Vegetarian food blog featuring delicious and nutritious whole food recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Coconut Milk Layer Cake with a Zesty Creamy Filling

Slice of Coconut Milk Layer Cake

A take on Dan Lepard’s coconut milk layer cake. It’s not overwhelmingly coconutty by any means, but it is delicious. I guess that’s not surprising with the addition of rum, mascarpone and lemon curd.

This coconut milk layer cake was one of the bakes that leapt out at me when I first perused Dan Lepard’s Short & Sweet and I was keen to make it as soon as possible. Which I did back in October. But I’ve left it so long before posting that Dom has beaten me to it. AND his looks brilliant!!! I’ve not come across cakes made with coconut milk very often and I found the idea quite intriguing. I was hoping to include it as one of the Open House cakes, but in the end it just wasn’t feasible. Neither the original nor a cupcake version I had been toying with.

Coconut Milk Layer Cake

So, having bought the necessary ingredients, I made a version of it the following weekend for us anyway. It’s not strictly a chocolate cake, but I was planning to incorporate chocolate somehow. As it happened I forgot to add the white chocolate to the icing as I’d intended, so I sprinkled some white chocolate shavings over the top instead.

Dan's Coconut Milk Layer Cake

In the original recipe you douse the cake with a mixture of lime and rum. I didn’t have any lime and forgot the rum. So I used orange juice instead.

For once, I went easy on the wholemeal flour and used less than half. The rest was ordinary plain flour. I double sifted the lot as the cake needed to be as light as possible. It just so happened that I had some odds and sods left over from the big bake to use up. This meant my filling and topping was a complete original. I had some leftover buttercream in the fridge and some mascarpone. One of my jars of apple & lemon curd found it’s way into the mix too. But gosh it was good.

Coconut Milk Layer Cake Topping

Despite some of the ingredients I forgot, they couldn’t have been essential, because this turned out to be a really lovely cake. When asked his thoughts, CT helpfully stated “it tastes like a homemade cake”. What he actually meant by that, was that it tasted like a real cake made by a real person and was utterly delicious.

It was not overpoweringly coconutty, but the rum came through clearly and pleasantly. It was moist and had a good firm chewy texture. The apple cream, mascarpone filling and icing complemented it well and was delicious in its own right. For some reason, it reminded me of a really good banana cake – but without the banana!

Other Sweet Coconut Recipes You Might Like

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Coconut Milk Layer Cake – The Recipe

Slice of Coconut Milk Layer Cake
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5 from 1 vote

Coconut Milk Layer Cake

A layer cake flavoured with coconut and rum. It's filled and topped with a delicious creamy mix of mascarpone and lemon curd.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Soaking Time2 hrs
Course: Afternoon Tea, Dessert
Cuisine: British
Keyword: cake, coconut, coconut milk, layer cake, lemon curd, mascarpone
Servings: 12 slices


  • 50 g desiccated coconut
  • 160 ml tinned coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 50 ml white rum
  • 250 g unsalted butter
  • 300 g golden caster sugar (I used cardamom sugar)
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 100 g wholemeal flour
  • 175 g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp bicarb of soda
  • ½ an orange
  • 150 g mascarpone
  • 4 tbsp lemon curd (I used homemade apple & lemon curd)


  • Place the coconut in a small bowl.
  • Warm the coconut milk up in a pan then pour over the coconut. Add the vanilla extract and rum. Cover the bowl and leave to soak for a couple of hours.
  • Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in the eggs one by one, alternating with a little of the flour if the mixture looks like splitting.
  • Sift the dry ingredients and throw away any bran that's left in the sieve. Add half to the cake batter and fold in, then mix in half of the coconut mixture. Repeat with the remaining halves.
  • Divide the cake batter between two 22 cm round cake moulds or lined tins and bake for 30 mins at 180℃ (350℉, Gas 4) or until well risen and an inserted skewer comes out more or less clean.
  • Squeeze the orange over the two cakes whilst hot.
  • Leave to cool for 10 minutes then turn out onto racks to cool completely.

Filling and Topping

  • Beat the mascarpone and lemon curd until well mixed and creamy.
  • Sandwich the cakes together with a third of the icing, then spread the rest over the top and around the sides.
  • Top with 40g white chocolate shavings.


You might like to try adding 100g of melted white chocolate to the mascarpone icing.
I added a small dish of buttercream that I'd found lurking in the fridge, but this isn't really necessary.


  1. Rolling Pin Claire

    2nd December 2011 at 2:46 pm

    You’ve got me laughing now. I love the way you seem to just bundle everything together (“I forgot this”, “I didn’t have that”) but it always turns out fantasic. This cake looks great. I gave my copy of Dan’s book to sister – its time I got it back.

