn’t have to make it from scratch thanks to a few shortcut ingredients! Topped with homemade Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting.
Lemon and coconut are a delicious flavor combination and perfect in this rich, flavor-packed cake.
It’s a box mix hack that saves time and effort. But that’s OUR secret!
Cheater Lemon Cake recipe
Sometimes you want a great baked cake but you don’t have the time to do it all from scratch.
This recipe is the type of recipe that delivers from scratch flavor with some shortcuts.
It uses a box cake mix and lemon pudding to create a moist, bold lemon flavored cake mixed with coconut extract.
It speeds up the baking process with no shortcuts on the results.
What’s a Loaf Cake?
A cake that is baked in a loaf pan or bread pan so it’s formed in a loaf for slicing instead of layers.
- 15.25-ounce Lemon Cake Mix – any cake mix can be used although the Supreme type cake mixes will be moister and flavor-packed. Regular or gluten-free cake mix can be used.
- 3.4-ounce box Lemon Instant Pudding – adds more lemon flavor and makes the cake really moist.
- Vegetable Oil
- Shredded Coconut – regular or sweetened coconut may be used in the cake itself. Sweetened coconut is toasted for the topping.
- Coconut Extract
- Cream Cheese
- Unsalted Butter
- Powdered Sugar
- Heavy Whipping Cream
- Lemon Zest – used on the topping.
Every well known cake mix brand has a Supreme or Extra Moist set of mixes.
Gluten-Free Lemon Cake Mix tip
Lemon cake mix is hard to find in gluten-free form.
Instead you can use a gluten-free yellow cake mix (15-ounce mix) and add the zest of a large lemon.
Use the other recipe ingredients and steps as described.
How to Make it – Step-by-Step
STEP 1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare an 10-inch by 5-inch loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. TIP: the pan can additionally be lined as shown in photo 1 with a piece of parchment for easy cake removal (optional).
STEP 2: In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cake mix, pudding mix, water, oil, eggs and coconut extract (photo 2). Mix together (photo 3).
Fold in shredded coconut (photos 4 and 5).
STEP 3: Pour the batter into the prepared pan (photo 6) and bake for 50-55 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave the oven on for toasting the coconut!
Cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Remove from pan and transfer to a wire rack and cool completely (aproximately 1 hour).
Toasting the Coconut for the Topping
Keep the oven at 350 degrees F. Spread the 1/2 cup shredded coconut onto a rimmed baking sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes stirring periodically to prevent burning. The color should be golden brown (see photo 7).
Remove and allow to cool on the baking sheet.
Making the Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
While the loaf cake is cooling make the frosting.
STEP 1: In a medium bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, coconut extract and cream cheese (photos 7-8).
STEP 2: Add the powdered sugar (photo 9) and mix until smooth (photo 10).
STEP 3: Add the heavy cream (photo 11) and continuing mixing until the frosting is creamy and spreadable consistency (photo 12). NOTE: if needed add more heavy cream one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
STEP 4: Spread the frosting on the cooled cake (photos 13-14). Top with the toasted coconut (photo 15) and lemon zest (photo 16).
Slice and enjoy!
How to Store It
Store covered at room temperature for up to 4 days. Refrigerating may dry the cake out.
How to Freeze It
The cake is easier to freeze before frosting it. I recommend freezing the cake and frosting after thawing for best results.
Wrap snugly in plastic wrap and freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw at room temperature.
More Dessert Recipes You’ll Love!
Lemon Coconut Cake Loaf w/ Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 15.25-ounce Lemon Cake Mix
- 1 3.4-ounce box Lemon instant pudding mix
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut sweetened or unsweetened
- 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
- 2 ounces cream cheese softened
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
- 2-3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
- 1/2 cup toasted shredded sweetened coconut toasting instructions included below
Preparing the Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 10-inch by 5-inch loaf pan with non stick spray. (Optional) Line the pan with foil or parchment paper to allow for easy release of the loaf.
In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, blend together the cake mix, pudding mix, water, oil, eggs and extract. Fold in the shredded coconut.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50-55 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean and the top is golden brown. Leave the oven on to toast the coconut topping!
Cool for 10 minutes inside the pan and then remove and place on a cooling rack and allow the loaf to completely cool, about 1 hour.
Toasting the Coconut for topping (while the cake is cooling)
While the loaf is cooling, spread the 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Stir the coconut around every couple of minutes to prevent burning.
The toasting is done once the coconut is golden brown in color.
In a medium sized bowl, beat together the butter, extract and cream cheese until combined.
Add in the powered sugar and mix until the frosting is smooth. Add the heavy cream and continue mixing until the frosting is creamy and thin enough to spread.
NOTE: If needed, add more heavy cream 1 tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached.
Spread the frosting on your cooled cake loaf, top with the toasted coconut and lemon zest. Slice and enjoy!