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My son turns seventeen today and this is the cake he requested for our family party. Tender vanilla cake mingles with sweet tart lemon curd and an irresistible cream cheese frosting to become the ultimate indulge-worthy dessert. You will have frosting left over and this is a very good thing – refrigerate and use sandwiched between graham crackers or wafer cookies, or dollop onto raspberry laced weekend pancakes.
Coconut & Lemon Layer Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
for the cake:
- 1 and 3/4 cups cake flour
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup (1 and 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 and 1/4 cups regular coconut milk, whisked until smooth
for the filling:
- 1 10-ounce jar lemon curd, preferably Stonewall Kitchen brand or homemade
- 3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut, finely chopped
for the frosting:
- 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 3/4 cup (1 and 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- zest of two lemons or 3/4 teaspoon pure lemon extract
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup regular coconut milk (remainder of can leftover from cake ingredients)
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 and 1/2 cups large-flake unsweetened coconut
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-inch round baking pans, then line pans with parchment paper. Butter the paper then dust pans with flour.
Spread large flake coconut evenly on a baking sheet and toast in center of oven for 7-8 minutes, stirring once or twice during baking time, until coconut begins to turn light golden. Watch carefully – it will go from golden to burned in the blink of an eye!
In a large bowl, whisk together both flours, baking powder and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or in a large bowl with hand-held beaters, beat together butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes, scraping down the bowl a few times during the process.
Reduce speed to medium and add eggs one at a time, then vanilla, beating until incorporated. Reduce to low and add remaining cake batter ingredients in this order: add 1/3 of the flour mixture, half of the coconut milk, the next third of flour, the rest of the coconut milk, and finish with the last third of flour mixture. Scrape down sides of bowl and give mixture one final stir.
Divide mixture evenly between the two pans and smooth with an offset spatula. Bake in center of the oven for approximately 30 minutes, rotating pans once during baking, until cakes are golden and wooden toothpicks inserted in centers come out clean. Cool in pans for 15 minutes, gently run a knife around the edges, then carefully turn out onto wire racks and remove parchment.
Make the frosting: in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or in a large bowl with hand-held beaters, add the room temperature cream cheese, butter, coconut milk, and vanilla and beat on low until thoroughly combined. On lowest speed and in small increments, add powdered sugar and mix until thoroughly combined.
When cakes are thoroughly cooled, remove the rounded top of one cake with a large serrated knife to make it level. Coat level surface with all of lemon curd and sprinkle evenly with sweetened shredded coconut.
Place second cake on top, rounded side up. Scoop about half of the frosting onto the cake, smoothing gently over the top and down the sides with an offset spatula until entire cake is well covered, adding more frosting as needed.
Sprinkle top and gently pat sides with the toasted, large flake coconut. Serve immediately, or chill and bring to room temperature before serving.