  2. Laura@howtocookgoodfood

    2nd December 2011 at 7:26 pm

    This cake looks like a winner to me. I cannot wait to get sampling Dan’s recipes in “Short & Sweet” now that I have a copy. I think I know what you mean about this reminding you of a banana cake. It’s the texture I love too! x

  3. Karen S Booth

    2nd December 2011 at 8:34 pm

    This looks absolutely fabulous Choclette and I am a sucker for coconut in cakes! Love CT’s review too and rum in cakes also get my vote!
    SUCH a pretty cake and your photos are lovely.

  4. Baking Addict

    2nd December 2011 at 11:34 pm

    This looks delicious and very homemade 🙂 Just got a copy of short and sweet on loan, cant wait to read through it later.

  5. Choclette

    3rd December 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Claire – You need to get that book back! Thank you for that vote of confidence; it doesn’t always turn out fantastic, but i think I have more hits than misses 😉

    Laura – Glad to hear you’ve got your copy now – now what, I wonder are you going to make first?

    Karen – thank you. I really like the slightly chewy texture that coconut brings and thank you for saying such nice things too.

    Baking Addict – now that’s good thinking. What do you reckon?

  6. At Anna's kitchen table

    3rd December 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Ooo oh pleeeeeease pass me a slice 😀

  7. Corina

    3rd December 2011 at 3:49 pm

    I like the idea of using coconut milk in the cake. My mum used to make a nice coconut cake and this reminds me of it.

  8. Scott at Real Epicurean

    3rd December 2011 at 4:00 pm

    Definitely one to make me salivate!

  9. Dom at Belleau Kitchen

    3rd December 2011 at 5:00 pm

    oh it looks lovely, I love the way you’ve covered yours in white chocolate… I think people thought mine was too and they were quite shocked to find out it was slivers of coconut instead!… and at least e get to see inside yours too!… great thing about this post is that I know exactly how good it tastes… wee hee!

  10. C

    3rd December 2011 at 7:32 pm

    It looks gorgeous, and the cake looks really moist and light. I love the way you’ve decorated it with white chocolate – really elegant!

  11. celia

    4th December 2011 at 2:33 am

    I would love this cake, but the rest of the tribe aren’t big coconut fans. It looks absolutely splendid, Choc!

  12. thelittleloaf

    4th December 2011 at 11:10 am

    I’ve been eyeing up this cake in Short & Sweet for a while…your version looks delicious. Love how you’ve managed to sneak some chocolate in there too – you can hardly tell the difference between white chocolate shavings and coconut!

  13. The Caked Crusader

    4th December 2011 at 5:40 pm

    you had me at “coconut”! Looks divine!

  14. MissCakeBaker

    4th December 2011 at 8:33 pm

    This cake looks soooooo good. I could just eat a slice right now!

  15. Choclette

    5th December 2011 at 7:25 am

    Anna – you would be very welcome 🙂

    Corina – yes, it was the coconut milk that appealed to me.

    Scott – excellent. If I don’t make someone salivate, I’ve failed!

    Dom – I bet yours looked absolutely stunning with the requisite three layers and who needs chocolate when you can have coconut? 😉

    C – thank you so much, I just love it when I get the elegant word, it’s just so unlike me 🙂

    Celia – you’ll just have to come over and have a slice with me then.

    Little Loaf – well I do my best where chocolate is concerned. It doesn’t like to feel left out 😉

    CC – thank you. I have penchant for coconut too.

    MCB – you’d be very welcome – assuming I had a slice left!

  16. Anne

    5th December 2011 at 11:00 pm

    Coconut is one of my most favourite things to bake with, glad there is also a use for the tinned stuff too in it!

    The cake looks really tasty, glad it worked out so well with your alterations!

  17. Johanna GGG

    8th December 2011 at 2:33 am

    oh dear – the chocolate lady forgets chocolate 🙂 Am sure this would be great with or without chocolate – dessicated coconut in coconut milk sounds delish

  18. Choclette

    8th December 2011 at 6:27 am

    Anne – thank you, this was a most delicious cake. I don’t use coconut that often but when I do I wonder why I don’t :-S

    Johanna – he he, things are coming to a pretty pass indeed when I forget chocolate!

  19. Maggie

    12th December 2011 at 10:51 am

    This looks like a delicious cake and I especially like the addition of using coconut milk to soften the dessicated coconut.

  20. Choclette

    12th December 2011 at 6:27 pm

    Maggie – thank you. That is what appealed to me.

  21. Heather Haigh

    26th May 2014 at 6:37 am

    I always have coconut milk in the house but I never thought to use it for softening dried coconut – I bet that makes for a moister cake – I like this idea! The cake sounds lovely.


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