Lemon Coconut Chiffon Cake

IMG_3659There is something very special about a light and fluffy chiffon cake.  Usually they are fragrantly laced with citrus, and are beautiful when served simply with some fresh macerated fruit with the juices wicking into the crumb.

They also work really well when you want to make a great presentation cake.  This recipe uses coconut right in the batter.  Once cooked, it is cut into layers and filled with lemon curd.  Top it off with a light and fluffy coconut icing (with a built in stabilizer), and it has become an amazingly pretty cake, that is light and not too filling.

There may seem to be a lot of instruction, but just read it through first, and you’ll see that it really is a very basic cake, and not hard to succeed at!

Find a small glass or jar to fit into the center hole of the cake, to put in a small posy or a larger blossom.  Just wrap the stems in damp paper towel, and put the flowers in the glass.  Slice the cake with a serrated blade to make a tidy cut.

Click here for printable version.



1 recipe Lemon Curd


1 c coconut, unsweetened, medium

2¼ c cake & pastry flour

1½ c sugar (reserving 2 T for the egg whites)

2 t baking powder

1 t salt

½ c canola oil

7 eggs – yolks and whites separated

3 extra egg whites (there will be 10 whites in all)

¾ c coconut water (plain water in a pinch)

2 t vanilla

1T cream of tartar


¼ c icing sugar

2 t cornstarch

1 c whipping cream (¼ c + ¾ c)

½ t vanilla

1 c coconut, sweetened, long shreds


¾ c toasted coconut, sweetened, long shreds


Prepare the lemon curd in time for it to cool before using.  The day before is best.

Toast the coconut for the cake, as well as the coconut for the final garnish.

Preheat the oven to 325°

Spread the coconut on a parchment lined baking sheet.  I find that the parchment makes for a more uniform toasting.

Bake the coconut for about 4 minutes, stir it a bit and return to the oven for another minute or two.  Watch it carefully, as you don’t want it to turn dark brown, simply toasted golden.IMG_3633

Let cool.

Proceed with recipe, leaving the oven preheated to 325°

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, most of the sugar (reserving 2T), baking powder, salt, and the toasted unsweetened coconut.IMG_3635

In another bowl, whisk together the canola oil, 7 egg yolks, coconut water, and vanilla.IMG_3636

Make a dip in the center of the dry ingredients.

Add in the liquid ingredients.IMG_3640

Beat until smooth.

In the bowl of a mixer, beat the 10 egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form.

Add in the 2 T of reserved sugar, and continue beating until stiff peaks form.IMG_3639

Gently fold in ⅓ of the egg whites to the batter.IMG_3641

Fold in the remaining egg whites until the batter has no white streaks left.IMG_3642

Pour the batter into an ungreased tube pan.

Draw a knife around and through the batter once or twice to remove any air bubbles.

Bake in the center of the oven for 1 hour.

Do not open the oven door while the cake is baking.

To test for doneness, the cake should spring back when touched.

When baked, remove from oven and invert to cool.  If your tube pan doesn’t have legs, just put 3 mugs of the same height upside down on the counter in a triangle to fit the outside of your pan, and rest the pan on them upside down.

Let the cake cool for 40 minutes.

Using a long thin knife or metal spatula loosen the sides of the cake, as well as the core.

Remove the pan.

Let cool completely.

Prepare the icing when the cake has cooled completely.

Chill the bowl & beater while you prepare the stabilizer.

In a small saucepan, together the icing sugar and cornstarch.

Stir in ¼ c of the whipping cream.IMG_3652

Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Let boil for just a few seconds, while stirring.

Stir in the vanilla.

Using a spatula, scrape the mixture into a small bowl to cool.IMG_3654

Beat the whipping cream into soft peaks.

Add in the cooled mixture in a couple of additions, and beat constantly, until firm peaks hold.

Fold in the untoasted, sweetened coconut.

To assemble:

Using a serrated knife, cut the cake into four even layers.

Lay the first layer on the plate or stand you will be serving the cake on.

Spread it with about ½ a cup of the lemon curd. Top with the next layer. Spread the next layer with the same amount of lemon curd, and so on until you have the four layers rebuilt with lemon curd in between.

Don’t put any on the top of the cake!IMG_3648

Spread the coconut icing over the whole cake.  Use a small offset spatula to make it even.

Holding the cake at a slight angle over a clean work surface, dust with the toasted sweetened coconut. Scoop up any coconut that falls, and add it to the cake.IMG_3657

The cake can now be refrigerated for up to 4 hours before serving.  I would suggest a dome over it.



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