Recipe: Coconut Lime Cake

Our contributor, Tessa Huff, is back with a new summer cake recipe….

It must be all my daydreaming about tropical getaways that’s got me stuck with lime and coconut on the brain.  White-sand beaches, salty sea breezes, and a luscious pina colada in hand….I’ll stop here before we all get carried away.  If we can’t make it to paradise this summer, let me help bring the tropics to you.

Coconut Lime Cake by Tessa Huff  |

I find that one of the easiest ways to bring far-away influences home in through food.  Adding different spices and exotic flavors to dishes and desserts can instantly transport you to all corners of the world.  So why not enjoy our favorite island flavors in our own kitchens?  And better yet, in cake form!!

Coconut Lime Cake by Tessa Huff  |

Like I mentioned before, I can’t stop thinking about creamy coconut, zesty lime, beach sunsets, sand between my toes….ahhhh.  For this cake, I’ve combined a rich, buttery Coconut Cake with an unexpected, yet mouth-watering Lime- Coconut Ganache.  Citrus and chocolate always make for a wonderful pair, and this version is no exception. The lime flavors are vibrant against the deep chocolate and the toasted coconut give a wonderful texture. This cake is finished off with a silky, smooth Italian Meringue Buttercream that compliments the rich flavors inside.  Finish off the cake with a playful pinstripe and beautiful, fluffy coconut shavings.

Coconut Lime Cake by Tessa Huff  |

Be sure to bring cake to room temperature before serving, or the ganache may give you trouble when trying to cut the cake.  Run warm water over your knife to make slicing easier.”

Coconut Lime Cake by Tessa Huff  |


a recipe by Tessa Huff

For the Coconut Cake:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
6 egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract
3 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1 cup canned coconut milk

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare baking pans and set aside.
  2.  Sift dry ingredients and set aside.
  3.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter with a paddle attachment until smooth.  Add in the sugar and beat on medium-high until fluffy and pale in color.
  4. Turn the mixture down to medium-low and gradually add in the egg yolks and extracts.
  5. Starting and ending with the dry ingredients, alternate adding in the flour mixture and the milks.  Be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl between additions.  Pour batter into prepared pans and bake until done.
  6.  Batter should make three 8″ round cakes.  Bake for about 20 minutes.


 For the Lime-Coconut Ganache:

8 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
4 ounces heavy cream
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup shredded coconut, toasted

  1. Toast shredded coconut in a frying pan over medium heat.  Toss to prevent from burning.  Don’t skip this step, or the texture will be compromised.
  2. Place chocolate in a heat-safe bowl and set aside.
  3. Place cream and zest in a saucepan.  Heat over medium-low heat, until it begins to boil but careful not to burn.
  4. Pour over chopped chocolate.  Let stand for about 30 seconds before mixing.  Continue to stir ganache, while adding in the lime juice, until smooth.  At the end, stir in the toasted coconut.  Let mixture come to room temperature before using.


For the Italian Meringue Buttercream:

2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
6 ounces egg whites
6 sticks unsalted butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

**Note: do not use egg whites from the carton

Put the sugar and water in a saucepan and place on a stovetop.  Stir slightly to combine.  Heat on high until the mixture comes to a boil.  Using a candy thermometer (this is a must), heat until the sugar syrup reaches 238 degrees, or softball stage.

Meanwhile, place the egg whites in a bowl of a stand mixer.  Be sure that the bowl and whisk are completely dry and free from any moisture and oil.  With a whisk attachment, beat the egg white on high until stiff peaks form.  This should take about 7 minutes.  If started just after the sugar mixture is placed on the stove, both steps should be ready at about the same time.

Once the sugar syrup reached 238 degrees, remove from heat.  Let the syrup rest about 30 seconds to let the bubbles settle.  (Deep breath here).  While the mixer is still on high, slowly pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites.  Continue mixing on high until the meringue comes to room temperature.  The outside of the bowl will no longer be warm to the touch.

Switch the mixer off and remove the whisk attachment.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and replace with a paddle attachment.  With the mixer on medium, gradually add the butter, a few tablespoons at a time.  Pour in vanilla extract.  At this point, the mixture might look soupy or separated.  Don’t give up!  Cross your fingers, and continue to mix on medium-high until the mixture comes together.  This may take up to about 3-5 minutes until all of the ingredients are at the same temperature and the buttercream becomes smooth.  Use immediately, flavor, or store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

Coconut Lime Cake by Tessa Huff  |


Tessa Huff is a professional cake designer and lover of all things art and design. She particularly enjoys creating edible decorations, sugar flowers, and unique flavor pairings with fresh, seasonal flavors. Read more about Tessa on her bio page.


  1. 3


    Love the look of the cake and love to try the recipe, but I am confused: the recipe has a dark chocolate ganache and a (seemingly) yellow cake; the photographs show a chocolate cake and white buttercream. Just wondering if I am missing something here, because I’d like to give it a go!

  2. 4

    Amber C says

    AMANDA ^^^^^It looks like the cake is white and the ganache is a chocolate Iayer, just pretty thick…..yummm!

  3. 5

    Malin says

    I made this today! The coconut cake was fan-ta-stic. I made two 9-inch pans instead of 3 8-inch and baked for longer. My stupid oven doesn’t heat evenly, so they rose a bit lopsided, and I leveled them off – had to force myself to stop snacking on the cut-off bits. I substituted the merengue buttercream for cream cheese frosting, it worked fine. The only disappointment was the ganache – it got way too tart and a little bitter. Perhaps I got too much juice from the lime, or the chocolate I used was too dark. The chocolate flavour disappeared in the acidity. Next time I’ll try less lime and maybe a lighter chocolate.

  4. 6

    Malin says

    P.S. I forgot to ask! When it says “don’t use egg whites from the carton” for the meringue, what do you mean by that? Don’t use those egg whites that come like liquid in a carton, or don’t use whites from eggs in the carton in the fridge?

    • 7

      Tracy says

      The liquid eggs from a carton that have been prepackaged. Not eggs that you remove from the carton then crack to get to the whites 😉

  5. 9

    SWHart says

    The icing part of the recipe says “6 sticks of butter”. Is tat accurate? Just want to make sure before I start.

  6. 10

    Linda says

    Hi Tessa
    Is there a chance you can put up the English weight equivalents. I have no idea what 6 sticks of butter weighs or cups. Would really appreciate it as the cake looks devine and would love to give it a try. Thanks x

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